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Updated: Jun 9, 2023

My Restaurant Tips & Tricks | Living in Wellness GAPS Blog

Sometimes there is the temptation to go eat out at a restaurant and bring back a feeling of normalcy to our lives. It’s understandable! But how do we maintain a certain level of compliance with GAPS* and yet still enjoy the food? Here are my tips and tricks I use when I go to restaurants. It’s not perfect, but it gives you an idea of what you can incorporate.

When I go to a restaurant this is what I might take with me: sauerkraut, ferments, nutritional yeast, olive oil, mineral salt or homemade condiments in small containers. Yes, I realize it’s not polite to take food into the restaurant! But let’s just get past this stereotype, as I’ve never been kicked out of the restaurant because of it!

Here are some friendly GAPS* meal choices that I look for on the menu:

  • Chicken breast, steak, or fish (salmon, gravlax, tuna, etc.) without any sauce or without any seasoning. Basically, plain as can be! Yes, this is muscle meat, but it’s a compromise to eating nothing.

  • Sometimes I’ll ask for extra butter, or coconut oil, on the side. If you forget your Ox-Bile, then try to consume low fat meals so that you don’t feel nauseous afterwards. You’re here to enjoy the experience of eating out without the nausea!

  • Eggs, prepared according to what your body can tolerate and the Stage you’re on (Advanced Stage 2+ you can start to introduce soft-boiled eggs; Stage 3+ you start with scrambled eggs or gently fried eggs, such as over-easy or over-medium, then advance to other types of cooked eggs as your digestion will tolerate)

  • (Stage 3) Sauerkraut without additives. Even if it is pasteurized, the “dead” bacteria will still provide benefit. And the cabbage itself is beneficial, it promotes stomach acid. Although I do prefer bringing a small container of homemade sauerkraut to the restaurant versus ordering it off the menu.

  • (Stage 5+) Salads omitting both dressing and balsamic vinegar. I will ask for olive oil on the side and that’s what I put over top of my salad. It’s very plain, but salt or nutritional yeast can help to add more flavor!

Here are some friendly GAPS* beverage choices that I look for on the menu:

  • (Stage 1+) Herbal teas with some honey.

  • Water with freshly-pressed lemon/lime juice (Stage 2+) or apple cider vinegar (Stage 5+)

  • (Full GAPS*) Coffee, consumed black, without dairy, and with honey as an alternative to processed sugar.

  • (Full GAPS*) Alcohol, should be consumed without sugary beverages. Consume it straight, diluted with water.

Unfortunately, there are usually not many GAPS*-friendly options for dessert, aside from the singular suggestion below. It’s usually best to save dessert for when you get home!

  • (Stage 6+) Raw Fruit

Here’s what I try to AVOID on the menu:

  • Carbs, like potatoes/hashbrowns, buns/breads/rolls, pancakes, etc.

  • All items made with processed sugar, like baked goods & desserts.

  • Avoid unfermented milk, pop, shakes, sparkling water, etc.

I am very proactive about bringing my digestive aids (like sauerkraut or Betaine HCL + Pepsin) to the restaurant, as this helps to reduce the risk of any unpleasant symptoms afterwards. If I happened to forget them, then I ask our server to bring the following options noted below. These will also help to stimulate stomach acid production:

  • (Stage 3+) Sauerkraut

  • (Stage 5+) Arugula

  • (Stage 5+) Apple Cider Vinegar in water (2-3 Tbsp in 1 cup of water will help to simulate stomach acid, although this can be very acidic to consume unless you do it frequently, so try to make it as strong as tolerated)

  • (Stage 6+) Raw Cabbage

Hopefully this offers some useful suggestions that you can employ the next time you’re out at a restaurant. But most of all, I wish you a fun time and hope you create some fond memories!


Friendly Forewarnings:

  • Please remember, restaurants purchase the cheapest quality of ingredients that don’t meet the high standards of GAPS*. They also use processed oils and heat them, which is not what we do on GAPS*. Eating out should be very infrequent on your GAPS* journey.

  • Keep in mind that restaurants are a risk. Be willing to accept the risk of eating out and dealing with the consequences, or symptoms, that arise from it.

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