Navigating Fast Food and Dining Out Options on Low FODMAP diet
Lowering your intake of FODMAP (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyol) carbs has been associated with an improvement in irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). If you’re someone who eats out a lot you need to learn what foods may trigger symptoms. Learning how to spot low FODMAP fast food options can help make eating out fun again.
What is the Low FODMAP Diet (LFD)
FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. These are a type of carbohydrates that have shorter chemical bonds. In food they exist as the following:
Fructose is found in fruits and some vegetables
Raffinose is a type of sugar in beans
Stachyose in legumes and root vegetables
Lactose in dairy
Sugar alcohols (sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, maltitol)
Low FODMAP diets (LFDs) are diets that restrict the amount of FODMAPs to less than 3.1 grams per day. Regular diets will have a total intake of 15 to 30 grams of FODMAPs per day. So this is a significant decrease in the intake of FODMAPs.
These restrictions usually last from four to eight weeks. Then the foods are reintroduced as they are tolerated. This diet should be done under the supervision of a registered dietitian.
The following foods are avoided on these diets:
Cereal grains (wheat, barley, rye)
Legumes (lentils, beans, chickpeas, soy, peas)
Some nuts (cashews and pistachios)
Vegetables (artichokes, asparagus, cauliflower, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, onions, scallions, shallots, snap peas, snow peas, avocado)
Fruit (apples, apricots, Asian pears, blackberries, cherries, figs, jackfruit, mangoes, nectarines, peaches, pears, persimmon, plums, prunes, tamarillo, watermelon, white peaches, grapes)
Dairy (regular milk, ice cream, soft cheeses, yogurt)
Sugar alcohols and foods with sugar alcohols mannitol, xylitol, isomalt, and sorbitol (sugar-free foods, chewing gums, mints)
Typically, low FODMAP diets are also gluten and lactose-free. However, getting minimal gluten may not be a problem depending on a person's medical history.
Low FODMAP Diet for IBS, SIBO, and Constipation
Some people have trouble digesting FODMAPs. Especially those who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, and/or small bacterial intestinal overgrowth (SIBO).
Consuming more low FODMAP foods may combat symptoms of these conditions. That is why a diet low in these foods is recommended.
Can You Eat Fast Food with IBS, Constipation, and/or SIBO?
If you are someone with a busy life you may not have time to comb through low FODMAP cookbooks and special make meals at home. So even if you have IBS, constipation, and/or SIBO you can still eat fast food.
It is just a matter of learning to spot the FODMAP-friendly foods that will fit into your dietary restrictions when you are eating out.
Read on to learn all the low FODMAP options for fast food, takeout, and dine-in restaurants.
Fast Food Restaurants with Low FODMAP Options
Eating low FODMAP fast food can be easy when you have a cheat sheet that gives you information on how to keep on track. Here is a list of popular chain restaurants and the items you should avoid, order, and ask about.
Low FODMAP FAST FOOD: Burger King
A common question that comes up is Burger King low FODMAP?” The answer is yes but there are some things to consider before you get your next meal.
Burger King Items To Avoid
Avoid gluten and gluten items like bread and any breaded foods. Unfortunately, this means no chicken nuggets, chicken patties, chicken fries, or mozzarella sticks.
Off-limit breakfast items include their hash browns, french toast sticks,pancakes, breakfast burrito, and eggs. This is because they contain wheat and/or milk.
Their tacos would be ok if they didn’t contain soy. This high FODMAP may make symptoms worse.
Burger King toppings and dressings may also contain ingredients that contain milk, gluten, and/or are foods high in FODMAPs. So the following should be avoided:
Burger King Low FODMAP Items To Order
Low FODMAP options at Burger King include the following:
Any 100% beef patty (Whopper, Whopper Jr., Double Whopper)
Grilled chicken without the bread or bun
If you're wondering, “are Burger King fries low FODMAP?” yes, they are low FODMAP and can be eaten on this diet.
The BK garden side salad can be low FODMAP when it is ordered without croutons or cheese.
Burger King Items to Ask About
Some of their foods contain the maltodextrin. This is low FODMAP but depending on the processing it could be high in FODMAPs.
