FODMAP proofing your pantry
Getting started on the Low FODMAP diet can be daunting. Setting yourself up properly and preparing yourself for this diet makes it less stressful and easier to manage. It also helps to be organised on days when you find you are really hungry and don’t know what to eat.
6 Tips to FODMAP Proof your pantry:
Tip 1: Get prepared
Give yourself a few days to a week to prepare properly. There is no rush to start. Download the Monash University FODMAP diet app and read all of the information provided to you by your Dietitian and take the time to organise your Low FODMAP journey.
Tip 2: Make space
Next, create a space in the fridge and the pantry for you to place Low FODMAP foods. This will make it easier for you to reach for a sweet treat when you want it that is also Low FODMAP. Afterall, everyone needs a treat and there’s no reason to suffer for it too. If you are lured by any foods that are high FODMAP, either put them in a space you can’t see them or reduce the occurrence of them being present inside the home. It’s perfectly ok for the whole family to use Low FODMAP tomato sauce or other communal foods.
*Helpful tip: re-use your Lo-Fo pantry easy-seal containers to store all your favourite Low FODMAP staples and snacks. This is a great way to keep open products fresh, and easily identify which foods in the pantry you have already cleared to be Low FODMAP.
Tip 3: Plan some meals and snacks
Start by writing a list of meals and snacks you enjoy and highlight the ones that are high FODMAP by using the Monash University FODMAP diet app and the information from your dietitian. Then look at Low FODMAP comparisons to replace these with. This is also where a Facebook group like Low FODMAP Australia can assist you with products and ideas or you can speak to your Dietitian about easy swaps that you can make during the transition.
Tip 4: Learn to modify your favourite meals
Try not over complicate meals. Many people commencing a restrictive diet often think straight away about preparing meals separate to their family. It can feel socially isolating to eat separate meals to the family every night and is usually unnecessary. Look at your favourite recipes, highlight the high FODMAP ingredients and swap them for Low FODMAP alternatives e.g. swap garlic for garlic infused oil or flour for Lo-Fo Pantry Low FODMAP flour. At your dietitian appointment, bring up your families favourite meals so your Dietitian can help you modify these recipes. If the rest of the family are eating like usual during the day, making the main part of dinner Low FODMAP (with higher FODMAP sides if necessary) is usually fine for everyone and can save you from cooking multiple meals. Who knows, they may get some new favourites!
Tip 5: Meal prep
Let’s face it, we might not have the time to prepare a new meal each night of the week. Meal prep is always a genius time saver. Put a few hours aside on the weekend and make 1-3 meals. Freeze them and have them ready to reheat during the week when you are either lacking the energy or the time to prepare a meal from scratch. If you don’t have time to put aside on the weekends, you can purchase pre-prepared meals that do Low FODMAP options. These meals are becoming increasingly popular across a range of food companies. Having a Low FODMAP section in your freezer makes it easier to reach for a quick meal.
Tip 6: Eat out occasionally
Most people may turn to convenience foods as a means of being time poor or lacking energy after a big working day. Have a list of places, you can either order takeout from (or to dine in) so that when the family want to head out for dinner, you are prepared. Choosing meals outside of the home that are Low FODMAP can be difficult as there are a lot of factors to consider. To put it simply, choose meals that you can separate i.e. A piece of meat / fish /tofu served with chips and salad. Sauces are usually served to the side which allows you to avoid them. Whereas marinated foods and meals that are sauce based makes it hard to know exactly what’s inside. Onion and garlic are usually hidden in a lot of meals, so it is best to order meals where you can see exactly what is on them. It’s also good to know that FODMAPs may cause symptoms, but they don’t cause damage, meaning that it’s not a game of perfect. If you do accidently eat something high FODMAP, just take some time for self-care and then pick up where you left off. It won’t undo all of your hard work.
All in all, being well prepared and having things in place will make the Low FODMAP process easier to navigate and less stressful. Setting aside time to meal prep and allocating pantry and fridge space will make all the difference.