Fody’s Barbecue Etiquette for Sensitive Stomachs
It’s July, and that means it’s barbecue time! Whether it’s with family, neighbors, or just your closest friends, tossin’ some shrimp on the barbie has never been so much fun. If you’ve been invited to a barbecue, but you have a sensitive stomach and find unknown situations to be challenging, here’s our best advice on how to get through it unscathed. This is Fody’s ultimate summer barbecue etiquette guide!
Barbecue Etiquette Problem 1: I don’t know how to tell my host that I can’t eat certain foods!
At Fody, we believe honesty is always the best policy. It can definitely be uncomfortable to have discussions about your stomach issues, and these situations are challenges you may have to face when traveling with friends, starting a new relationship, or even at work in some circumstances…luckily, it’s not a challenge you have to face at a barbecue!
It’s perfectly commonplace (and even encouraged) to bring food to a barbecue, whether you’re a vegetarian, have religious dietary restrictions, allergies, or you just don’t want to show up empty-handed! If you’re not comfortable discussing why, simply let your host know that you have a dietary restriction. If your host wants to know what it is to accommodate it, you can tell them your preference (e.g. gluten-free buns); just remember that you don’t have to give details!
If you do bring your own food, good barbecue etiquette is to simply let your host know ahead of time – and bring enough to share! Most people are very understanding and appreciate the contribution, whether it’s low-FODMAP condiments everyone can enjoy, or sides like salad or even chips.
Tip: If this is an issue that makes you anxious, let your host know right away when you RSVP, whether by email, card or text! This is a good practice not only to help you, but also to help your host with their planning. Check out Fody’s guide to difficult conversations for more tips on talking about dietary restrictions or preferences!
Barbecue Etiquette Problem 2: I don’t know who to ask about ingredients (or the loo!)
We’ve all stared down a homemade potato salad that’s been sitting in the sun a bit too long. When you’re at a barbecue, particularly if it’s one with people you don’t know very well, you might be a little shy or even afraid to ask some questions about that sketchy salad, but also about the ingredients in the condiments or burger patties, or worse–the location of the bathroom.
Don’t let your shyness ruin your good time! If you’re somehow in a situation where you literally don’t know anyone (such as a neighborhood barbecue when you’ve just moved into the area), this can be a bit nerve-wracking, but that shouldn’t stop you (particularly if your digestion is at stake!)! A question makes a good icebreaker! As above, you don’t need to go into the specifics of why you’re asking; once you’ve got your answer, change the topic with a compliment or remark, and presto! You’re in.
Check out Fody’s guide to traveling with a sensitive stomach for some surprisingly versatile tips you can apply in any new situation–even if it’s right next door.
Barbecue Etiquette Problem 3: I don’t know what I can and can’t eat once I’m at a barbecue!
Enjoying yourself, trying new things and feeling good can be a delicate balance if you have a sensitive stomach. Luckily, if you’re not in the mood to be feeling tired and bloated, there are a few things you can do (and the best part: they’re not even really a part of barbecue etiquette!)!
For a quick brush up on low FODMAP foods that won’t irritate sensitive stomachs or cause bloating, you can check out the resources and shopping lists on our website, or on the Monash University app. You can also scroll through Fody’s recipes for a good look at what to look for: all our recipes are no-bloat and gut healthy! Remember to eat mindfully, even if there’s a lot going around you; this will go a long way towards helping your gut later on!
Finally, don’t overthink it! A barbecue is people getting together for some food and for a good time, and it’s not much more complicated than that. So slap on some sunscreen, whip up your favorite side dish, and get out there to enjoy the day!