If you’re following a low FODMAP diet, you probably want to make it as simple as you can — especially when it comes to cooking low FODMAP dishes. While you can find low FODMAP recipes in cookbooks and on websites, you can also swap the high FODMAP ingredients for low FODMAP alternatives in your favorite recipes.
Nothing else tastes quite like garlic. But both garlic and garlic powder are high in FODMAPs. To get the flavor without the FODMAPs, try using garlic-infused oil instead. You can infuse your own oil by heating some extra virgin oil with some whole, crushed garlic cloves. Then when you remove the chunks of garlic, you are also removing the FODMAPs. You can also do this with onion to add some onion flavor to your dishes. The infused oil will have the flavor of the garlic or onion, but without the FODMAPs.
Wheat flour — including regular white flour — is high in FODMAPs. But with all the gluten-free flour options these days, it’s possible to find a good low FODMAP alternative. Rice flour, oat flour, almond flour, and gluten-free flour blends are always an option.
Not every gluten-free flour is low in FODMAPs, so watch out for things like coconut flour. If you’re not sure, check with your practitioner or use your low FODMAP app. If you need resources — including a good low FODMAP app — check out my free IBS Resource Guide.
Milk contains lactose, a FODMAP sugar. But you can find lactose-free milk in just about any grocery store. Lactose-free milk can be used as a substitute in most recipes that call for milk. You can also use plant-based milks — such as almond milk or rice milk — which are naturally low in FODMAPs.
Love your dairy? There are a variety of lactose-free dairy options available including cottage cheese, sour cream, and ice cream. And remember, not all dairy is high in FODMAPs. Aged hard cheese like parmesan, swiss, and cheddar are low in FODMPAPs because the lactose is broken down during the aging process. Butter is a low FODMAP dairy product as well.
Honey is high in fructose, which is a FODMAP. Instead of honey, try using maple syrup or rice malt syrup. These sweeteners are low in FODMAPs and can be easily swapped into many recipes that call for honey.
Many sweeteners are low in FODMAPs (as long as you watch the portions) including white sugar, brown sugar, and raw sugar. Again, check in with your low FODMAP app to make sure you’re sticking to portion sizes. Even a low FODMAP food can turn into a high FODMAP food if you eat too much of it.
Regular pasta is made from wheat flour, which is high in FODMAPs. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have pasta in your life. There are many gluten-free pasta options available, including pasta made from rice, corn, or quinoa. These varieties are low in FODMAPs and can be used in any recipe that calls for regular pasta. Just make sure to follow the cooking instructions on the package. Gluten-free pasta can get gummy and fall apart if you cook it too long.
Fruit can be a little tricky on the low FODMAP diet. Many fruits contain fructose, which is a FODMAP. High FODMAP fruits include apples, plums, peaches, mango, and more. But there are fruits you can have. Low FODMAP fruits like cantaloupe, kiwi fruit (green), mandarin, orange, pineapple, strawberries, and blueberries can be substituted in for higher FODMAP fruits. No, you can’t always do this in a recipe. But it is possible to eat fruit on a low FODMAP diet.
Some recipes just need that oniony flavor. I get it. But onions (and onion powder) are high in FODMAPs. You can still add some onion flavor to your recipes though. You can make onion oil (from tip #1). Or you can use low FODMAP onion alternatives like chives, scallions, and leeks. If you opt for scallions or leeks, just make sure to use only the green parts. The white part (bulb) is high in FODMAPs.
Sweet potatoes can get you in trouble in the FODMAP department. But you can substitute white potatoes or carrots in recipes that call for sweet potatoes. Obviously which one you choose will depend on the recipe. But if the recipe calls for a mashed or baked sweet potato, then switching out to a white potato is pretty simple. If your recipe calls for chunks of sweet potato to roast (and you really want a sweet flavor), carrots are a good substitute. Many veggies get sweeter when you roast them, including carrots.
The first few days on the low FODMAP diet can be pretty overwhelming. There’s a lot to track, measure, and count. And nutrition labels don’t provide information on FODMAPs, so you have to rely on a separate resource to figure out what you can and can’t eat.
But it does get easier. Once you’ve looked up common foods a few times, you’ll start to remember. And you’ll find your low FODMAP go-to foods and recipes that can get you by on those days when life is getting the best of you.
If you’re new to the low FODMAP diet, I recommend using recipes specifically designed for the low FODMAP diet. But as you get the hang of things, you can use these tips to convert your favorite recipes into dishes that you can eat worry-free.
And again… Please don’t go it alone on the low FODMAP diet, even if you’ve been diagnosed with IBS. This therapeutic diet will help you feel better, but it does more than that. An experienced practitioner can use this diet to identify which foods you can safely eat long-term. The low FODMAP diet is intended for temporary use and is not safe to stay on continually.
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