As of September 2021, Burger King has said it is no longer using high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). You want to ask about this. Since some sources show their ketchup contains HFCS. If it does contain this high FODMAP food or if it contains onion you should avoid it.
The tartar sauce may be ok depending on what is in it. Double-check if it contains high FODMAP foods.
The zesty dipping sauce may contain soy. Soy is a high FODMAP food that should not be consumed.
Low FODMAP FAST FOOD: Chik-fil-A
When it comes to eating at Chik-fil-A a lot of their dressings and sauces may be off-limits due to their high FODMAP ingredients like onion, garlic, and honey. Here is a breakdown of what to get and avoid at this fast food joint.
Chik-fil-A Items to Avoid
The following items contain high fodmap ingredients, soy, gluten, and/or milk and should be avoided:
Chik-fil-A does offer a gluten-free bread alternative but it should still be avoided because it contains amaranth which is a high FODMAP grain.
Chik-fil-A Low FODMAP Items To Order
Low FODMAP fast food Chick-fil-A items to order include the following:
Grilled filet without a bun
Grilled chicken breast without a bun
Grilled chicken nuggets
Waffle potato fries
Waffle potato chips
The Cobb, Market, and Southwest salads are ok to have but you may need to ask them to hold the cheese, egg, and tortillas to stay low FODMAP. Most of the salad dressings contain high fodmap foods and are not recommended.
Chik-fil-A Items to Ask About
The egg items at Chik-fil-A say they contain dairy. You want to ask if the eggs have milk in them before ordering.
Low FODMAP FAST FOOD: Chipotle
Most of the products at Chipotle are wrapped in flour tortillas. Corn bran is a less fermentable fiber and corn tortillas are considered low FODMAP food. Get the corn tortillas instead
Chipotle offers crispy corn tortillas as a low FODMAP option. As for the rest of the menu here are the foods to avoid, eat, and question.
Chipotle Items to Avoid
These items are not recommended because they contain some high FODMAP ingredients like garlic, onion, honey, soy, and high lactose dairy.
Chipotle Low FODMAP Items To Order
In addition to the corn tortilla good low FODMAP, Chipotle options include
Rice (brown, white, or cilantro lime)
Cheddar cheese (lower in lactose)
Monterey Jack (lower in lactose)
Chipotle Items to Ask About
If you prefer not to have any tortillas you can get a burrito bowl with lettuce and pile it high with low FODMAP foods.
Low FODMAP FAST FOOD: KFC
When you think of KFC the first thing that comes to mind may be battered chicken. Surprisingly, some items will comply with your low FODMAP diet. Below are the deets.
KFC Items To Avoid
Anything fried or breaded is a no-no. That includes the fish and chicken. Other things you should avoid include bowls, potpies, biscuits, gravy, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, green beans, and all the dressings and condiments.
KFC Low FODMAP Items To Order
Low FODMAP KFC foods are limited to just corn on the cobb. The house side salad can be low fodmap without the dressing or croutons.
Items to Ask About
The KFC allergen website shows there may be gluten and garlic in their grilled chicken. There is no information on the ingredients in the potato salad. Ask if they can confirm if this is low FODMAP.
Low FODMAP FAST FOOD: In-N-Out Burger
In-N-Out Burger is not a universal chain but if you find yourself out west this information will help you figure out your low FODMAP choices.
In-N-Out Burger Items To Avoid
The hamburgers normally come with onions so you want to ax this from your order. The buns should also be avoided due to their wheat content. American cheese may have too much lactose for your diet so it could be best to not have that. Regular ketchup also contains high FODMAP sugar and onion powder.
You also want to skip their shakes unless they offer a non-dairy alternative.
In-N-Out Burger Low FODMAP Items To Order
You can make your burger “protein style” and swap the bun for a lettuce leaf. Their fries are also low FODMAP so you can add them to your order. Toppings like tomato and mustard are FODMAP friendly so pile them on.
In-N-Out Burger Items to Ask About
The animal sauce contains ketchup and pickles. Ketchup and pickles can contain garlic and onions which are high FODMAP foods. Find out if these foods are in this sauce.
Low FODMAP FAST FOOD: McDonalds
In regards to the question, “can you eat McDonalds on low FODMAP?” it depends on what you’re getting. Here is information on what to avoid, order, and what items to find more about.
