When you are in the comfort of your own home or around others in your close circle that know of your digestive condition, then eating on a low FODMAP diet is just second nature. However, if you are just getting to know someone, eating out on your low FODMAP diet can be a little more difficult. This is because you do not always have control over where you will be eating and explaining your condition may be an awkward icebreaker. Here are a few tips to help you stay on your low FODMAP diet while still enjoying yourself on the dating scene.
Be Involved in the Planning Process
If you are planning a first date with someone, it will be important to make sure you go to a restaurant that has food options that are safe for you to eat on your low FODMAP regimen. After you accept a date or ask someone on a first date, mention some places that you would like to go. If your pending date tries to talk you out of such places, then casually mention that you have some food allergies and would like to check out the menu before confirming reservations anywhere.
Limit drinks before dinner
Alcohol should be limited to one standard drink a day on the low FODMAP diet. One 5-ounce glass of wine or one 12-ounce beer is the maximum to be safe. Therefore, if you can, limit going out for drinks before hand and limit your alcohol intake to just one drink with or after meal time.
Avoid a heavy meal
It is best to eat small frequent meals to help ease digestion. If you consume too much at meal time, you could end up having digestive discomfort and in turn spoil your date. Therefore, split your meal up into a small vegetable or meat-based appetizer, a cup of non-cream-based soup or a salad next, and finish up with a light meal of a lean protein and a vegetable.
Unless you are lucky enough to find a fruit salad on the dessert menu, then it is probably best to skip dessert on your date. Many desserts on restaurant menus are cream-based or contain gluten-based flours in their cake or crust. If you do find a fruit option, stick to fruit like honeydew melon, cantaloupe, grapes, or berries like strawberries, raspberries, or blueberries.
Drink plenty of fluids
You should drink plenty of water before, during, and after your meals to help with digestion. Fluid intake will also keep you from overeating at meal time, which can help prevent any uncomfortable digestive symptoms. Avoid carbonated fluids and, as mentioned before, limit alcohol intake to one standard drink. Furthermore, you may want to have a soothing beverage like LemonAID before and/or after your date to further assist healthy digestion.
End your meal with a digestive aid
Instead of dessert, have a cup of hot tea such as weak herbal tea or peppermint tea. You can also keep ginger drops or tummydrops with you to help reduce bloating or discomfort after meals.
Dating can be nerve-wracking enough without having to worry about a digestive condition flare-up. Therefore, be sure to be cautious in your choices, and if your date questions your choices, just be honest about your digestive condition. No need to go too much into detail right away though. If they are a keeper, they will be understanding and accepting. The most important thing is to look out for you and your health first and foremost no matter what social situation you encounter.
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.