Many people struggle to eat enough when attempting a low FODMAP diet on their own. There are several reasons for this.
Some examples are:
• Over-restricting food intake for fear of eating foods that may trigger symptoms.
• Having high calorie needs due to size – bigger people need more calories.
• Having a high-energy expenditure due to physical activity – athletes, people who engage in vigorous recreational activities, and those who have a physically demanding job need more calories.
Seeking the help of a registered dietitian trained in the Low FODMAP Diet is ideal if you struggle with eating enough.
The good news is that there are many foods that are low FODMAP that one can eat to ensure that they are eating enough to meet their daily caloric needs. Here are a few tips:
1. Eat Regular Meals and Snacks.
Don’t skip meals! Make all meals count by choosing foods that pack more calories for their volume. If you miss a meal or snack, you may be hungrier at the next meal and consume too many FODMAPs, which may lead to bloating or other GI symptoms. Think of snacks as “mini- meals” rather than opting for processed foods like chips or bars. This is especially important if you do a lot of physical activity. Plan some pre-and post-work out snacks. Some examples are:
• Brown rice cakes with peanut butter
• Lactose-free yogurt with low FODMAP fruit
2. Eat larger portions of protein-rich foods.
Unless you have a health issue that requires you to limit your protein intake (for example, kidney disease), you can eat bigger portions of high-protein foods (beef, pork, chicken, fish/seafood and eggs, tofu or tempeh). If you’re an avid exerciser, are training for an event (such as a marathon or century ride) or do a lot of strength training, you may need some additional protein to repair and rebuild your muscles. Try some of Epicured’s high-protein entrees such as the Moroccan Tajine with Chicken (or Lamb or Tofu) or the Tofu Tikka Masala.
3. Add fat and high-fat foods to your diet.
Fats and oils are FODMAP-free and have 9 kilocalories per gram compared to carbohydrates and proteins, which have 4 kilocalories per gram. This means you get more “calorie bang for your food bucks.” Use moderate amounts of oil or butter to cook and flavor your food. It’s true that high-fat meals may trigger symptoms in some people. But there’s a difference between eating deep-fried foods or fast foods (such as a burger topped with cheese and a side of French fries) and using modest amounts of oil to flavor your food.
Don’t forget to include some low-FODMAP servings or high-fat foods:
• Nuts and nut butters – most nuts (except cashews and pistachios) and peanut or almond butter
• Cheese – some types are virtually lactose-free: think aged cheeses like parmesan, cheddar, brie, and others.
4. Eat larger portions of low-FODMAP grains, and starches.
Rice, millet, and quinoa make great low FODMAP side dishes to any meal. Potatoes (yellow or red, not the sweet varieties) are virtually FODMAP-free. You can roast them or make a potato salad. Enjoy corn tortillas for tacos or fajitas. Try Epicured Herbed Quinoa or Rosemary Whipped Potatoes.
About the Author
Antonella Dewell is a registered dietitian nutritionist (MS, RDN) living in Santa Cruz, California. She is passionate about helping people with IBS free themselves from their symptoms so they can enjoy a variety of healthy foods, and improve their quality of life.
She has specialized in the low FODMAP diet for IBS and trained with Monash University. She has a private practice and sees people virtually around the US. As a trained chef and food lover, she enjoys creating delicious low FODMAP recipes, which she occasionally shares in her blog, The Low FODMAP Insider. You can find out more about her and contact her at https://www.antonelladewell.com.