McDonalds Items To Avoid
Many McDonalds items contain high FODMAP foods. When ordering you want to avoid any breaded sandwiches, bagels, buns, muffins, biscuits, and American cheese.
Also, the following sauces are high in FODMAPS spicy buffalo sauce, sweet 'N sour sauce, hot mustard sauce, tangy barbeque sauce, ketchup. Any salad dressings containing garlic, onion, and cream bases should be eliminated.
Don’t get their oatmeal and eggs because they contain milk. The Mcplant burger may sound like a good option but it has high fodmap ingredients and should be avoided.
McDonalds Low FODMAP Items To Order
McDonalds low FODMAP options include items that are gluten-free, low in lactose, and do not contain FODMAPs. So in regards to the question, “are McDonald's hamburgers low FODMAP?” Yes, depending on how you order them except for the McPlant burger as mentioned above.
A regular hamburger, Big Mac, McDouble, Quarter Pounder, Quarter Pounder Double, Quarter Pounder Deluxe, and Quarter Pounder with Bacon patty can be low FODMAP when they have no cheese, bun, or sauce.
Other McDonalds low FODMAP items include french fries, bacon, mustard, and sausage. A side salad without the dressing is also a low fodmap choice.
McDonalds Items to Ask About
The ingredients in the Big Mac sauce are unknown. You may want to ask if it contains onion and garlic. The pickles and mayo will be ok if they do not have garlic or onion. You may want to double-check to know for sure what you are getting.
Low FODMAP FAST FOOD: Panera Bread
Panera bread is an eatery that offers more salads and soups than most fast food joints. Here is information on what will and won’t comply with your low FODMAP diet.
Panera Items To Avoid
Panera does not offer any low FODMAP bread or pasta options so avoid all the pasta, pastries, cookies, pizza, and bread dishes.
A lot of Panera’s items are high FODMAP foods or contain high fodmap ingredients like onions, garlic, beans, and honey. Do not order any of the following:
There are also not any low FODMAP soup options at Panera. They all contain wheat, milk, or soy. So avoid all the soups.
Panera Low FODMAP Items To Order
Panera’s warm bowls can be low FODMAP when the beans and dressing are removed.
Panera also offers customization to make low FODMAP salads and warm bowls. Eggs and sandwiches can also be served without the bread to make them compliant. You also can include the following low FODMAP toppings
Lettuce (romaine, kale, spinach, arugula)
Cilantro lime brown rice
Regular vinegar and olive oil
Panera Items to Ask About
Having just one cup of edamame is considered low FODMAP so ask how much comes with the salad. Ask if the rice and quinoa are gluten-free, if you have to watch gluten. Their website says it could contain gluten.
The Panera website says the grilled chicken, roasted sliced turkey breast, and steak contain onion and/or garlic so be sure to ask if you can get them without this ingredient. The oven-roasted turkey does not have this ingredient.
Panera’s oatmeal does not clarify if it is gluten-free. As long as the serving size is limited to half a cup it will be considered low FODMAP. Ask your server if it accommodates your dietary needs.
Low FODMAP FAST FOOD: Pizza Hut
Many people wonder “can I eat pizza on a low FODMAP diet?” It depends on the type of pizza crust. Pizza Hut is a fast-food chain that has both good and bad options when it comes to the FODMAP diet.
Pizza Hut Items To Avoid
Pizza hut’s meatballs, pasta, chicken, sausage, wings, garlic knots, and any stuffed items should be avoided.
The sauce is also questionable because according to the Pizza Hut website it contains garlic and milk which are high FODMAP foods. So don’t order any sauce.
All of the dippings, drizzles, beef, mushrooms, and BBQ beef also contain high FODMAP ingredients. So don’t get these on your pizza.
Pizza Hut Low FODMAP Items To Order
Pizza hut offers only one low FODMAP option. They have a gluten-free crust that is made by Udi’s. This company is known for its certified gluten-free products.
This particular crust does not contain any high FODMAP grains and is okay to eat.
The best way to stick to a low FODMAP pizza is by creating your own. As stated above you want to skip the sauce.
The only cheese they offer is mozzarella. This is a higher lactose cheese so you may want to get very little on there.
