Meal planning can make your life easier… but only if you do it.
I get it. Meal planning can be daunting. It can feel so all-or-nothing. But it doesn’t have to be. This month we’ve been talking about meal planning tips and secrets that will help you get healthy meals on the table without having to stare blankly into your fridge or make 20 trips to the store.
If you’re on a restrictive diet, meal planning can be a total game-changer. Maybe you’ve got food sensitivities. Or maybe you’re working on improving SIBO or IBS. You might be on a low FODMAP diet or avoiding nightshades.
Therapeutic diets can feel restrictive and frustrating without a plan. And spontaneous eating really doesn’t work. So this week I’m going to share some fantastic resources that will help make your meal planning life easier and help you stick to your plan.
For this article, we’re going to focus on meal planning with the low FODMAP diet. But if you’re on a different therapeutic diet or have lots of food sensitivities, you can apply these concepts to other eating styles. Sometimes it just takes a quick Google search and some critical thinking to find the right meal planning and recipe sites for you.
I work with a lot of IBS patients. And many of them benefit from going through the low FODMAP diet protocol. But eating low FODMAP can be tricky. There are FODMAPs hiding in lots of different foods.
So if you can find a source for low FODMAP recipes, it can make your life much easier. You can google “low FODMAP recipes” or check out some of these sites:
Monash is a trusted name in the low FODMAP world. I’m such a big fan of their app that I included it in my IBS Resource Guide.
This site has recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and even dessert. You can use the index, browse by category, or utilize the search function.
This site features a wide variety of recipes for every meal — including vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free options. You can search for recipes by meal, dietary restriction, or even main ingredient. But the best feature of this website? You can search based on specific FODMAPs.
Part of the challenge of the low FODMAP diet is that not everyone needs the exact same version. We are all different and our bodies react differently to food. So when you’re working with your practitioner on the reintroduction phase of the low FODMAP diet, you’ll discover that some FODMAPs work better for you than others. And there may be some that you need to continue to avoid.
This website gives you the option to search for recipes that omit the specific FODMAPs that you don’t tolerate.
This is another brand you’ll find in my free IBS Resource Guide. You may have seen Fody Foods products at your local store, or you may have ordered them online. I love recommending these products to my patients who are restricting FODMAPs. It’s nice to be able to grab a jar out of the fridge to add flavor to your meal and not worry about whether or not you can eat it.
The Fody Foods website also features recipes. These recipes are indexed based on meal and main ingredient. You can find vegetarian and even slow cooker options. These recipes feature Fody Foods ingredients so you’ll want to make sure you have the right ones on hand.
Taking a little help from a prepared ingredient can save you time in the kitchen!
The sites I referenced above are pretty mainstream. And they are very likely to be reliably low FODMAP. But those aren’t the only ones. When I googled “low FODMAP recipe blogs” I got 498,000 results.
In all that, you are likely to find someone who creates recipes with foods you can eat in an eating style you enjoy. That being said, I do recommend you approach these blogs with a bit of caution. Not everyone who claims to have a low FODMAP blog fully understands the nuances of the low FODMAP diet.
❔ Where did this blog appear on the google search?
The further up the search, the more credible a site is (in general). It’s in Google’s best interest to provide you search results that are going to solve your problem. So the higher a site shows up in a search, the more credible it is. The top search results will usually have valuable content and lots of visitors. This doesn’t guarantee that a site is reputable. But it’s something to consider.
❔ Does the author have any credentials?
It’s certainly possible for someone to create a fantastic blog with genuinely low FODMAP recipes without a certification or license in nutrition or related field. But if you see that the blog author has relevant certifications in dietetics, nutrition, or functional medicine, they are more likely to know what they’re talking about. You can usually find this info on the ‘About’ page.
❔ Do the recipes look legit?
Once you’ve found a blog that looks like it’s worth your time, spend a few minutes looking at the recipes. You want to make sure that:
☑ The ingredients match the instructions.
☑ It reads like something you’d find in a cookbook.
☑ You don’t see any questionable ingredients.
Some people like choosing their meals based on what sounds good, or what they have on hand, or even by what’s on sale at the store. If this appeals to you, or you enjoy thumbing through cookbooks and recipe sites to plan your meals, then you probably won’t be interested in prefab meal plans.
But if you don’t want to mess with making meal-planning decisions and want a totally done-for-you option, meal plans might be a great choice for you.
Part of my goal as a practitioner is to make dietary changes easy for my clients. Let’s face it. If you’re overwhelmed by changes, you’re not going to make them. So when I work with clients, I provide personalized, customizable, and easy-to-prepare meal plans.
But if you aren’t working with a practitioner who does that work for you, there are free online resources you can check out.
Some recipe creators and practitioners will go beyond just the recipes. And as a result, it’s possible to find a full week of meals already planned out for you — and many of them come with a grocery list you can just grab and take to the store. A quick search for “low FODMAP meal plans” will give you lots to choose from.
Monash (one of the recipe sites I listed above) has a sample meal plan that can get you started. You can also find meal plans at many other sites and recipe blogs. Just remember to look with a critical eye to make sure the meal plans reliably match your eating style.
The low FODMAP diet is not for everyone. This is an eating plan that can be quite effective at managing the symptoms of IBS. But this is more than just a trendy eating style. This therapeutic diet needs to be supervised by a qualified practitioner.
FODMAPs are a family of carbohydrates that provide important nutrients your body needs. So going on the low FODMAP diet on your own can lead to nutritional deficiencies down the road. But when you work with a practitioner, they will walk you through the three stages of this therapeutic diet so you can come out on the other side feeling your best AND knowing exactly which foods (and how much of them) you can eat.
If you’re ready to dig deep and get to the bottom of your digestive symptoms, let’s talk. I’ve spent my career helping people just like you overcome their stomach issues and get back to living.