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Balanced Low FODMAP Diet

In order to avoid FODMAP triggers and IBS reactions, a Low FODMAP Diet does place restrictions on specific foods consumed. Altering the diet in this way can bring about a risk of nutritional compromise. Working alongside a credentialed FODMAP nutrition expert can help ensure a customized diet to minimize this risk.

Balanced Nutrition on the Low FODMAP Diet

Which nutrients are most at risk? How can this risk be lessened?

  • Fiber – Natural sources of fiber may be limited in this diet because the dietary sources such as fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds, are also sources of FODMAPs.
    • Careful food re-challenge with the guidance of a FODMAP dietitian expert can help identify the most common triggers in your diet.
    • Low FODMAP fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, nuts and seeds (such as chia seeds, sunflower seeds) are plentiful and should be included in the diet, as tolerated.
  • Calcium and Vitamin D – As milk and milk-based dairy foods are commonly restricted on the Low FODMAP Diet, sources of calcium and vitamin D are limited.
    • Low FODMAP sources of dairy and calcium-fortified non-dairy include lactose free milk, calcium-fortified almond milk as well as leafy green vegetables and should be included in the meal plan, as tolerated.
    • Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and sardines are great sources of vitamin D.
    • Calcium and vitamin D supplements may also be warranted.
  • Protein -- Adequate protein may be especially important for vegetarians and vegans to obtain as their FODMAP restrictions may likely include dairy, beans, nuts and seeds, which largely make up their dietary protein options.
    • Low FODMAP sources of protein include eggs, nut butters, tempeh and tofu, nuts and seeds, rice protein powders, as tolerated.
    • For non-vegetarians, additional protein sources include fish, chicken, beef, pork and lamb.
    • A Low FODMAP nutrition expert can provide recommendations for additional dietary supplementation or alternative options, as needed.

Shopping, Reading Labels & Dining Out

Planning ahead is key to living comfortably within a restrictive eating plan. With proper education and helpful tools, even a Low FODMAP Diet can be made easier, and help keep symptoms at bay. Some basic guidance is listed below – and prepared in a printable version – so guidance is always at your fingertips.

Grocery Shopping

Learning the ins and outs of low FODMAP foods is critical. Here are some tips to get familiar with them.

  • Keep low FODMAP Grocery lists handy until individual triggers are clearly identified.
  • Download and use the Monash University Low FODMAP Diet™ Smart Phone App, which invites the user to enter their individual dietary restrictions. With this information, the App then provides a customized red/yellow/green traffic light system for all of the foods in their extensive database.
  • Explore low FODMAP menu ideas and recipes click here.
  • Meal Plan Example - Need coooking for ideas on how to get started? This sample meal plan comes courtesy of Kate Scarlata, RDN, LDN, emphasizing healthful ingredients and great taste. This sample meal plan can be printed as well by clicking here.
  • Breakfast
    • Egg omelet filled with baby spinach, red pepper and cheddar cheese. Enjoy with an orange.
    • Stuffed Baked Potato: Carefully scoop out hot potato filling from one large baked potato. Mix with 1 tablespoon lactose free milk and 2 teaspoons butter. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, mash to blend and place back in hot potato. Top with sautéed red peppers and chopped chives.
    • Banana slices with spoonful of almond butter or peanut butter and sprinkle of semi-sweet chocolate chips.
    • Lean piece of grilled steak (London broil or Flank), Bibb lettuce salad with grated carrots, cherry tomatoes and orange pepper slices with red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing and side of roasted potatoes.
    • Vanilla lactose free yogurt with blueberries and 1 tablespoon chia seeds.
  • Additional recipes and menu ideas can be found within this site and at the following resources:

Reading Labels

  • Become an avid ingredient label reader; scan for FODMAPs among ingredients compare with low FODMAP lists for high FODMAP ingredients and additives.
  • Read labels for all prepared items. For example, check for common high FODMAP ingredients such as high fructose corn syrup, fructose, honey, mushrooms, garlic, onion, chicory or chicory root (inulin), wheat, rye, barley, polydextrose, fructooligosaccharides, non-fat milk, cream, sorbitol, mannitol.

Dining Out

This might seem daunting to the person on a restrictive diet, but it can be done, and everyone deserves to enjoy getting a night off from cooking at home.

Here are a few tips that will help ease menu selections and the anxiety of eating at a restaurant.

  • Find a restaurant that works:
    • Communicate with your server that you have important dietary restrictions
    • Review the menu in advance
    • Diners/Pancake Houses always serve eggs and omelets are easily customized
    • Asian-style menus offer many rice-based dishes
    • Steak house-style restaurants offer basics (meat, starch, vegetable) and are often willing to make exceptions
    • Sushi is generally a safe bet, though take caution with excess avocado
  • Stick with safe themes:
    • Omelets (watch for added onions, garlic or mushrooms)
    • Grilled meat, fish, poultry
    • Meat, vegetable, potato
    • Salads that can be customized, dressings kept simple
    • Gluten-free menu options, as this will remove wheat (but watch out for other high FODMAP ingredients)
  • Take caution with hidden ingredients – ask a server/chef to clarify:
    • Sauces and dressings often have onion and garlic
    • Soups, risotto, Mexican-style dishes may have cream or sour cream
    • Soups may contain beans, noodles, onion, garlic or mushrooms
    • Ground meat may be prepared with garlic and onions
What Are FODMAPs?