Toppings that are okay to order include
Green bell peppers
Applewood smoked bacon
Cheddar or lower lactose cheese
Pizza Hut Items to Ask About
Ask if Pizza Hut offers any other lower lactose cheeses like cheddar or a dairy-free alternative
Low FODMAP FAST FOOD: Subway
The bulk of foods at Subway are wheat and gluten-containing sandwiches. But there are a few low FODMAP Subway options available for people who need to control their intake of FODMAPs.
Subway Items To Avoid
As with other sandwich shops, avoid any gluten and gluten-containing foods. This means no soups, cookies, muffins, or bread. Proteins to avoid include
Rotisserie style chicken
Italian BMT meats (salami, pepperoni, ham)
Teriyaki glazed chicken
Nacho chicken bites
Beef brisket (smoke flavored)
Pigs in blankets
Roasted Soya Strips
Plant Patty and plant-based proteins
There are also a lot of non-compliant dressings. They include
Hickory-smoked bbq sauce
Baja chipotle southwest sauce
Creamy sriracha sauce
Honey mustard sauce
Sweet onion sauce
Sweet onion teriyaki
Subway Low FODMAP Items To Order
For someone in a sandwich mood, they must have it on gluten-free bread. Subway also offers a salad. Or if you like a lettuce wrap give that a whirl.
When it comes to proteins, cheese, and toppings be sure to stick to the following:
Cold cut combo (turkey-bologna)
The dressings that are okay to add to your salad or sandwich include mayo, red wine vinegar, and the olive oil blend.
Subway Items to Ask About
Some of the meats contain soy concentrate. This may be problematic on a FODMAP diet. You want to confirm what meats do not contain these. Also, if you have any questions ask for a menu with ingredients information to find additional hidden high FODMAP foods or ingredients.
Roast beef contains an ingredient that is called “spices.” It does not specify if these are high FODMAP foods. Best to double-check before eating them.
Low FODMAP Fast Food: Starbucks
When you think of Starbucks coffee you may not think of food. But you should know what to order when it comes to your beverages. This information will help you make smart choices to avoid FODMAP foods hidden in your drinks.
Caffeine intake has also been associated with worsening IBS symptoms. If having coffee and/or tea is problematic for you it might be best to avoid these drinks altogether.
Starbuck Items To Avoid
Certain coffee and teas can be high FODMAP. These include
Do not add milk, dairy creamers, honey, or whipped cream to your drinks. These foods are high in FODMAPs.
Avoid most of Starbucks’ food. It is pretty much all premade on gluten-filled bread. I don’t think it is possible to get a sandwich without the bread.
Their oatmeal is also not gluten-free. If the serving is more than ½ cup then you may wind up with some high FODMAP food. You also want to skip the dairy parfaits and most of their boxed lunches since they contain high FODMAP foods, honey, chickpeas, hummus, apples, and grapes See the exceptions in the next section.
Starbucks Low FODMAP Items To Order
Low FODMAP drinks that are ok to order at Starbucks include bottled water and some coffee and tea drinks.
When ordering your tea ask for a smaller size. This will ensure you are lowering your intake of FODMAPs. Also, ask for a weaker tea. Strong teas can be high in FODMAPs so this will ensure it will be a compliant drink. Other beverages to order include
English Breakfast Tea (black tea)
Earl Grey tea
Emperor's Clouds & Mist Tea (green tea)
Mint Citrus Tea
Jasmine Pearl Tea
Shaken Iced Black Tea
Shaken iced green tea
Caffe Mocha (no whip cream)
Tropical Mango Frozen Iced Tea
Shaken iced black tea lemonade
Shaken iced green tea lemonade
Espresso, black (single or double shot)
Cold-brew (black or non-dairy)
Nitro cold brew (no flavor)
Iced caffe latte (non-dairy)
Iced cappuccino (non-dairy)
Iced caffe Americano (non-dairy)
Iced caffe mocha (non-dairy)
Iced caramel macchiato (non-dairy)
Iced blonde tea latte (non-dairy)
Iced white mocha (non-dairy)
Coffee and tea add-ins that are acceptable on the FODMAP diet include small portions of the following:
Gluten-free oat milk
Food at Starbucks that accommodates the FODMAP diet includes a few boxed lunch items. However, these need to be altered.
