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If you have irritable bowel syndrome or unexplained gastrointestinal symptoms after eating, you may have come across the low FODMAP diet in an attempt to improve your digestive troubles.
While the low FODMAP diet does eliminate potentially gut-disrupting foods, it can often be difficult to follow—especially in the beginning.
Fortunately, we’re here to help—keep reading to learn more about what FODMAPs are, tips for low FODMAP meal prep, and an easy-to-follow low FODMAP diet meal plan.
What Are FODMAPs?
FODMAP is an acronym for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols.
FODMAPs are all types of carbohydrates that can trigger digestive symptoms in some people, as they are often poorly absorbed by the small intestine.
Specific types of carbohydrates with high FODMAP levels include fructose, fructans, lactose, galactans, and polyols.
FODMAPs are found in many common foods, especially certain fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and legumes.
Some of the most common high FODMAP foods include:
- Fruit: Apples, apricots, avocadoes, blackberries, cherries, dates, fruit juices, grapes, nectarines, peaches, pears, plums, prunes, ripe bananas, and watermelon
- Vegetables: Artichokes, asparagus, beets, broccoli stalks, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, green onions, leeks, mushrooms, onions, and shallots
- Dairy: Cream cheese, cottage cheese, ice cream, milk, ricotta cheese, and yogurt
- Grains and legumes: Beans of all kinds, cashews, chickpeas, hummus, lentils, rye, wheat and wheat-containing foods (bread, pasta, cookies, crackers)
- Other: Almonds, high-fructose corn syrup, inulin fiber, pistachios, sugar alcohols (erythritol, sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol)
As most, but not all, of these foods are nutritious and contain healthy amounts of fiber, it’s not always recommended to be on a low FODMAP diet plan for life.
Many people find digestive comfort after following this elimination diet for 4-6 weeks, then reintroducing foods one at a time.
Tips for Low FODMAP Meal Planning
Although the list of high FODMAP foods to avoid may seem daunting, there are some helpful tips for making a low FODMAP meal plan:
- Rather than coming up with entirely new meal ideas, think about your favorite or most commonly consumed foods and tweak some of the ingredients. For example, if you love spaghetti with garlicky marinara, you could eat brown rice spaghetti with a garlic- and onion-free pasta sauce.
- Garlic and onions tend to trigger some of the most unpleasant IBS symptoms, but you could use garlic-infused olive oil if you don’t want to miss out on the flavor.
- Educate yourself on how to read labels, and keep a cheatsheet on your phone about which foods and ingredients are high FODMAP to avoid while grocery shopping.
- Prepare large batches of low FODMAP meals in advance so you can avoid the stress of thinking about what to cook for a few days at a time.
- For each meal, try to have one protein, one or two types of low FODMAP vegetables (see below for a list), and one low FODMAP carbohydrate source.
Low FODMAP Grocery Staples
Although the list of high FODMAP foods to avoid seems long, there are also plenty of low FODMAP grocery staples to add to your list.
Many prepackaged or ready-to-eat foods can be challenging to eat because of the variety of ingredients and potentially high FODMAP ingredients.
Some of our favorite on-the-go, low FODMAP snacks are GoMacro Bars, with 7 of their 15 bars being Certified FODMAP Friendly.
Other low FODMAP foods include:
- Fruits: Bananas (unripe or green), blueberries and raspberries (small amounts), cantaloupe, kiwi, oranges, and pineapple
- Vegetables: Bok choy, broccoli florets (not the stalks), carrots, cucumbers, green beans, lettuce, potatoes, tomatoes, and zucchini
- Proteins: Chicken, eggs, fish, seafood, turkey, red meat, tofu, walnuts, and seeds
- Dairy: Almond milk, lactose-free milk and yogurt, soy milk, and hard cheeses
- Grains: Rice (brown and white), rice noodles, gluten-free pasta, gluten-free bread, quinoa, and oats
- Fats: Avocado oil, butter, olive oil, and garlic-infused olive oil
- Snacks: GoMacro Bars, peanut butter, hard-boiled eggs, low FODMAP nuts (walnuts, peanuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts), rice cakes with peanut butter, popcorn, or mozzarella string cheese (in small amounts).
