Happy Holidays! Explaining the Low FODMAP Diet to Guests & Hosts
Why can’t you eat onions? Why can’t you have more of that apple pie? Why? Why? Why? Ahh, the sweet sounds of a holiday meal as friends and family members ask about your low FODMAP diet. I understand the struggle. I’ve been there. I’ve walked into a family meal and have been bombarded with questions. Hopefully this article, How To Help Friends & Family Understand Your Low FODMAP Diet, will go a long way to smoothing things over.
I used to think, “Just let me bring my low FODMAP gravy and mashed potatoes, along with my turkey slices, and eat in peace.” I mean, I have been following this diet for almost a year, so if I say I can’t eat your apple pie, just go with it.
How To Help Friends & Family Understand Your Low FODMAP Diet
But that is selfish. I have to remind myself that my friends and family want to support me and they are asking questions because they care. Food is essential to life. On average, a single human consumes 730,000 calories in one year (based on a 2,000 calorie/day diet). That’s a lot of food. I can’t blame them for being curious about what I do and don’t eat. So before you get your tinsel in a tangle over all these questions, take a glance below for some holiday meal tips.
Share links about the low FODMAP diet from sources such as Monash University or FODMAP Everyday®. This will give your friends and family the opportunity to explore the topic on their own time. One thing I like to do in person is show off my Monash University Low FODMAP Diet app. It gives them a visualization so they can see what fructose, lactose, oligos, mannitol, sorbitol, and GOS levels look like in different foods.
Would you like a simple 2 page handout that you can share with your friends, family or clients? Or just to print out and have for yourself?
Be Your Own Advocate
If you are told “Don’t bring any food, we have plenty!”, just explain your situation and make it clear that you have to bring food that suits your health needs. It took me a long time to figure out this diet and to expect others to understand it in a few hours is unreasonable. I swear some people believe the world will collapse if there isn’t garlic or onion in their food. That’s why I cook and bring my own dish to share. There are plenty of yummy options on FODMAP Everyday’s website that can be doubled to suit a large crowd. Or recipes that are even designed to feed many, like our Mashed Potatoes for a Crowd.
To help make it a bit easier to communicate to your friends and family (or restaurant staff) about your dietary restrictions you can download and print out this card – using both or just the AVOID side of the card. We suggest either making a few you can give out as you dine out – or one you laminate and keep in your wallet or purse and hand to the waiter as they ensure your meal is safe to eat. These cards are 3″ x 4″. The size of a standard index card. We suggest printing to card stock.
Just click on the image to download the PDF to your computer for printing.
Sometimes people will insist on cooking for you. They care about you, remember? Let them, but try and ensure the process is easy. Pick a simple recipe that you like and send it to them. Make sure it has common ingredients and is relatively simple. I enjoy making and especially eating this mashed sweet potato recipe, which is a perfect side dish.
This one-pan chicken and vegetable recipe is also great because it ensures a FODMAP friendly vegetable and protein at your meal. You could even offer to help them cook the meals. Then you get to spend more quality time with them and answer any questions they may have.
At the end of the evening what matters most is the people you are surrounded with on the holidays.