As traditional meals go, the U.S. Thanksgiving meal is actually pretty easy to convert to low-FODMAP. Most of the essential dishes feature ingredients that are naturally low in FODMAPs, including turkey, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, green beans, cranberries, and pecans. It’s just a matter of making sure that they’re free of FODMAPs from accompanying flavors and ingredients like onion, garlic, wheat, or honey.
Of course, you’ll likely be sharing your Thanksgiving meal with friends and extended family who are not on the low-FODMAP diet–and may never have heard of it. If that’s the case, I recommend calling the host or hostess and explaining your situation well in advance of the big day. Alana at A Little Bit Yummy has a great post for explaining the low-FODMAP diet for family and friends.
Ask the host or hostess if they can make one or two dishes low-FODMAP: say, the turkey and the mashed potatoes. Then, offer to bring one or two low-FODMAP dishes or your own: say, green beans and a low-FODMAP pie. Although other guests may bring tempting-looking high-FODMAP dishes, feel free to pass and stick to the three or four low-FODMAP dishes you know are safe, bearing in mind that the low-FODMAP diet isn’t forever and that by next year, you’ll have tested and re-introduced more high-FODMAP foods and should be able to enjoy more of your favorite dishes.
Or, you can always just cheat on the diet for a day. That’s an option too. It just depends on the severity of your symptoms and how much they interfere with your quality of life.
But if you choose to try to prepare a low-FODMAP Thanksgiving meal, here a few tips for converting 8 of your favorite recipes.
Prepare a whole roast turkey as you always would–really all you need to do is pop the thing in the oven and let ‘er roast. That being said, if you follow a recipe that adds seasoning, stick to low-FODMAP seasonings like butter, oil, garlic- or shallot-infused oils, fresh or dried herbs, carrots, and small amounts of celery. Don’t stuff the bird; if you want stuffing, prepare a low-FODMAP version to serve on the side (see below.)
Follow a classic mashed potatoes recipe that calls for potatoes, milk, butter, salt, and pepper. Use lactose-free milk in place of the regular milk and voila! low-FODMAP! Or, use a little garlic-infused oil in place of the butter and top with chives for a sassier twist. You won’t need to watch your serving size on this one unless the fiber from the potato skins bothers you because potatoes are one of those vegetables that FODMAPers can eat freely.
If you haven’t added any onion or garlic to your turkey, then you can use the pan juices and drippings as the base for your gravy. Most store-bought broths and stocks are high in FODMAPs. Once your turkey comes out of the oven, add the drippings to a saucepan and cook with cornstarch, a little lactose-free milk, salt and pepper until thick.
Here’s my favorite garlic green beans recipe:
- 2 lb. fresh green beans, ends trimmed
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Tbsp. garlic-infused oil
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes, optional
- 1 tsp. salt
Add all ingredients except the salt to a slow cooker and cook on high for 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Add the salt when it’s finished cooking and stir to combine.
I’d take this over that awful cream-of-mushroom soup and French-fried onion stuff any day. (But no judgment if that’s your jam.) Be aware that 12 green beans is the maximum low-FODMAP portion.
Half a cup of cooked sweet potatoes is low-FODMAP. As long as your sweet potatoes are seasoned with low-FODMAP ingredients like butter, brown sugar, and crushed pineapple, you should be able to enjoy a modest-sized scoop. Even marshmallows, if they’re made with only regular corn syrup and not high-fructose corn syrup, should be okay in moderation, since corn syrup is high in glucose, not fructose.
If you’d like a larger portion of something sweet potato flavored, consider roasting up some delicious kabocha squash, a notably low-FODMAP winter squash with a similar flavor profile to sweet potatoes.
So easy! Just follow the classic cranberry sauce recipe from the Ocean Spray cranberry bag or your Betty Crocker cookbook: water, sugar, and cranberries.
I just skipped the stuffing last year, since my little IBS-prone tummy can only handle so much food at once, anyway. That being said, it is probably my favorite Thanksgiving dish. Alana of A Little Bit Yummy just posted a delicious-looking low-FODMAP stuffing recipe.
Alternatively, you could modify a wild rice stuffing recipe, using onion- and garlic-free alternatives for flavoring.
Or you could simply go with low-FODMAP rolls or cornbread. Hodgson Mill and Trader Joe’s both make gluten-free cornbread mixes that are free of FODMAPs.
I’ve actually seen a number of low-FODMAP pumpkin pie, pumpkin cake, and pumpkin bar recipes out there, so explore! Here’s just one delicious-looking option from Dianne over at Delicious as It Looks.
Really, at the end of the day, all you need to make a low-FODMAP pumpkin pie is to use a gluten-free crust and a lactose-free and low-FODMAP option in place of the evaporated milk, such as almond milk or lactose-free milk. That being said, I also like to add a few tablespoons of cornstarch to the pie filling so that it sits up nicely.And there you have it! A low-FODMAP Thanksgiving meal fit for a FODMAPer!
Wishing my wonderful readers a peace-filled holiday.