What To Order When Eating Out

Eating our was one of the top requests I received on my Instagram story poll a week ago, and if you have digestive issues, restaurant food can be scary and cause anxiety since you don’t know what’s in it, how it’s prepared, and if it will cause a flare. I for one can attest to that! But have no fear because I’m here to make dining with family and friends a bit easier.

Note: the places below are not organic, grass-fed, yada yada, however I am listing them and some tips for living beyond and with friends and family. These are places I normally don’t eat regularly or even at all, however there are times I do eat out and want to enjoy time with my loved ones – IBS should not take over your life and I want you to live FREELY and enjoy your one life here on earth.

Below I’ve listed a few items from national restaurants you can “secretly” order and my tips how to order them. But I’ve also listed cuisines in general that most likely will fit those categories. So whether you’re eating at a well known restaurant or a mom and pop diner, I’ve got you covered!

First Tip:
Sides baby! Many times I order different sides to make my own meal. Just ask for a large place along with your order (or eat on all different plates). Remember it’s OK to be that picky person. Your health is more important than what others may think of you (and most likely you will never see that waiter again, and if you do, perhaps they will get to know your situation and be more caring about it).

Second Tip:
Ordering gluten free items isn’t always best. Many GF items are filled with well, fillers that can upset the gut! And not better than the original. Just keep that in mind.

Third Tip: Ask! Don’t be shy to ask the waiter or even ask the chef about every single ingredient they use. What oil they use. What brand of pasta they use (ask to see the packaging). How things are cooked / prepared.

Fourth Tip:
Don’t order soup. Soup may be the “safe” option when eating out, however 99% of the time the soups served are not made in house and actually come from a food service company that delivers the soup in large plastic bags. The restaurant just heats them up. I know this because I used to work in the food industry and saw all the ins and outs of what places do and how things operate. Scary!

Fifth Tip:
Salads. If you do choose to order a salad, always opt for olive oil, balsamic, or vinegar on the side as a dressing. The dressings offered are usually filled with gums, preservatives, and even artificial colors, dyes, and flavorings.


Many times you won’t see items on the menu but you can still ask for it if they offer it in a different way. Example: If you see they offer avocado on a salad or in a taco, then you know they have it in house and can serve it to you. If you see they offer salmon, just ask for it baked, no oil or seasonings if that’s not an option. They will do whatever it takes to make a customer happy. Trust me!


BJ’s Restaurant
• Plain baked potato, add butter or salt if you want- Steamed broccoli (if that doesn’t upset your stomach)- Avocado- Brown rice- Ahi Tuna- Salmon

Olive Garden
• Herb-Grilled Salmon- Steamed broccoli (they don’t offer this on the menu but just ask for it)- Sliced Tomatoes on the side (again, they don’t offer this but just ask for a side of tomatoes)

They have many options and I am actually surprised they cut everything in house. Just take a look at what they have to offer and create your own custom bowl!

Yard House
• Order the “Taco Combo” and ask for everything a la carte / unassembled with jasmine white rice. Usually the tortillas contain gums so I just mix the taco ingredients with rice as a taco rice bowl!

Red Lobster
• Never order off the menu because when you go to their allergy info, many contain soy and wheat because of the seasonings. Instead, order a la carte.
• Order plain salmon, shrimp, or lobster (no butter or butter on the side if you can handle butter)
• Options they offer: plain baked potato, steamed veggies of choice, plain rice- Caution: even the fresh seasonal asparagus contains milk if you look in their allergy info online, so if you are curious, always ask!

Panda Express
• Order white or brown steamed rice. That’s basically it! Haha but hey, if you’re in a pinch steamed rice will get you through it!

Japanese Restaurants
These are one of my favorites to eat out at and customize! They really do have so many options!
• Never order sushi! Raw fish can cause digestive upsets and potential food poisoning (I don’t care if they say it’s prepared “professionally”)
• Don’t order miso soup! It contains yeast and tofu which can exacerbate a yeast overgrowth.
• Even if they don’t offer what you order (below), they have the ability to prepare it and serve it the way you want it. Note, they will charge extra for the alterations but I personally don’t care. I’d much rather pay extra and have a happy tummy than save a few bucks and be sick in bed for weeks.
• Order white rice, side of avocado, plain grilled chicken or salmon, steamed broccoli or steamed veggies of choice.

Burger Restaurants
Many burger joints serve fries, so if they have fries, they should have potatoes (unless they use precut, bagged fries which often many do – red light!). Ask for a plain baked potato, and a beef burger patty on the side. Also ask what the ingredients are in the burger itself! Restaurants buy from food service companies and don’t prepare the patties in house 99% of the time, so many already contains ingredients such as wheat, flavorings, spices they may cause digestive upset, etc. So ask the waiter / chef to see the ingredient list from where they order from. Remember, be picky! If you ask, they have to show you.

There is no way I can include every restaurant or type of restaurant in the nation, however, the tips above can certainly help guide you to alter your order. Many times I order things not even offered on the menu but I KNOW they have and will serve me for an extra penny. Remember to be bold, and it never hurts to ask! @lilsipper

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