Low FODMAP Options at 8 Popular Fast Food Restaurants

IBS clients always ask me, “What low FODMAP fast food options can I have when I am on the road or in a rush?”  

If you have ever tried the low FODMAP diet, eating out can be a challenge. Whether you are going to a sit-down restaurant or a fast-food joint, frustration and confusion ensues. 

Don’t worry, you are not alone! 

I am going to help simplify what you should look out for at these restaurants to reduce the stress around eating out. Keep in mind that many meals and ingredients will be based on individual tolerance and whether or not you are doing the low FODMAP elimination phase or the modified version. If you are unsure if these low FODMAP fast food options are right for you, make an appointment with a dietitian. 

 

What is the low FODMAP diet?

The low FODMAP diet is a short-term elimination diet of fermentable carbohydrates that cause gas, bloating, diarrhea, and constipation in those with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Examples of foods eliminated are garlic, onion, wheat, lactose, high fructose corn syrup, beans, and some fruits and vegetables but this is just the tip of the iceberg. The good news is that people with IBS can see large improvements in their symptoms with this temporary diet change.

Once symptoms begin to improve, you start to add foods back in to see what exactly is causing the issue. 

 

Why is it hard to eat out?

Finding FODMAP fast food can prove to be difficult (but not impossible) for a few reasons. One,  some meals may contain hidden FODMAPs such as honey, wheat, garlic and onion, which could lead to uncomfortable symptoms. There is also a general lack of access to gluten free products that poses a problem since wheat needs to be eliminated on the low FODMAP diet. Aside from that, not every food facility offers ingredient lists, making it tough to check if the food is safe or not. And finally, what foods you can eat really depends on the individual, and what foods they can tolerate/ what phase of the FODMAP diet you are in. 

 

Here are some general tips to find Low FODMAP fast food:

  • Check the ingredient list online so you can be prepared! Almost all chain restaurants have this available online. 
  • Look for garlic/onion, high fructose corn syrup, milk, and wheat in the ingredient lists. These are the most common offenders. Don’t forget to check the condiments!
  • Foods are listed on the ingredient label based on how much of that item is present in the recipe or food item. The ingredients used in the greatest amount go first, followed by those in smaller amounts. If the FODMAP-containing food is after the 5th ingredient on the ingredient list, you may be able to tolerate the meal because of the small portion of the higher FODMAP food. 
  • Proceed with caution if you see “natural flavors”.
  • If possible, keep a low FODMAP salad dressing in your car or ask restaurants for olive oil and lemon, if they have it.
  • If gluten free bread isn’t available, you will have to avoid the wheat-containing bread. 
  • For beverages, stick with water or iced tea.
  • When ordering, avoid condiments, and onions/pickles unless otherwise stated. If you want to add a condiment, 1 sachet of ketchup with high fructose corn syrup (13 grams) and 1 sachet of mustard should be tolerated.

Each person differs in their tolerance to foods so pay attention to how the foods make you feel!

Low FODMAP Menu Options

mcdonalds logo

McDonald’s

If you’re looking for a good breakfast low FODMAP fast food option, McDonald’s is the place to go. Here are a few options:

  • Most of the breakfast sandwiches may be tolerated with no bread or condiments.
    • The slight milk content in eggs and cheese should be below tolerable levels, test for individual tolerance.
  • Big breakfast meal (no biscuit)
    • The hashbrown does have some wheat, but that should be below the high FODMAP threshold. Test for individual tolerance.
    • The  “spices” in the sausage patty should be below the high FODMAP threshold. Test for individual tolerance.
  • Oatmeal (remove apples, cranberry raisin blend and light cream)

 

Lunch and dinner is where Mickey D’s falls short. McDonald’s got rid of their grilled chicken options, leaving all of the chicken options breaded which makes it a no go. Not even McDonald’s fries are a low FODMAP fast food option since they contain wheat and milk derivatives (I know, I’m bummed too). If you are looking for an option, try: 

  • Any of the Hamburger or Cheeseburgers (no bread)
    • Top with lettuce and tomato slice but remove the pickles and onions 
    • One satchet (13 grams) of ketchup and 1 tbsp of mustard is safe
    • Add Mayo if desired! 

burger king sign

Burger King

If you come across a Burger King, you will find some excellent low FODMAP fast food options for both breakfast and lunch/dinner. For breakfast, try: 

  • Croissan’ wich (no bun)
    • Try the bacon egg and cheese or ham egg and cheese
  • Quaker Oatmeal 
    • Either the plain or brown sugar variety with no fruit topping

Burger King has a few more FODMAP fast food choices than McDonalds. Try ordering: 

  • Whopper (no bun) 
    • Top with mayo, lettuce and tomato
    • Remove the ketchup, pickles and onions
    • Add your own one satchet (13 grams) of ketchup and 1 tbsp of mustard is safe
  • French fries with 1 sachet of ketchup
    • If you’re eating this with the burger above, omit the ketchup on the burger. 
  • Garden salad (without dressing and chicken)

low fodmap fast food

Wendy’s

Wendy’s began serving breakfast not too long ago, and they have a few low FODMAP fast food options! 

