Going out to restaurants can often be a minefield for those struggling with IBS symptoms.  It can often seem that whatever food you order you are going to get a flare up.  And then there are the occasions where you eat the same meal twice and one time you get horrendous IBS and the next time you are absolutely fine!

There is a lot of information out there for IBS sufferers (good old Google) some of it is great and really useful and some of it is absolute nonsense.  There are no ‘wonder drugs’ in the world that will rid you of your IBS symptoms.  Most of the drugs on the market are there to provide short term relief by way of masking the symptoms or reducing pain temporarily.  Likewise there are no supplements in the world that are going to effectively eradicate your IBS symptoms.

We are conditioned to look for a ‘magic pill’ whether it is from the doctors surgeries or from a health food shop.  I am sorry to break it to you but there isn’t one.  Only a change of diet, tailored to you and your body will effectively reduce your IBS symptoms and allow you to get your life back.  There are no short cuts.

The reason I am mentioning this before getting down to the nitty gritty of our Top Ten Tips is to provide you with knowledge that FOOD is the main cause of IBS and therefore FOOD is the main cure.  You will have heard from several sources that if you have IBS you will just have to ‘put up with it’ for the rest of you days, living in pain and misery filling yourself up with drugs and supplements that at best only provide short term relief and at worse provide a whole new set of nasty side effects.

And this simply isn’t true.  As I myself and hundreds of my clients can attest.

So, whether you have got your IBS symptoms under control or if you are battling alone with your symptoms, these are the foods you should generally aim for and the foods you should probably avoid if you have IBS symptoms

Top 10 *Foods To Enjoy at Restaurants!

  1. Soup.  Soup is a fantastic starter and providing it isn’t Tomato or Onion or contain any cream this should be a relatively good option for starting your meal without causing any cramping during the meal.  Avoid the bread and enjoy the soup!
  2. Melon & Parma Ham.  A popular starter this combination of sweet and salty flavours will prepare your palette for the main course without making you feel like you need to rush to the toilet.
  3. Chicken.  Very rarely do any of my clients test positive for an intolerance to chicken.  However, beware of sauces, particularly creamy or tomato based sauces.  Chicken salad, Roast chicken, Chicken and chips are all meals that you are likely to find in almost any restaurant as an easy option.
  4. Potatoes.  Only around 30% of my clients test positive for an intolerance to the humber spud and quite often this is only a temporary problem. Baked potatoes, Roast potatoes, Chips, Mashed potatoes – most restaurants will have at least one of these options.  Just ask the waiter if the roast potatoes have had any four added to them and ask if the mash has had any dairy added other than butter.
  5. Salad Leaves.  Fresh green salad leaves can aid the digestion and with the exception of Iceberg Lettuce these are mostly harmless to the IBS sufferer.  Make sure the salad isn’t drowned in a cream or cheese sauce and ask to have any dressing in the side.  This way you can have a nice, fresh salad full of nutrition without having the cramping and indigestion pains.  Avoid vinegars where possible as these may irritate the gut.
  6. Steak.  Again, it is very rare that beef shows up on an intolerance test and providing it isn’t smothered in a creamy sauce this could be a simple go to dinner whilst eating out.  And don’t opt for onion rings or tomatoes with it.  Try steak with peas and mash or chips for a safe bet.
  7. Rice.  Rice is a valuable food source and will keep you feeling fuller for longer as, like potatoes, it is a starchy carbohydrate when combined with vegetables and protein will help you to reduce sugar cravings too.  Of course, go for a plain version rather than egg fried rice or pilau and get the flavourings from the meat and veg accompanying the rice. If the only rice dish is risotto it may be as well to leave this as it will contain dairy which may cause IBS symptoms.
  8. Vegetables.  Most veg aren’t a problem for the average IBS sufferer with the exception of Tomatoes and Onions.  A side order of veg can be really beneficial to aid the digestion as veg are full of vitamins and minerals that should build up your immune system and ultimately strengthen your gut.
  9. Water.  Still or sparkling, with or without lemon water is an essential accompaniment to any meal.  Refreshing, rehydrating and life giving do whatever it takes to learn how you can enjoy drinking water at every opportunity throughout the day.  Water is the number 1 best friend of the IBS sufferer.
  10. Fruit.  If there is a desert option such as a fruit salad then go for it.  Avoid anything creamy or that has cream, custard or ice-cream as it is the dairy content of these that often start an IBS flare up.  A fruit sorbet is likely to be the safest bet to enjoy a refreshing desert without feeling bloated and uncomfortable.

*All suggestions made are generally OK for most IBS sufferers.  If you know one of these food items irritates your IBS symptoms then please continue to avoid it.

We hope this gives you some inspiration to get out and about a bit more and start enjoying eating out at restaurants with a little more confidence. Failing that you could try one of our simple recipes at home to start enjoying food again Glorious Food Recipes

Of course, as ever, if you need further advice pease get in touch.

Feed Yourself Better, with Glorious Food!

Helen Mileham The IBS Specialist Nutritional Health & Wellness Coach Clinic: 01553 340245 Mobile: 07740 310338 Email: helen@foodisglorious.co.uk