When I first started the low-FODMAP diet, I was super-overwhelmed.
On the one hand, I was frustrated enough with the constant discomfort that I knew something had to give–the low-FODMAP diet seemed worth a try. (I’ll tell that whole story another time.) But I would look down the list of allowed and disallowed foods and think, ‘This is insanity.’ My cabinet was full of stuff I now couldn’t eat, and on my first trip to the grocery store, I had no idea what to buy–I felt like every single product on the shelf had added onion or garlic, inulin, honey, soy…help me! The few products I could find were super-duper expensive, or were only available at the fancy health food store across town.
(That reminds me that I ought to do a post on first grocery store trips one of these days.)
There are lots of wonderful blogs and cookbooks with more complex low-FODMAP recipes that I make when I have time, but let’s face it: I’m a grad student, which means most days I can barely find time to brush my teeth. (Rest assured, I do always brush my teeth.) If it weren’t for the fact that I once went through anorexia recovery and trained myself to make regular eating an absolute priority, I’d be very tempted to skip meals–which is what a lot of busy people do. (Meal skipping on a regular basis = not good for IBS, by the way. You want your digestive system to be used to having stuff in it so it doesn’t freak out when you do finally eat.)
In time, I developed a list of easy fall-back meals that are quick, healthy, flexible, and don’t involve exhausting trips to every health food store in town.
If you’re living in the U.S. and trying out the low-FODMAP diet for the first time–don’t panic! Here are some easy meal and snack ideas to get you started.
Rice Chex with lactose-free milk and 1 serving of FODMAP-friendly fruit
Bob’s Red Mill Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal. I top mine with brown sugar, pecans and blueberries, but it’s great with a variety of toppings
French toast made with Udi’s bread, lactose-free or almond milk, eggs and cinnamon, topped with FODMAP-friendly fruit and real maple syrup
Scrambled eggs with Udi’s bread toast or oatmeal (the FODMAPs limit is 1/4 cup dry oats)
Gluten-free English muffins topped with egg, cheese, and spinach
These banana oat Greek yogurt pancakes from Running with Spoons. I make these a lot. To make them low-FODMAP, I just substitute half of the oats for 1/4 cup gluten-free flour blend–King Arthur is my favorite. Most FODMAPers can tolerate a little Greek yogurt, but you could always substitute that with lactose-free yogurt, although it can be hard to find. I buy the Green Valley Organics brand when I feel like a splurge.
These double chocolate Greek yogurt muffins are also low-FODMAP, and you can have two!
Lunch & Dinner:
These ham-and-broccoli-topped micro-baked potatoes from Hy-Vee. Just make sure to keep to 1/2 cup broccoli per serving, or sub the broccoli for another low-FODMAP vegetable like spinach or chard
Quinoa fried rice from Peas & Crayons. Just use garlic-infused oil instead of the garlic/garlic powder and use FODMAP-friendly vegetables. Hack: I love this recipe, but I never follow all the steps Jenn recommends. I just put 1 part quinoa to 1.5 parts water in a sauce pan, bring it to a boil, cover, and simmer for 12 minutes. I honestly can’t tell the difference.
Excuse me. I need to take a dance party break. One of my favorite songs just came on the radio. I have an 80s music problem.
I pack these “Kale”sadillas from SimplyRecipes in my lunch box all the time to reheat in the microwave at school. I just use brown rice tortillas and fuggedabout the onion
Turkey burgers with gluten-free buns. I buy the Trader Joe’s brand of both (the turkey burgers especially are a really good price), but most grocery stores carry the Udi’s buns and a few brands of frozen turkey burgers. Top with mayonnaise, tomato slices, and greens. I boil up some peas and carrots on the side. Or skip the buns entirely and serve the burger patties alongside rice or potatoes.
Tofu stir fry with low-FODMAP vegetables of choice, cooked in garlic-infused oil or plain olive oil and seasoned with soy sauce or tamari, sesame oil (expensive but worth it), and/or ginger.
Roasted pork chops or chicken breasts with FODMAP-friendly potatoes and other vegetables, seasoned with olive oil, salt, and fresh or dried herbs. The best thing about this meal is you only need one pan!
Tuna salad made with Hellman’s mayonnaise, or any other mayonnaise brand that doesn’t contain onion or garlic. Put it on Udi’s bread or on a salad alongside crackers
I also do a lot of egg salad with Hellman’s mayonnaise and dijon mustard. Egg salad might be my favorite food. Is that weird?
Classic pesto, but with the garlic and oil subbed for garlic-infused oil. Put it on pasta, chicken, fish, spaghetti squash, sandwiches, gluten-free pizza crust…it’s a great low-FODMAP way to get a lot of flavor into a meal.
Snacks & Sweets:
Oatmeal made with 1/4 oats and FODMAP-friendly toppings
Breyer’s lactose-free ice cream, with fruit, if desired
Snyder’s of Hanover gluten-free pretzels, with peanuts or PB for a more substantial snack
FODMAP-friendly crackers (like Rice Thins, Almond Nut Thins, Glutino, etc.), with cheese or PB for a more substantial snack
Rice Chex or a small amount of plain Cheerios–makes for a nice trail mix mix-in
Rice crispy treats–I do this healthier recipe from Running with Spoons, subbing brown rice syrup for the honey and peanut butter for the almond butter, since it’s cheaper and easier to find
String cheese and FODMAP-friendly fruit (bananas, grapes, and oranges are all really portable options)
Dark chocolate. : ) Just be aware that the FODMAPs cut-off is 1 oz.
Tortilla chips and low-FODMAP salsa
Low-FODMAP hummus and veggies, gluten-free pretzels or FODMAP-friendly crackers
Crystallized ginger and macadamia nuts–okay, not cheap, but so delicious–and ginger is a great thing to soothe an unhappy tummy
Immaculate Gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies are easy and widely available, and I’ve found them for less than 5 bucks, which isn’t bad for gluten-free
Green or black tea, plain or made into a latte with almond milk
Most beer or wine–limit to one serving
A small (4oz.) glass of orange juice
Water, water, water. It’s important to hydrate in general, but especially if you have diarrhea or constipation–which folks with IBS by definition deal with on a regular basis.