  • Sausage egg and cheese biscuit (no biscuit) 
  • Bacon egg and cheese biscuit (no biscuit)
  • Steel cut oatmeal 

 

Wendy’s offers the most options for lunch/dinner compared to its competitors. Meals that should be tolerated include: 

  • Hamburger/cheeseburger (no bun).
    • Topped with mayo, tomato, lettuce 
    • Remove pickles and onions
    • Bacon can be added if desired 
  •  
  • Grilled Chicken Sandwich (no bun and sauce)
    • Top with lettuce and tomato
    • Bacon can be added if desired
    • Monitor tolerance to garlic/onion on chicken breast
  •  
  • Southwest avocado salad 
    • Remove Avocado
    • Swap Southwest Ranch Dressing with pomegranate vinaigrette
  • French fries and seasoned potatoes
    • One satchet (13 grams) of ketchup and 1 tbsp of mustard is safe
  •  
  • Plain and cheese baked potato
    • Test tolerance to amount of cheese

chickfila meal

Chic-fil-A

The chicken giant has some good low FODMAP fast food choices for both breakfast and lunch/dinner (as long as it isn’t Sunday). For breakfast, try: 

  • Hash brown scramble bowl with sausage
    • Monitor tolerance to amount of cheese
  • Hash browns
  • Fruit cup

 

For a low FODMAP lunch/dinner options, try: 

  • Grilled chicken sandwich with gluten free bun 
    • Top with lettuce and tomato
    • The chicken’s marinade has garlic and onion. Chick-fil-A does not publish the amounts, so tolerance will depend!
  • Cobb salad (no chicken, croutons, or dressing). 
    • Ask for balsamic dressing (low level of orange juice should be tolerated)
  • Grilled chicken nuggets
    • Again, the marinade contains garlic and onion, so monitor your tolerance! 
  • Waffle fries or waffle potato chips
  • Kale crunch salad 

low fodmap fast food

Pizza Hut

I bet you didn’t think there was a low FODMAP fast food pizza option? Well guess again! If you are craving a pizza, try: 

  • Gluten free pizza (no sauce and choose low FODMAP toppings)
      • Light cheese
      • Veggies: Green peppers, spinach, roma tomatoes, banana peppers
      • Meat: Pepperoni, ham, bacon

low fodmap fast food

Chipotle

Mexican food can be tricky when on a low FODMAP diet because of the spices used. Thankfully, Chipotle does have an option to try! The carnitas is the only low FODMAP protein option, and then the rest of the meal can be built around that. Try ordering: 

  • Carnitas Burrito bowl or salad with the following ingredients:
    • Brown or white rice
    • Cheese
    • Lettuce
    • Corn, if small amount (about ¼ cup)
  • Crispy corn tacos with ingredients above.
    • Carnitas
    • Brown or white rice
    • Cheese
    • Lettuce
    • Corn, if small amount (about ¼ cup)
  • Tortilla chips

low fodmap drink

Starbucks

This coffee giant is a staple pretty much everywhere you go! And good news is that coffee is definitely allowed on the low FODMAP diet (as long as you add lactose free milk/ dairy alternatives with no artificial sweeteners). Next time you stop by for a coffee fix, here are some low FODMAP options to choose from. 

  • Classic oatmeal 
    • No fruit topping
  • Sous vide bacon and gruyere bites
  • Sous vide egg white and red pepper bite

low fodmap sandwich fast food

Subway

If a sandwich is what you want, Subway does have some options to try! Make sure your location has gluten free bread, as it is only available at certain locations. Then you can try:

  • Gluten free turkey sub with low FODMAP toppings
    • Mayo, Tomato, Cucumber, Lettuce, 1 slice of cheese

 

Looking for more low FODMAP inspiration? Check out these blogs too!

As a certified LEAP therapist, Dietitian Kathleen can help you solve your digestive difficulties with cutting edge research and state of the art protocols. Co-author of Cooking with Food Sensitivities Survival Guide.