Example of a Low FODMAP Meal Plan
|Breakfast||Scrambled or poached eggs with potato-and-tomato hash and shredded cheddar cheese||½ cup of oatmeal with lactose-free milk, unripe banana, peanut butter, and 10 blueberries|
|Lunch||Salad topped with chicken or fish, walnuts, parmesan cheese, and olive oil-based dressing||Sandwich with gluten-free bread, organic deli turkey, tomato, lettuce, mayo, and mustard|
|Dinner||Roasted wild-caught salmon marinated with soy sauce and sesame oil, served with bok choy and brown rice or quinoa||Burrito bowl with ground beef or turkey seasoned with cumin and paprika, rice, tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, cilantro, and cheddar cheese|
|Snacks||Hard-boiled egg plus a string cheese
GoMacro Bar plus a kiwi or mandarin oranges
|Baby carrots and rice cakes with peanut butter
Mixed low FODMAP nuts (pine nuts, walnuts, macadamia nuts, small amounts of almonds)
FAQs About Low FODMAP Meal Plans
Who Is the Low FODMAP Diet For?
People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or those who regularly experience gastrointestinal symptoms (like diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain, cramping, or gas) after eating certain foods may benefit from a low FODMAP diet.
Research suggests that up to 80% of people with IBS experience symptom relief when following a low FODMAP diet.
What Can You Eat on a Low FODMAP Day?
There are many low FODMAP foods that you can enjoy on this diet, including many types of animal protein, low-fructose fruits, some vegetables, lactose-free dairy products, hard cheeses, and gluten-free grains.
Can You Lose Weight on a Low FODMAP Diet?
Despite the word “diet” being in its name, the low FODMAP diet is not designed for you to lose weight—it’s designed to help manage IBS and improve digestive symptoms.
However, some people may experience some weight loss on the low FODMAP diet because of the food restrictions that make it challenging to eat out at restaurants or consume prepackaged foods.
What Type of Bread Is Low FODMAP?
Gluten-free bread that doesn’t contain beans, lentils, or chickpeas is safe to eat on a low FODMAP diet.
The most commonly used flours in gluten-free bread are cornstarch, rice flour, tapioca starch, and potato flour.
Some people on a low FODMAP diet also do fine with sourdough bread—especially homemade—because the sourdough starter helps break down the fructans from the flour.
Is Coffee Low FODMAP?
Yes, coffee is technically low FODMAP, but can still be an irritant to the digestive system for many people.
However, many things that people typically add to coffee, like creamers, milk, and sugar substitutes, are not low FODMAP and should be avoided.
If you don’t like black coffee, adding lactose-free milk or small amounts of oat or almond milk should be fine, as well as small amounts of brown sugar, raw sugar, stevia, or maple syrup.
Is Chocolate OK on a FODMAP Diet?
Small amounts of chocolate are okay to consume when following a low FODMAP diet.
Dark chocolate will be better tolerated than lactose-containing milk chocolate—plus, dark chocolate is more nutritious and contains beneficial antioxidants.
However, you’ll want to check the ingredient list and avoid any chocolate that contains inulin or chicory root, as well as high FODMAP sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup, honey, agave syrup, and sugar alcohols like sorbitol, mannitol, maltitol, isomalt, or erythritol.
Is Peanut Butter Low FODMAP?
Yes, peanut butter is low FODMAP—just ensure there is no high-fructose corn syrup, honey, agave, or sugar alcohols added.
Are Eggs Low FODMAP?
Yes, eggs—as well as most animal proteins—are low FODMAP, making them an excellent choice for adding protein to meals or snacks.
- FODMAP is an acronym that stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols—all of these are types of carbohydrates that can be poorly absorbed in the small intestine, causing digestive discomfort.
- The low FODMAP diet can be challenging to follow, as the list of high FODMAP foods is long and comprises many food groups.
- There are plenty of meals that can be made out of low FODMAP foods, with a focus on proteins, gluten-free grains, healthy fats, low-fructose fruits, and low FODMAP vegetables.
Altobelli E, Del Negro V, Angeletti PM, Latella G. Low-FODMAP Diet Improves Irritable Bowel Syndrome Symptoms: A Meta-Analysis. Nutrients. 2017;9(9):940. Published 2017 Aug 26. doi:10.3390/nu9090940
Bellini M, Tonarelli S, Barracca F, et al. A Low-FODMAP Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Some Answers to the Doubts from a Long-Term Follow-Up. Nutrients. 2020;12(8):2360. Published 2020 Aug 7. doi:10.3390/nu12082360