Getting Started on the Low FODMAP Diet

Don’t know where to start? I know that feeling all too well. I was very overwhelmed by the low FODMAP diet and where to start. It was scary knowing that most of the foods I was eating were doing the damage to my system. So how do you completely change your thinking about food?

How to Get Started on the Low FODMAP Diet

First, get rid of anything that is high in FODMAPs. Check every product in your house and know if it’s a safe food or not. Once you have identified the high FODMAP foods, donate them, throw them out, whatever you need to do, because if you know its available, its easy to eat. I spent an evening cleaning out the pantry, reading every label and what I couldn’t eat, I put on my husband’s shelf (which is out of my normal reach and view). Anything that he didn’t want, we gave to our neighbors who have kids. By far, this was the toughest part because some of my favorite go-to foods ended up on my husband’s shelf.

Next, stock up on some low FODMAP basics. Print out the low FODMAP food list and the high FODMAP food list and spend a long evening at the grocery store inspecting the labels on products. You can get a peek at my favorite low FODMAP items to see what my grocery list looks like. I can save you a lot of time and heart-ache and tell you just to pass on the following products: salad dressings, marinara sauces, marinades, and sauces (like BBQ and steak sauce). I have inspected numerous ingredient labels and almost all of these products contain garlic, onion, honey, high fructose corn syrup or molasses. Here’s a great list of low FODMAP garlic and onion replacements so you can still get great flavor into your food.

Take a look at my low FODMAP recipes that includes some basics like salad dressing, marinara sauce, salsa and mashed potatoes. I am not the best cook in the world, so please don’t be intimidated if you aren’t either. Ensure you pick up some of those ingredients while you’re at the store. Also, as a go-to and a good transition into the diet, pick up some of the low FODMAP brand name packaged foods that I have compiled. Some are winners and some aren’t, but it’s a good base to have some foods you can eat right out of the package.

I have compiled a list of low FODMAP sample meals so you can visualize a my meal plan for yourself. Ensure you have a good base of the ingredients that go into those meals available.

Once you have all your basics in house, an important step is to discuss your new diet with your entire household. Ensure that they understand why you’re eating differently and to please allow you to eat your safe foods (since chances are they’re a little more expensive) while they can enjoy other, less expensive foods. My husband has been very good to incorporate my eating habits into most of our meals, and if he’s eating something I can’t have (that he knows I miss), he will eat in another room. He made the mistake on day 1 of my new diet to comment on how delicious his meal (of all my discarded food) was. I broke down in tears and had a little melt-down because of the limitations I was now faced with. I  explained to him how his comment hurt me because it’s difficult to know all the things I am missing out on. He has been much more sensitive since that incident… especially now with how much happier I am.

Next, find your routine. I do a lot of my big cooking once a week and plan my schedule based on what I have. I utilize the freezer a lot to have food on hand in a pinch. I eat a lot of salads and with my quick low FODMAP balsamic dressing, it’s a quick, low calorie meal.

Also, I tend to eat much smaller meals more frequently throughout the day. Because the low FODMAP diet is it not only what you eat, but in what quantities. I can always tell when I ate too much, even with all safe foods. My system just can’t take a large quantity of food, so I eat 200-300 calorie meals about 6 times a day. Even if I dine out, I usually save half and take it home. For example, if I take a sandwich, a banana and baby carrots for lunch, I will eat the banana around 10:30am, have the sandwich at 12:30pm and then snack on the carrots around 3:00pm.

For me, it took about 2 weeks to fully immerse myself in the diet as I got more comfortable with preparing some of the foods that I used to buy out of the package. Just assume that convenience foods are out and you have to be prepared for each upcoming meal or snack. When laziness strikes, that’s what you have tortilla chips on hand!

I’m not going to sugar coat it… it’s a tough transition. I felt it was maybe a little easier for me since I was already happily gluten free. Also the hope is that you don’t have to eat this way forever. You should eat FODMAP free for about 6-8 weeks and then reintroduce FODMAPs back into your diet. For me, I can handle galactans at almost all quantities (welcome back hummus!), and a little bit of lactose, fructose and polyols later in the day. Unfortunately, fructans and I do not get along.

If you’re starting on the diet, I am happy to help in any way possible. I’ve been there and you shouldn’t have to do this alone. Please feel free to reach out to me with questions or comments at livinghappywithibs@gmail.com, on Twitter at @LivingHappywIBS or on Pinterest.

Getting Started on the Low FODMAP Diet

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Low FODMAP Sample Meals

Overwhelmed by the restriction of the diet? I’ve been there. I searched everywhere for examples of meals that I could eat on the low FODMAP diet. Even simple meals, like a salad were scary due to the limitations of store-bought salad dressings.

