Happy & Fructose Free

Spreading Hope for Anyone Affected by Fructose Malabsorption

Fructose Friendly Restaurants

on September 5, 2012

Anyone with special dietary needs can tell you that having other people cook for you is a tricky situation.  In the case of Fructose Malabsorption our biggest obstacle is getting people to understand our limitations (since nearly everything that is normally healthy and naturally delicious can make us ill).  After all, what crazy universe has apples, tomatoes and garlic on the “bad list” but french fries and white rice are OK to eat daily?  Our universe, of course!

Here is the good news.  In the last few months I have found a handful of restaurants that I have eaten at with complete success!  Yay!

Let’s start with the most obvious ones…

Restaurant #1:  Outback Steak House (and most of the “steak and potato” kind of places)

What to eat: Grilled Chicken seasoned with only salt & pepper and a baked potato with butter on the side. I also had some steamed broccoli with no seasonings.  It was delicious!

Beware of: the table bread. After doing a bit of online searching, I have determined this bread contains either honey, molasses or both. Depending on your sensitivity to fructose, a small amount of these sweeteners many not bother you, but whatever you do… do not eat the Bloomin’ Onion or associated dipping sauce.  It’s greasy and a million calories, so you aren’t missing anything 🙂

Restaurant #2: Subway (Eat fresh!)

What to eat: Italian Bread only, Turkey Breast and Spinach with Pepper, Oregano, Oil and Vinegar. The bacon is surprisingly safe, and so is the avocado since it hasn’t been turned into guacamole.

Beware of: all of the sauces and most of the meats.  Check this link to see if your favorites are free of fructose!

Restaurant #3: Olive Garden (and the other Darden chains to my knowledge)

What to eat: Pasta! Olive Garden has gluten-free penne if you are sensitive to wheat too! Per the manager at my local Olive Garden, they have chicken that is un-marinated but you must request the “chicken pieces” instead of the breast which is marinated. “Po-tay-to”/”po-tah-to” in my book, but these (four) smaller pieces of white meat chicken were grilled perfectly and I even had enough for lunch the next day. Also, they have fresh spinach and chopped celery to make a real salad, so you don’t even have to miss the appetizer 🙂

In summary: My dinner entree was a fresh spinach salad with chopped celery, (4) chicken pieces grilled, (1) broccoli pack steamed & (1) bow tie pasta pack steamed. It rang up under “Lemon & Herb Chicken” for $13.95.

Just remember to bring your own dressing and pizza seasoning blend (without parsley) to sprinkle over the pasta.

Beware of: most everything. This is the natural habitat for tomatoes, garlic and parsley, so be on the lookout and very clear with your waiter.  This is a dangerous place for we Fructose Free Folks but it can definitely be done.  Proceed with confidence and leave with a happy tummy!

Restaurant #4: Burger King (Surprise!)

What to eat: A burger! Yes, the vegetarian just said “burger.” Here’s the trick… the only bread item on the menu free of High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) is the English muffin, and the cashier will have to get manager approval to substitute it for the bun, but it is totally worth it. I get the single stacker (one burger) without stacker sauce! This must be specifically stated or your sandwich will come with it.  The bacon is free of unwanted sweeteners, and it comes with cheese if you can handle dairy. I snag a mustard packet and some pepper to spice things up.

Beware of: any other bread items & the ketchup, regardless of how much the vibrant red pump beckons.  Be strong 🙂

Check this link for more info on the BK Menu.

Note: this does not translate to McDonald’s. Their English muffins join the ranks of inedible bread items due to HFCS. Here’s the link to their ingredient list, just in case you wanted to see for yourself.

Hopefully this will help you feel confident away from your home kitchen, and it is always nice to feel “normal” in social situations.  These are the places where I have found success, and I wish the very same for you!


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