How to Enjoy a Low FODMAP Cocktail Party

You may have mastered grocery shopping, but are you still freaked out when it comes to attending a cocktail party? I want you to enjoy yourself, and even have a cocktail, so I am going to share my top tips on how to do a cocktail party low-FODMAP style.  As always, please log on to the GastroGirl Community to ask your questions.

Don’t go hungry. It may seem like an obvious suggestion, but if you are worried about what you will be able to eat at a cocktail party or other event, do not show up hungry. Make sure that you have a meal or a snack beforehand so that you will not make implusive decisions and eat or drink things that will make you feel unwell

Is it a potluck? Depending on the setting it may or may not be appropriate to bring your own food to the party. If it is a more intimate gathering, offer to bring one of your favorite dishes, because you will feel comfortable knowing it is safe for you to enjoy.

Focus on the snacks you can have. Low-FODMAP doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy food at a cocktail party. There are plenty of things you may be able to eat. For example, these are some of my favorite things you may find:

  • shrimp cocktail
  • sushi and sashimi
  • selected crudité (carrots, peppers, cucumber, zucchini, broccoli, string beans)
  • olives
  • hard cheeses

It makes me hungry just looking at that list! When you think of all of the foods you can eat instead of focusing on what you can’t eat – you will have a more positive mindset and enjoy your food more. Being in a good state of mind will help your digestion too! I have noticed lately in working with several people who need to avoid gluten or wheat eating a tremendous amount of bread. When I ask about it, I find out that they did not eat much bread before, but as soon as they found out they can’t have it – they need to seek out the alternative. These people would be better off thinking of the many foods that don’t contain wheat that they can enjoy!

It’s called a cocktail party of a reason. So you may be asking yourself, what can you drink?  While alcohol can be a digestive irritant for some people, most alcohol is actually low in FODMAP. There are a few exceptions – rum and sweet wine are high FODMAP and should be avoided in the elimination phase of the diet.  While beer is tested and shown to be low-FODMAP, many of the people I work with are not able to tolerate drinking beer, unfortunately. When it comes to cocktails though, you have to consider ingredients other than alcohol. Agave for example is very common in cocktails, as are fruit juices. Make sure to be on the lookout for agave, honey, certain fruit juices like apple, pear, mango when you are selecting a cocktail. Safer options would be a liquor mixed with club soda, or a small amount of orange or cranberry juice. Remember though that alcohol can cause digestive issues in any amount, but excessive alcohol (more than 1-2 drinks) can exacerbate problems, and should be avoided.

Danielle Flug Capalino MSPH, RD
Registered Dietitian
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