When you’re looking for a down home meal outside of home, Cracker Barrel is the place to go. With their wide variety of Southern-style comfort food favorites, you will likely not leave Cracker Barrel hungry. However, for those of us with irritable bowel syndrome, or other digestive conditions who are on a low FODMAP eating regimen, eating at Cracker Barrel requires a little menu research. This is because many dishes contain wheat, milk, and an unknown variety of spices that may include high FODMAP garlic and/or onion powder. To make things easier for you, follow the tips below to enjoy a deliciously safe meal at Cracker Barrel.
Low FODMAP Cracker Barrel Breakfast Options
Although you won’t be able to enjoy a stack of pancakes or French toast, there are still plenty of tasty choices on the menu to help you create a low FODMAP meal. The following food items on the Cracker Barrel menu are likely low FODMAP safe (since some spices and flavorings are not listed in the allergen guide). Follow the tips below so you know what to ask the server to be extra safe that your meal will be prepared the low FODMAP way.
- Eggs or egg whites
- Grits: Enjoy these coarsely ground corn kernels with a bit of butter and salt.
- Thick Sliced Bacon: Ask your server if bacon is seasoned, and if so, ask if bacon can be prepared with simply salt and pepper for you.
- Un-battered proteins: Protein options at Cracker Barrel that are not breaded or battered like sirloin steak, country ham, grilled pork chop, sugar cured ham, grilled U.S. farm-raised catfish fillet, and hickory-smoked country ham may be low FODMAP. Just be sure that the meats are not marinated with ingredients like honey, milk, molasses, onion, garlic, or apple-based flavorings that are high FODMAP.
- Seasonal fruit: The fruit cup could be a sweet addition to your breakfast meal. Just be sure to stick to common low FODMAP fruit cup additions like strawberries, blueberries, grapes, pineapple, cantaloupe, and sliced banana. Ask your server to see what the fruit cup offerings are.
- Condiments: For toppings, stick to the basics like butter, salt, and pepper. The sugar-free syrup, 100% pure natural syrup and blueberry syrup may also be safe if they are made from maple syrup and not molasses. And be sure to stick to a low FODMAP safe two tablespoon serving of maple syrup. The Best Preserves n’ Jam may also be safe. Just ask your server to be sure there is no high fructose corn syrup, honey, or molasses added to sweeten the jam.
As mentioned above, be extra sure these foods are low FODMAP by asking your server about common high FODMAP ingredients in restaurant foods like garlic, onion, honey, or high fructose corn syrup. It may be helpful to carry around your low FODMAP travel card from Casa de Sante to help the chef prepare your meal safely for you.
Low FODMAP Cracker Barrel Lunch and Dinner Options
For lunch and dinner, there are many comfort food favorites to choose from at Cracker Barrel. Here are the low FODMAP lunch and dinner options.
Un-battered proteins: Protein options at Cracker Barrel that are not breaded or battered and are likely low FODMAP include:
- country ham
- sugar cured ham
- hickory-smoked country ham
- grilled pork chop
- grilled chicken tenderloins
- lemon pepper grilled rainbow trout
- roast beef
- hamburger half-pound hamburger steak
- grilled U.S. farm-raised catfish fillet
- 10 oz. rib eye steak
- grilled sirloin steak
As mentioned above, ask your server about any marinades, sauces, or seasonings used in preparation of the proteins that may contain high FODMAP ingredients.
Vegetables: There are some great vegetable options at Cracker Barrel that you can have on the side of your protein or that you can enjoy as part of the four-side dish Country Vegetable Plate. Low FODMAP vegetable options at Cracker Barrel include:
- turnip greens
- baked potato
- baked sweet potato
- boiled cabbage (served on Sundays and Wednesdays) (stick to a ¾ cup serving)
- cole slaw (this side dish is listed as dairy-free, but make sure dressing is not made with garlic, onion, or other high FODMAP ingredients).
- country green beans
- fresh steamed broccoli
- mixed green side salad
- sweet whole baby carrots
- whole kernel corn
Salad dressings like balsamic herb vinaigrette or thousand island dressing may be ok, but just check to make sure they do not contain any high FODMAP ingredients common in dressing like honey, garlic, or onion. Just like during breakfast, butter and possibly preserves are low FODMAP condiments. Also, salt, pepper, cinnamon sugar, bacon pieces, and Colby cheese shreds are ok for toppings.
For your beverage, stick to tomato juice, iced tea, coffee (not the crafted coffee drinks), and diet soft drinks are low FODMAP safe. Just limit your cola intake since carbonated drinks can irritate the gut of some people with digestive conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Take home message
The important thing to remember is to always ask the server if you are unsure if something on the menu contains a high FODMAP ingredient or not. Be sure to know before you go to Cracker Barrel the dishes on this list that are likely low FODMAP safe. Then, when you order your food, ask the server to prepare your dish without any spices just to be extra cautious. When your food arrives at your table, just sprinkle on a bit of salt and pepper if you need extra flavor and enjoy your comfort food favorites the low FODMAP way. Print out your low FODMAP travel card from Casa de Sante to make your restaurant visit easier.
-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD from LighttrackNutrition.com