If your lover, spouse or significant other is suffering from IBD, you know that food can be a sensitive issue. As with many chronic illnesses, diet and lifestyle play a huge part in helping to manage symptoms and flare-ups over the long term.

Special dietary requirements can make dining out a bit tricky. Even rustling up a quick dinner can sometimes be fraught with red flags and trigger foods. But food is a pleasure and should be enjoyed, IBS or no IBS. And Valentine’s Day, that most romantic of holidays, is best celebrated by spending time with your beloved – often over a fine meal.

Preparing a romantic dinner for your partner is an excellent and delicious Valentine’s gesture, but if they suffer from IBS you should be careful to plan a tummy-friendly menu. But this doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on flavour or ambience!

And with that, we present our failsafe guide to a romantic, IBS-friendly Valentine’s dinner for two:

The Menu

The menu should be delicious, achievable and avoid foods that trigger symptoms. Given that every IBS sufferer is different, these trigger foods can vary greatly between individuals. Your best bet is to find out in advance what foods your special someone avoids, or maybe take note of what they enjoy when dining out and whip up a similar dish.

There are some great websites featuring easy, tasty recipes catering to all sorts of food sensitivities – low in fat, high in soluble fibre, lactose, etc. You just need to know what to look for, and your best resource about what triggers your partner’s condition is your partner. Ask. After all, communication is the foundation of a good relationship.

Dairy can be a common trigger food for people with gastro issues, so consider skipping the rich dessert in favour of some fresh berries and be sure to offer some non-acidic alternatives to soft drinks and alcohol. An iced herbal tea is refreshing and of course chilled water is a table staple.

The Scene

Make your everyday space more special for your Valentine’s affair with a few easy tricks:

  • First of all, clear your space of kids if you have them. This is time for you to indulge your grown-up relationship, not be distracted by a SpongeBob SquarePants DVD running in the background. Try offloading them to a friendly relative or, if all else fails, get a sitter and barricade them in another part of the house.
  • Candles are a must-have romantic dinner accessory because… well everybody looks hot by candlelight! Candles also act as a visual signal of the switch from day to night, work to play, stress to relaxation. See where we’re going with this? Trust us. Go with the candles.
  • Flowers make any table look special. They don’t have to be big, expensive or fancy. A blossom or two from the garden or even a few sprigs of rosemary in a jam jar is enough to add colour and texture to your table setting.
  • Use your good plates and glasses. You know, the ones you’ve been saving for a special occasion? A dinner with the one you love is a special occasion. Show them that.
  • Be as prepared as possible and do the heavy lifting in advance so you’re not flitting madly about the kitchen or tidying up when you should be enjoying one another’s company.

The Music

Music is an essential mood definer, but we all have different tastes. Avoid putting all your fave tunes on your dinner playlist if you know your partner can’t stand them. Easy listening or some classic jazz can be good neutral options. Maybe pick a couple of your date’s favourite tracks and some they might not know and hit shuffle. You could even burn them a CD of the playlist as a Valentine’s gift. If you need ideas, why not give one of these free romantic playlists a go.


If you’re stuck on menu options or pressed for time, a good alternative is to dine out. Empower your partner and help alleviate some of the dining-out stress experienced by many IBD sufferers by suggesting they choose the restaurant, that way they can be sure to have some friendly foods to choose from.

If your partner has recently experienced serious issues with their condition you might like to consider some other non food-focused Valentine’s ideas instead. These could be as simple as a romantic stroll along the beach or as involved as a weekend away.

Whatever you do, if you show that you’re understanding of your partner’s condition and supportive of their health it will mean a lot.

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