There’s really a variety of meals you can have with the diet… even pizza! Of course most of your meals will require a little extra prep and you can probably hide the take-out menus for now. I actually made this list for myself and hung it on the refrigerator to see what all my option were for each meal. It’s a good confidence booster to see what you can eat rather than what you can’t.

Low FODMAP Sample Meals

Low FODMAP Breakfast Suggestions:

Low FODMAP Lunch Suggestions:

Low FODMAP Dinner Suggestions:

Low FODMAP Snack Suggestions:

Personally, I eat a lot of salads, which allows me to tailor it to what I want that day. I also tend to snack a lot, which is why it was essential for me to know my go-to packaged foods when in a bind. I also tend to stick to smaller meals, since it’s not only what you eat, but how much. You can also get some insight to what my shopping list looks like with my favorite low FODMAP items.

Overwhelmed? You’re not alone. Here are some tips on getting started with the low FODMAP diet.

Do you have a meal or snack that you love? Let me know and I will add it to the list!

Low FODMAP Brand Name Packaged Foods

I will be the first to admit it… I can be very lazy. So when it comes to having a meal or snack, I want the easiest method possible. Especially when I am dining alone at home. I often turn to packaged foods for dinner or a snack. However, finding these brand name foods can be difficult when you’re adhering to a low FODMAP diet.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of products that will fit into the diet. However, most of these items are merely ingredients. I excluded the safe ingredients and fresh foods because I covered them in the low FODMAP foods to enjoy list. Plus I outlined my favorite low FODMAP items that is a reflection of my weekly grocery list. I wanted to outline the products that are good right out of the package without cooking, assembling or adding anything.

Low FODMAP Brand Name Foods

* Please note that I compiled this list in May of 2013 and ingredients in brand name foods change often. So please, prior to buying, glance at the ingredients to ensure there’s nothing harmful of that would impact you negatively.

I’ve listed all the items that I know of out there, and I’ve marked some of my favorites with some additional details for you in red.

Low FODMAP Brand Name Foods

Breads:

Cereal:

Snacks:

Baked Goods:

Dairy:

Did I miss something? Is something on the list that has a FODMAP ingredient? I have dome my research here, but I am definitely not perfect, so any feedback would be appreciated so I can provide the best information possible.

What are your favorite Low FODMAP Brand Name Foods?

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Low FODMAP Foods to Enjoy

I have a love/hate relationship with food. I love to eat it, but my body hates me later for it. It took me a long time to figure out what foods cause my IBS symptoms to flare up and what I can eat happily with no pain later. But luckily with the low FODMAP diet, it made things a little more clear on certain foods and why they impact me in a negative way.

Not everyone is going to react to foods in the same way, so please use the high FODMAP food list and the low FODMAP food list as you see fit. For your convenience, I have listed them below and provided a printer friendly version. This low FODMAP food list was updated in April 2014.

Low FODMAP Food List:

Low FODMAP Foods to Enjoy

Fruit

  • Banana (not Ripe)
  • Blueberry
  • Cantaloupe
  • Coconut
  • Clementine
  • Cranberry
  • Cranberry Juice
  • Dragonfruit
  • Durian
  • Grape
  • Grapefruit*
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwifruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mandarin
  • Orange
  • Passion Fruit
  • Pawpaw
  • Pineapple
  • Pomegranate
  • Raspberry
  • Rhubarb
  • Rockmelon
  • Star Anise
  • Strawberry
  • Tangelo

Vegetables

  • Alfalfa
  • Arugula
  • Bamboo Shoots
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Beets*
  • Bell Peppers
  • Bok Choy
  • Butternut Squash*
  • Carrot
  • Chives
  • Choko
  • Choy Sum
  • Corn*
  • Courgette
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Endive
  • Ginger
  • Green Beans
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Okra
  • Olives
  • Parsnip
  • Potato
  • Radish
  • Red Chili
  • Silver Beet
  • Spinach
  • Spring Onion (Green Part Only)
  • Squash
  • Swede
  • Sweet Corn*
  • Sweet Potato*
  • Taro
  • Tomato
  • Turnip
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Yam
  • Zucchini

Milk

  • Coconut Milk
  • Lactose Free Milk
  • Rice Milk

Cheese

  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Cheddar
  • Feta
  • Mozzarella
  • Parmesan
  • Swiss
  • Hard Cheeses

Yogurt

  • Lactose Free Yogurt

Grains

  • Arrowroot
  • Gluten Free Oats
  • Gluten Free Pasta
  • Millet
  • Polenta
  • Psyllium
  • Quinoa
  • Rice
  • Rice Bran
  • Sorgum
  • Tapioca

Protein

  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Lamb
  • Pork
  • Tofu

Nuts/Seeds

  • Chia Seeds*
  • Flax Seeds*
  • Hazelnuts*
  • Macadamia Nuts*
  • Peanuts*
  • Pecans*
  • Pine Nuts*
  • Pumpkin Seeds*
  • Sesame Seeds*
  • Sunflower Seeds*
  • Walnuts*

Sweeteners

  • Aspartame*
  • Glucose
  • Maple Syrup
  • Splenda*
  • Sucrose
  • Sugar
  • Treacle
  • Truvia

Alcohol

  • Beer
  • Gin
  • Vodka
  • Whisky
  • Wine: Red, White, Sparkling & Sweet

*Use in limited quantities.

