What CAN you eat on a Low FODMAP Diet
So, you’ve just started a Low FODMAP diet and you’re completely overwhelmed with random lists of what not to eat that don’t seem to have any logic. Argh! It may feel like life as you know it is over, but sit down, make a cup of tea with lactose free milk (yes, that is Low FODMAP) and read on about what you CAN eat on a Low FODMAP diet.
Always thinking about what you’re missing out on can get really miserable, so we don’t want to keep referencing things to ‘avoid’ and ‘cut out’ of your diet, instead let’s put a more positive spin and talk about great ways to nourish your body and your soul.
1. It’s a ‘Low’ FODMAP diet, not a ‘no’ FODMAP diet
FODMAP is all about serve size. Lots of foods actually have a Low FODMAP serving size, so use the Monash FODMAP app to check this out. For example, 1 slice of wheat bread is Low FODMAP, but two slices is high. This means you can still eat some of your favourite foods in smaller serve sizes.
2. Get some exciting ways to add flavour without onion or garlic
Flavour, flavour, flavour! This is so important to enjoyment and satisfaction. It’s good to know that herbs and spices are almost all Low FODMAP.
The things you CAN add to your cooking whilst staying Low FODMAP include:
- Fresh and dried herbs & spices
- Green part of leek or spring onion
- Onion & garlic infused oils
- 1-2Tbsp of soy sauce, oyster sauce, fish sauce, mustard, peanut butter, almond butter or tahini
- Small serves avocado e.g. 1-2 Tbsp
3. You still need some sweet treats and desserts.
Food isn’t just about nutrition, it’s about enjoyment, pleasure, connecting with friends and family, celebrations, comfort and more. Your relationship with food is just as important to your mental health as nutrition is to your physical health. More importantly, you shouldn’t have to suffer for enjoying a sweet treat. Chocolate and lactose free ice cream both have Low FODMAP serves. Or better yet, get some Lo-Fo Pantry Plain Flour and head over to the recipe section here and start baking up some delicious cakes, biscuits and slices!
4. You can still eat gluten!
It’s one of the most misunderstood myths that Low FODMAP is gluten free. Gluten is a protein in wheat, barley, rye and oats while FODMAPs are types of carbohydrates in wheat (and other foods). This means that people can reintroduce gluten on a Low FODMAP diet, with no increase in symptoms. You can read more about that here at Everyday Nutrition. The Lo-Fo Pantry baking range and small serves of wheat pasta or sourdough bread are Low FODMAP while still including gluten.
5. Look after your nutrition
Coming from a balanced diet point of view, think structure across the 5 food groups. What are you currently eating that is high FODMAP? What foods from the same food groups can you replace these with. There are some great swaps to make rather than cutting something out. For example, cashews are high FODMAP but rather than thinking of having to cut them out, we can just swap them to walnuts which are Low FODMAP. This approach will make the Low FODMAP diet much more enjoyable and easier to stick to.
Let’s look at each food group and see what we CAN eat on the Low FODMAP diet:
- Fruit: bananas (firm), berries, cantaloupe, citrus, grapes, kiwifruit and pineapple.
- Vegetables: broccoli, carrots, capsicum, potato, eggplant, lettuce, spinach and tomato.
- Protein: Foods that do not contain carbohydrates are naturally Low FODMAP just watch out for flavours or marinades
- Plain meat, chicken, fish & eggs
- Ham, salami, bacon, tinned fish, sushi (check flavours/spices)
- Firm tofu (check flavours/spices)
- Canned, drained and rinsed lentils/chick peas/butter beans. FODMAPs are water soluble, so they leach into the water in the can. Just drain rinse and check the Monash University FODMAP diet app for serves sizes.
- Nuts (1-2 handfuls), peanut butter
- ‘Lactose free’ milk, yoghurt and ice cream
- Regular butter and hard cheese do not contain carbohydrates, so a naturally Low FODMAP
- Soy milk and ice cream (if made with soy protein)
- Rice & almond milk (choose calcium fortified brand)
- Breads and cereals
- Sourdough bread, FODMAP certified bread, gluten free bread
- Rice, rice noodles, rice and corn based pasta, quinoa, polenta, buckwheat
- Corn flakes, rice bubbles, oats, gluten free weet-bix
- Lo-Fo Pantry Plain Flour
The gastrointestinal symptoms that are associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) are usually associated with food which often leads people to restrict things from their diet it a hope to find relief. Often so many foods are restricted that people feel they aren’t left with much and put themselves at risk of nutritional deficiencies. This is where dietitians come in! Seeing a dietitian that is trained in food intolerances is a great first step to take before cutting out food from your diet. Doing a Low FODMAP diet with a dietitian, will help decrease your stress and ensure you achieve balance which will help lead to better results.
Finally, keep in mind that the Low FODMAP diet is not intended to last forever. It’s a three-step process that is designed to help you identify what foods are involved in your symptoms and what foods aren’t. So not forget to keep moving through the phases rather than staying on the elimination step for too long.