How to Eat Out and Not Get a Food Hangover

blog food hangover on the go restaurant

Eating was so much easier before I developed food sensitivities that came along with rheumatoid arthritis autoimmune disease.  

Going to restaurants with friends is a fun, social occasion, often a special occasion. It can be a treat or a solution on a busy day.  And I love going to restaurants when I am traveling as a way of experiencing the local culture. 

I can still do all these things, even though I have food sensitivities … I just need to be careful. After many experiences of saying, “It’s just this once” or “I can’t be THAT sensitive,” and suffering the consequences,  I’ve learned a few things, and now I do things differently.  Here, I am sharing them with you so you, too, can eat out without getting a food hangover. 

What is a food hangover?  For me, it is mostly joint pain that can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.  For other people, it could be digestive problems or perhaps skin issues, like acne or blotches.  Or even a lack of energy … general lethargy.  Whatever it is, the hangover is never worth it for me.  That’s why I have to be super careful now about eating food that is cooked by other people.  

If you are sensitive like me, here are some tips on how to eat out and not get a food hangover:

  1. Go to a restaurant that serves quality food. I have the best luck when I search for ‘farm-to-table’ restaurants. These types of restaurants generally serve quality, organic food, and the chefs care about what they are serving. The focus is on simple, tasty fare and locally-sourced ingredients.

  2. Study the menu before you go. This can help you identify ahead of time what fits your particular food requirements. Hopefully, you can find some items that will be a good fit, and it will save time, and you’ll be less stressed when you are there, knowing that there are “safe’ foods for you to eat.

  3. Call ahead to ask if your needs can be accommodated. If you don’t see anything suitable on the menu or if you want to swap things in or out, call ahead and ask if they are willing to do this. Tell them you have food sensitivities, but you would really like to go to their restaurant. Most are very accommodating. Plus, it will be a breeze at ordering time because yours will already be sorted out. No big deal.

  4. Don’t be afraid to ask. If you find yourself at a restaurant without having been able to check it out ahead of time, notify the waiter of your food sensitivities and ask what dish they recommend. Ask about ingredients. A good option is to order wild-caught fish and ask if it can be poached in water or lemon juice or cooked in parchment.

  5. Eat before you go out. I know it sounds a little crazy, but if you eat before you go out, you won’t need to eat as much food while you are there, so there is less chance of a food hangover.

  6. Bring your own salad dressing. I actually do this regularly! There is always some sort of salad on the menu, but often, the dressings include inflammatory oils. Solution: just bring your own in an old spice jar. You can notify the waiter that you have food sensitivities and have to be careful or simply pour it over your salad discretely.

I hope these ideas about how to eat out and not get a food hangover are helpful.  Let me know in the comments if you have tried any of these or if you have other suggestions to share. 

Eating out can still be fun!



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  2. All information in this post is based on my personal experiences. Please discuss any changes to your diet, lifestyle or medications with your healthcare team. No information in this article is meant to replace medical advice. Please read my Terms and Conditions.