For your convenience, here is a Printer Friendly Low FODMAP Food List (April 2014). I have also provided the following:

It’s extremely important to review the ingredients on any packaged foods prior to purchasing food. For example, while tomatoes are deemed safe, every tomato sauce on the market contains onions or garlic as an additive and many dressings, sauces, marinades, etc. are the same way. Also, manufacturers are always modifying their ingredients, so it’s important to review labels every time you purchase something.

If you’re looking for some quick items to buy and eat right away, please reference the Low FODMAP Brand Name Packaged Foods I have compiled. It’s ideal for the lazy in all of us! Also, I have provided my favorite low FODMAP items, which mirrors my weekly grocery list and tips on how to get flavor in your food, without the FODMAPs.

Please let me know if you think I may have missed anything on this list. Happy eating!

FODMAP Food List

The low FODMAP diet really helped ease my IBS symptoms of pain, bloating, gas and the occasional bout of diarrhea. The low FODMAP diet is designed to eliminate key IBS symptom triggers for a few weeks and slowly introduce them back into your diet to better understand what your body can handle and what you should continue to avoid.

When looking over the list of foods, it is initially very scary to see all the things that should be eliminated out of your diet. Many of the items are ingredients in commonly used products, such as salad dressings, pasta sauces and marinades, so it’s very important to read through all the ingredients when purchasing a product.

It’s also essential to know that new items are constantly being tested for FODMAPs, so the list is always changing as more is discovered. Beware of out-dated FODMAP lists that seem to be everywhere online. This high FODMAP list is based on all testing directly from Monash University and was updated in April 2014.

Below are the high FODMAP foods that should be avoided when on the diet. For your convenience, I have listed them below and provided printer friendly versions.

High FODMAP Food List (by Food Group):

High FODMAP Foods to Avoid by Food Group

Fruit

  • Apple
  • Apricot
  • Avocado
  • Banana (Ripe)
  • Blackberry
  • Boysenberry
  • Cherry
  • Dates
  • Longon
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  • Nashi
  • Nectarine
  • Peach
  • Pear
  • Persimmon
  • Plum
  • Prune
  • Tamarillo
  • Watermelon
  • Concentrated Fruit Sources
  • Dried Fruit
  • Fruit Juice
  • Tinned Fruit in Natural Juice

Vegetables

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Fennel
  • Garlic
  • Leek
  • Mushrooms
  • Onion (All)
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Shallots
  • Spring Onion (White Part)
  • Snow Peas
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • Sweet Corn

Dairy

  • Buttermilk
  • Cottage Cheese
  • Cow Milk
  • Cream
  • Cream Cheese
  • Custard
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Frozen Yogurt
  • Goat Milk
  • Ice Cream
  • Lactose
  • Margarine
  • Ricotta Cheese
  • Sheep Milk
  • Sherbet
  • Soft Unripe Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Yogurt

Legumes

  • Baked Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lentils
  • Soy Beans

Grains

  • Rye
  • Spelt
  • Wheat

Nuts & Seeds

  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Pistachios

Sweeteners

  • Fructose
  • High Fructose Corn Syrup
  • Fruisana
  • Honey
  • Isomalt
  • Maltitol
  • Mannitol
  • Molasses
  • Sorbitol
  • Xylitol

Misc

  • Camomile Tea
  • Chicory
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Dandelion
  • Fennel Tea
  • Instant Coffee
  • Inulin

Alcohol

  • Rum
  • Low Glycemic Index Wine
  • Sticky Wine

For your convenience, here is a Printer Friendly High FODMAP Food List (April 2014). I have also provided the following:

Like I said, it’s overwhelming to read through that list and see some of your favorite foods on the list. For me, I am not a great chef, so the realization that I would have to make all my own sauces, dressings, dips, etc. was a lot to handle.

So… what can you eat? I’ve also outlined a helpful list of low FODMAP foods that are deemed safe, as well as a Sample Meal Plan and Brand Name Packaged Foods to eat. Also, I have provided my favorite low FODMAP items, which mirrors my weekly grocery list.