• Yasmin Norazharuddin

Eating out for IBS

Updated: Oct 25, 2021

Sun is out and lockdown restrictions are allowing more social activities. As exciting as this sounds for everyone, it may not sound as appealing to people with IBS. Most people with IBS do isolate socially due to their symptoms that require immediate attention like looking for access to toilets and the frustration of dealing with the symptoms itself usually result in withdrawal from participating in social activities.

Eating out is also a way for people to meet up again and socialize. This can be worrisome and intimidating for people with IBS due to the food choices being limited and the unknown ingredients used. Living with IBS means you have to tweak your way of eating, not stopping you from eating and this includes eating outside. Apart from going with supportive family members and friends, here are some other tips.

How to eat safely at restaurants, cafes and pubs:

  1. Choose foods that you are familiar with

Its better to be boring and plain than any unwanted flare-ups. Stick to something plain and simple to avoid uncertainties and less anxiety.

1. Ask for an allergen/ingredients list and how it’s cooked

Do not be afraid to ask! The waiters are more than happy to accommodate you as a customer.

2. Eat in smaller portion and chew slowly

A smaller portion along with slower chewing will bring less burden to the stomach and intestine leading to less risk of triggering symptoms.

3. Avoid drinking in between meals

This habit will cause gas build up in the stomach which will lead to stomach pain and of course, passing wind.

4. Avoid greasy and oily foods

Consuming too much fat may cause loose stool and urgency due to the malabsorption of fat in a sensitive gut. Opt for grilled meals, steamed, oven-baked, air fried or even fresh ingredients like sushi or poke bowls.

5. Yes, you can definitely have desserts!

But, do get to know the ingredients used and allergens list. Most desserts that use dairy may aggravate IBS symptoms even if you are not lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy. Best to order vegan options as most of these are free from many allergens.

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