Do you need some new ideas for low FODMAP snacks? Not sure what is safe for you to eat, let alone healthy and tasty? I have some new ideas for you to take on the road as well as to enjoy at home. If you are limited by what foods you can eat without IBS symptoms, having some fresh ideas and portable snacks from a registered dietitian can be fun.
What in the world are FODMAPs and why do they limit your snack options?
FODMAP is an acronym for a group of carbohydrates that are poorly digested and cause IBS symptoms for some people. FODMAP stands for fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. Lactose is a disaccharide.
If you drink a glass of milk or have a big bowl of ice-cream, do you get gassy and uncomfortable later? You may be having a reaction to the lactose – the sugar that occurs naturally in dairy – and one example of a FODMAP. Lactose intolerance is really common. What is less common is the knowledge that lactose is a FODMAP.
If you are part of the 1 in 7 adults who have IBS, your body might not be properly digesting and absorbing these carbohydrates where they should be, in your small intestine. Instead, they travel along to your large intestine and become snacks to the bacteria in your colon. The bacteria release gasses as they digest the FODMAPs. The FODMAPs also attract water and cause you to really not feel good. Hello: gas, diarrhea, constipation and belly pain!
Folks with IBS may be triggered by one, two or all of the FODMAPs. It takes a structured elimination eating plan to be able to tell what you can and can’t tolerate. Unlike allergies, where even a tiny bit of a problem food can be dangerous or deadly, you may be able to tolerate small amounts of foods that contain FODMAPs. Working with a registered dietitian can help you to navigate the fine print.
And since following a low FODMAP eating plan for a period of time can be quite restrictive, it can really limit your options as you’re out and about. Having good snack options packed, and knowing what you can safely buy, before your hunger level and mood is in the red, can make a world of difference.
Following a low FODMAP plan is not forever; it helps you to understand exactly what your body tolerates best. But while moving through it, having snack options ready helps the process to go more smoothly.
Snacking Guidelines for low FODMAP
What’s a healthy snack? There are a lot of “right” ways to snack. Some people feel better having fewer, larger meals. Some folks feel best when they eat smaller meals, more often – that’s me! Working with a registered dietitian is helpful to find what is the best eating plan to match your hunger levels and energy needs.
Less healthy is constant mindless eating: regularly using food for entertainment and to soothe feelings of stress, anxiety or sadness. Grazing 24/7 isn’t a good fit for most of us.
When it is time for a snack, most of us feel best when we have a mixture of food groups to have even, sustained energy. For example, grapes might be delicious, but you’ll be satisfied a bit longer if you pair that with a handful of nuts or seeds.
Note: your brain can easily confuse being dehydrated and hungry. You’re going to feel your best when you’re properly fueled and hydrated, throughout the day.
Low FODMAP snacks: start with a fruit or vegetable
Only 1 in 10 American adults get enough fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Having fruits and veggies at snack time is a great way to boost your intake. Unfortunately, many fruits and vegetables are sources of FODMAPs.
Here are a few low-FODMAP fruits and veggies.
Low FODMAP vegetables
Low FODMAP fruits
A lot of us feel strapped for time. The way to stick with healthier eating habits is to make that choice the easy choice.
For example, a lot of fruits and vegetables store well for a few days once they’re cut up. And, we tend to eat more fruits and veggies when they are cut up. Most of us don’t feel like we have the time or energy to spend a lot of time slicing and dicing produce each day. Instead, you can store cut fruits and veggies in a container in your fridge for when you’re snacking at home. If you’re snacking on the go, you can pack your snacks in plastic bags.
Low FODMAP snacks to pack and go
Sometimes we work long days out of the house. Or we might just have a lot of errands to run or an appointment took forever. No matter what the calendar promises, it is always a great idea to have some non-perishable snacks and/or sturdy produce that won’t be bruised by a bit of jostling in your purse, backpack or briefcase.
Here are a few options to pack:
● Pepitas (the green pumpkin seeds)
● Sunflower seeds
Low FODMAP snack combos for at home
Having snacks at home leaves room for a bit more effort and fewer worries about messes. Here are a few combos that you might like. Notice how each snack includes protein, fat and carbohydrates for a satisfying snack. Plus, most suggested combos have a fruit or veggie.
● Cheddar cheese and rice crackers with baby carrots
● Antipasta skewer: use a small wooden skewer and spear a cherry tomato, pepperoncini, olive, small mozzarella ball, a small slice of prosciutto and a basil leaf
● Loaded banana: half a banana, spread peanut butter and top with a combination of coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, raisins or sunflower seeds
● Strawberries and a dark chocolate square
● Gluten-free pretzels and peanut butter
● Hard-boiled eggs and clementines
● Corn chips with homemade (onion-free) salsa
Low FODMAP tools
The most important tool is knowledge – having the right tools to make informed decisions, even on the go, can go a long way in preventing an accidental trigger.
The Monash Low FODMAP App
Monash University is known for their research to help those struggling with IBS (an estimated 1 in 7 adults) to make more informed decisions.
The Monash Low FODMAP diet app is available for download on your smartphone.
Work with a Registered Dietitian
As a registered dietitian, I am here to help you find what foods help you to feel the best, on the go and at home. If you have had trouble finding the right foods to suit your belly and lifestyle, I’m here to help!