People with digestive conditions like IBS, Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis may suffer from FODMAP intolerance. This can make shopping and meal prep a bit more challenging, but not impossible! However, you can learn what to avoid with some effort, so your stomach doesn’t have to suffer, as you develop a low-FODMAP meal plan that will ease your symptoms and discomfort.
Suppose you are having trouble digesting certain carbohydrates or sugars. In that case, it may be because you are intolerant to one or more FODMAPs (Fermentable Oligo-Di-Monosaccharides and Polyols). These foods are rich in fermentable carbohydrates that can cause a lot of gas, bloating and stomach cramps and other issues like nausea, lack of appetite, diarrhea and constipation.
In this article, we will be going over 10 common high-FODMAP foods and some low-FODMAP alternatives. By avoiding these foods for a while, you can help your body heal and feel better again.
The science behind FODMAP intolerance is still very new, so some foods are not yet fully mapped out. Fortunately, loads of research on the topic is being done at Monash University where they are leading the way in the FODMAP diet. However, we hope this list will give you some ideas for healthy food substitutes!
Ten High-FODMAP Foods to Avoid and What to Eat Instead
1) Onions: Onions are a popular ingredient in many cooking dishes and recipes, but they are high in fructans, a FODMAP carbohydrate that people with IBS or other digestive issues may have trouble digesting. You’ll need to stay away from yellow and white onions, shallots and the white bulbs of green onions.
However, if you’re a fan of the onion flavor, you can still get it with the green tops of green onions or chives.
2) Garlic: Garlic imparts a lot of flavors and is an excellent seasoning in cooking. However, garlic is also high in fructans, so it’s best to avoid it as well.
Instead, you may want to try some Asian (garlic) chives for your recipes, as they will add a similar taste without the digestive issues!
3) Celery: A great addition to soups and a popular fixture on many veggie platters, celery is something you should avoid. This means avoiding it in your cooking whenever possible, as well as not eating stalks of celery on their own or with dip.
Instead, why not try using red bell pepper? Not only is it a low-FODMAP veggie, but it will have a similar crunch to celery when eaten raw and carries a sweet flavor that actually makes it a tastier alternative, as well.
4) Apples: If you’re developing an IBS meal plan, you’ll definitely want to stay away from apples. That’s because apples have a high concentration of fructose, a type of FODMAP carbohydrate that can trigger digestive issues.
Instead, you can use pineapple or honeydew melon as an apple substitute. They’re less common than apples, so most will find these are delicious, sweet treats that are still healthy.
5) Cherries: A common ingredient in many desserts, cherries are on the high side of FODMAPs. They mainly contain fructose, which can cause symptoms like cramping and bloating for those who are sensitive.
Instead, try some fresh berries. Strawberries make an excellent low-FODMAP substitute for cherries in most dishes (including pie), as do raspberries and blueberries.
6) Wheat: When it comes to wheat on its own, it actually isn’t overly high in FODMAPs. The issue comes with how much wheat the average person consumes these days. That’s why it’s best to be conscious of your wheat consumption and, if you know you have a sensitivity, try to cut it out as much as possible.
Instead of wheat-based products, why not use ones that are made from quinoa or rice? Both are low in FODMAPs and carry many vitamins and minerals that you can still benefit from. They’re also commonly made into bread, pasta and used in products like low-FODMAP cereals.
7) Beans/Lentils: This is a pretty big category and includes many options that are generally staples in a vegan or vegetarian diet. Beans and lentils are high in FODMAPs, so they’ll need to be replaced with low-FODMAP alternatives if you’re looking for healthy recipes.
Tofu is a perfect low-FODMAP sub for those seeking a vegan-friendly alternative to beans and lentils. At the same time, eggs can also be added for lacto-ovo vegetarians.
8) Milk (Cow, Goat and Sheep): It’s not just lactose intolerance that has people looking for low-FODMAP foods, but also the casein found in milk. Casein is a protein that also requires the body to expend extra energy to digest it, leading to digestive discomfort and other symptoms like fatigue and sluggishness.
Instead of cow’s milk (or goat or sheep), why not try nut milk? Almond milk and coconut milk are both low in FODMAPs and can be used for cooking and baking as a replacement.
9) Oat Milk: One of the most popular dairy alternatives these days, oat milk is unfortunately very high in FODMAPs. Not only does it contain lactose, but where oats themselves are high in fructans (like wheat), they also have a robust flavor that doesn’t always go over well with consumers.
Instead of oat milk, why not try hemp or soy milk instead? Hemp has the added benefit of being high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. It also still has a nutty flavor, but it is milder than that of oat milk. And, of course, almond and coconut milk are other options as well.
10) Honey: A popular sweetener, honey is also high in fructose. It’s definitely not a good choice for those particularly sensitive to FODMAPs. It can result in cramping, bloating, gas and other digestive problems.
So, ditch the honey and try maple syrup. Maple syrup has a very similar flavor to honey and will work as a sweetener in most recipes. Maple syrup also contains fewer calories per teaspoon!
Stay Diligent, But Ask for Help
The foods we mentioned here are not an exhaustive high-FODMAP rundown, but they are most common. Although with this list of common high-FODMAP foods you can avoid and ingredients to swap them for, you can still eat healthy without sacrificing your wellness. Suppose you’re finding this tough and having a hard time. In that case, you may also want to reach out to qualified dietitians and make use of low-FODMAP meal delivery services. This way, you’ll get the help you need when you need it and keep on track.
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