The cheese trio protein box might be ok but you shouldn’t eat the apricots or the crackers. If you nix the apples, the cheese and fruit box are low FODMAP.
Another box that may be ok to have is the creminelli snack tray depending on what ingredients are in the meat and the cheese. Like the other boxes, do not eat the cracker sticks.
Starbucks Items to Ask About
A lot of the drinks at Starbucks say they contain “natural flavoring.” Ask what this may be to avoid high FODMAP ingredients. Soy milk may be low FODMAP if it is made from soy protein extract. Ask the barista to find out if the kind Starbucks uses complies with your diet.
Low FODMAP FAST FOOD: TACO BELL
Like other fast-food joints people often wonder “does Taco Bell have low FODMAP foods?” The answer is yes! Indeed there are some taco bell low FODMAP items that won’t break your diet!
Taco Bell Items To Avoid
Taco bell items to avoid include any entrees that are wrapped in gluten-containing flour tortilla tacos, Doritos locos taco nacho cheese shell, gorditas, and chalupas flatbreads.
Other toppings, sides, and sauces to exclude include
Avocado ranch sauce
Black beans/refried beans
Border sauces (diablo, fire, hot, mild)
Creamy chipotle sauce
Creamy jalapeno sauce
Nacho cheese sauce
Sauces (red chili, spicy ranch)
Taco Bell Low FODMAP Items To Order
Low FODMAP tacos are made of gluten-free grains like corn.
Proteins and toppings you can add to your heart’s content include the following:
Nacho corn chips
Crispy corn taco shells (contain oat fiber)
Taco Bell Items to Ask About
The chicken and sausage crumbles contain an ingredient called “spices.” Ask if there is garlic and onion in these spices. The three-cheese blend also contains American and mozzarella cheese. It may be best to ask if you can get just cheddar.
Low FODMAP Fast Food: Wendy’s
Food items from Wendy’s may need to be altered to make them accommodate your low FODMAP diet.
Wendy’s Items To Avoid
Anything breaded should be avoided to limit your wheat & gluten intake. This includes breakfast sandwiches, breaded chicken sandwiches, and chicken nuggets. You also want to hold the cheese on your breakfast meal.
You also want to forget about the Baconator burgers that contain cheese, crispy onions, and bacon jam. This is because the bacon jam and the cheese sauce have garlic.
Some items come with sour cream, honey mustard, BBQ, sweet n’ sour, creamy sriracha, and bourbon bacon sauce. Skip these high FODMAP foods.
Seasoned potatoes and chili are other Wendy’s food to not eat. They both contain garlic and onion.
After you remove all the breaded sandwiches you are left with 20 different types of burgers to choose from. Next, you will need to eliminate all the burgers that contain cheese, onions, ranch sauce.
Their salads also need to be Items customized to make them suitable for low FODMAP. You want to remove the pecans, apples, chili, cheddar cheese sauce, southwest ranch dressing, avocado, and Caesar dressing.
Wendy’s Low FODMAP Items To Order
Be sure to ask for a burger or chicken without a bun. For breakfast meals, you can have an egg sandwich minus the bread with either sausage or bacon.
Toppings, dressings, and sides to include are
Wendy’s Items to Ask About
If you can get a burger with just the bacon and not the garlic-infused bacon jam it will be FODMAP compliant. Wendy’s burgers also come with onions and HFCS ketchup. To avoid this high FODMAP ask for a burger without these ingredients.
The grilled chicken sandwiches and salads say they contain garlic so ask if you can get it without the seasoning.
Eating Out low FODMAP at Takeout and Dine-In
Thanks to their ability to offer quick food pick up and delivery, dine-in and takeout places are being frequented just as much as fast food nowadays. That is why we thought we would add in a little information about how to spot FODMAP-friendly restaurants for takeout and dine-in.
Sometimes restaurants will show foods on display. This can help decipher low FODMAP food choices. Other times low FODMAP restaurants will only offer menu descriptions letting you know what is compliant with your diet.
What to Get at BBQ Restaurants
BBQ can be tricky considering many of the sauces contain gluten, HFCS, artificial sweeteners, and high FODMAP foods onion and garlic. If you can get a list of ingredients from the restaurant you can find which things will be okay for you to eat.