Going gluten free and FODMAP in Spain can be a bit of a task, but it was one of the best foreign trips I've ever taken! Everywhere we went people were so accomodating and willing to help. Most places we went to knew about gluten and dairy allergies. I did have to pick my battles a little. I couldn't make a lot of accomodations so I really picked my battles by making sure I wasn't eating gluten or dairy--the two food groups that seem to give me the most trouble.
One of the best things about Spain is that it is one of the easiest countries to travel to if you are needing gluten free food. The country has aggressive celiac labeling laws and celiac associations are proactive in educating restaurants on serving gluten free food.
Eating FODMAP in Spain
There are plenty of common dishes you will find in Spain.
- Paella: Paella is a rice dish that first originated in Venezuela but now has strong ties and origins to Spain. It is often mixed with other vegetables meats and seasonings so you will want to check your dish.
- Tapas: Tapas are small plates of meats, breads, cheeses and seafood. There are so many different flavor combinations but you will find lot's a jamon (ham) and ibierca (pig).
- Pippirana: A vegetable salad made of peppers, tomatoes, onions and or fish.
- Meat and seafood: Carne y pescado. Octopus, fish, ham, squid are all commonly found in Spain at almost every restaurant and eatery. A lot of fried seafood can be found so it's out for gluten free FODMAPers.
- Eggs: Huevos: Eggs are everywhere in Spain! They top french fries and are even made into a variety of egg and veggie like pancakes.
- Potatoes: Patatas: Potatoes are a popular find here in Madrid. From boiled to fried they are everywhere and so delicious!
- Desserts: Marzipan is all over the place and is made from sugar and almonds. It is probably the most FODMAP friendly dessert to eat in Madrid.
Pick Your Battles
Finding FODMAP friendly dishes was a bit more of a task while in Madrid. I easily found gluten free dishes or dairy free dishes, but I found some issues:
I had to pick my battles with some of the foods I was eating. I opted to really narrow down my list so that I was only asking for gluten free and dairy free foods.
I did not notice any specific FODMAP food labeling in Madrid. I did notice that gluten free foods and dairy free foods were labeled on packages.
Spanish Phrases to Know
There are several Spanish words and phrases you will want to learn when ordering in Spain. We found most places we went to spoke English but a few spoke Spanish so it was good to know some of these phrases. that were really helpful to know.
- Soy allergico: I am allergic
- Soy allergico a los lactos: I am allergic to dairy
- Soy allergico a los gluten: I am allergic to gluten
- Sin lactos: No dairy
- Sin gluten: No gluten
- Lo siento: I'm sorry
- Gracias por tu ayuda: Thank you for your help
- Muchos gracias: Thank you very much
- Sin pan: No bread
- Por favor: Please
- Starbucks: Near me in the states I haven't noticed too many Starbucks carrying gluten free and dairy free food but here in Madrid I was able to grab a cookie and muffin. I found these in several Starbucks locations throughout Madrid.
- McDonald's: No matter the country I travel to if there is a Starbucks, a McDonald's is sure to be nearby! Most of the McDonald's anywhere did not carry gluten free food, but if I got delayed or needed food late at night I can order a patty 'sin pan.' (without bread)
- Solo de Croquetas: If you are dying to enjoy one of those amazing spanish breads, you can! Solo de Croquetas make bite sized gluten free croquettes.
- Celicioso: This gluten free bakery offers cookies, cakes, tarts, breafast and lunch!
- Pizza Natura: All 100% gluten free pizziera that makes beautiful pizzas by hand! Everything in here is organic too!
- Comete Mexico: Authentic mexican food is served here! The restaurant has a dedicated gluten free menu and also offers gluten free beer selections.
- Okashi Sanda: I know, I know you don't come to Madrid to eat Japanese food but you will want to make a stop here! It's my #1 recommendation for those with FODMAP. In addition to gluten free food, EVERYTHING here is also dairy free, plus there are plenty of vegan options. They even have dessert options too!
- Lalina: THE place to eat tapas, bravas and copas if you are gluten free. The website states "tell us you're celiac and we'll do the rest!" They offer croquettes, and patatas bravas that are gluten free along with calamari too! They also clearly label for other food allergens as well.
- Asador 7 de Julio: Loved this place. As soon as I told them I needed to order gluten free, they moved the bread basket to my husband and came out with two heated and wrapped gluten free rolls for me. They also showed me everything on the menu that was gluten free. They offered a gluten free dessert and the group we traveled with loved the three bottles of flavored liquor brought to our table to taste at the end of the meal. Most had that as dessert).
- Ramses: YUM! They didn't offer gluten free bread but the fish was delish! And the bathrooms and outdoor atmosphere were gorgeous!
- Palacio de Negralejo: By FAR my favorite place! We went there for my husband's closing work conference dinner. They were so good to go through the menu for the night with me, offered me a gluten free roll AND a gluten free dessert!
There are several grocery store chains that sell gluten free, dairy free and other FODMAP friendly products including:
- El Corte Ingles
- E. Leclerc
- La Sirena
I went to El Corte Ingles and Mercadona while in Spain and did find plenty of gluten free foods.
Online Food Guides
My US food guides didn't really help me much while I was in Madrid to locate any eateries. Google was pretty helpful though. But if you have a question on a specific food you want to eat I would suggest downloading and having the Monash Food App on your phone. It is the only app dedicated to the FODMAP diet.
There are also several gluten free food guides that are good to use and specific to Madrid and Spain.
Other Tips and Tricks
- Gluten reduced: This is a popular but hidden phrase. A lot of gluten free beer may only be gluten reduced. Check for ingredients and avoid any gluten free beers with malted barley listed in the ingredients--these are only gluten reduced.
- Gluten free cards: If you aren't familiar or comfortable speaking spanish there are free cards that you can print out and take with you. Jodi from Gluten Free Nomads has made one that you can take to restaurants with you to ask more complex questions on food substituions and more.
- The plane ride: The ride over to Madrid spain can be a long one and meals are often served on the plane. Make sure to order your meal beforehand, bring some snacks or a cup of gluten free ramen soup you can ask for a cup of hot water to make with.
- Don't forget sick day meals! Without a doubt I always get a little sick on a trip whether by jet lag or maybe eating something I thought I could eat.
I will usually pack some meals.
- I think the one thing many of my acquaintances noticed while we were out there was the lack of fruits and vegetables. Or the lack of fresh fruits and vegetables not drowned in olive oil. Unfortunately the grilled vegetables in olive oil did a number on my stomach.
FOR MORE INFO ON TIPS FOR FODMAP TRAVELING, CLICK HERE.
Hopefully this guide has made it much easier to travel to Madrid Spain on a FODMAP diet. If you find any tips or tricks that helped while traveling, please drop us a tip and let us know!
And check out all the places we've gone and eaten FODMAP:
Five Hotel Hacks for Traveling with Food Allergies
Leave a Reply