Sticking with your low FODMAP diet is a challenge. There’s a lot to think about and keep track of. But if you’re also responsible for feeding a family, things get really crazy.
I don’t recommend feeding your family exclusively low FODMAP foods because they will miss out on nutrients. The low FODMAP diet is a therapeutic approach with pros and cons. If you are working with a practitioner to mitigate your IBS symptoms, it can be a great tool. But because FODMAPs provide fiber and nutrients your body needs, it’s not without its downside.
I find that the low FODMAP diet is worth the challenges that come with it for my IBS patients. But I don’t recommend that anyone go on it if they don’t need it.
If you’re on a low FODMAP diet, but you’re also responsible for cooking for a partner and/or kids, you may find yourself feeling like a short order cook. Or at the very least, eating different food than you feed everyone else.
And that’s a recipe for throwing in the towel on your therapeutic diet, or at least feeling sad and left out at mealtime.
So this week we’re going to go over some totally do-able strategies that will make it easier for you to feed your family + stick to your low FODMAP diet + cut down on your planning, prepping, and cooking time.
Cooking Low FODMAP With a Family Tip #1: Start with a low FODMAP recipe base.
The good news with the low FODMAP diet is that meats are all allowed — provided they aren’t processed. So you can start your dinner with a protein-rich base like chicken, beef, pork, or seafood. If you’re a vegetarian, stick with proteins like tofu, lactose-free dairy, and eggs. The trick is being careful not to add FODMAPs when you cook it.
Watch out for things like:
❌ Garlic and onion in all their forms (including in spices and spice blends)
❌ Packaged or bottled sauces and add-ins that include FODMAPs
❌ Using wheat flour as a breading or thickener for gravies and sauces.
Once you’ve got your low FODMAP protein, you can build your low FODMAP plate from there.
Cooking Low FODMAP With a Family Tip #2: Cook high FODMAP ingredients separately.
If the recipes you’re using include high FODMAP foods like onions, garlic, or high FODMAP veggies or grains, cook those separately. Then you can separate out your food before you add those ingredients in.
If you’re worried about your portion being low on flavor, add in some low FODMAP flavor enhancers.
Cooking Low FODMAP With a Family Tip #3: Tweak the portions
The low FODMAP diet is all about portions. Remember, it’s low FODMAP, not no FODMAP. That means that you can eat some foods that are higher in FODMAPs. But you have to eat a small amount. And even a low FODMAP food can turn into a high FODMAP food if you eat too much in one sitting.
So it’s okay to serve some higher FODMAP dishes at your family dinner. You may even be able to have some. But your portion will be smaller than what you feed everyone else. If you need some help figuring out the low FODMAP diet portions, there are lots of tools available. You’ll find my favorite low FODMAP tools in this free IBS Resource Guide.
Cooking Low FODMAP With a Family Tip #4: Look for low FODMAP recipes your family will like.
There are loads of low FODMAP recipe websites out there. And with a little digging, you’re likely to find one that makes food both you and your family can enjoy.
Sometimes looking at a recipe that isn’t designed for the low FODMAP diet and trying to tweak it can be overwhelming — especially if you’re new to cooking. So why not take advantage of the resources that are already out there?
Cooking Low FODMAP With a Family Tip #5: Swap Out High FODMAP Ingredients
Once you get into the swing of the low FODMAP diet, you’ll start to recognize higher FODMAP ingredients in your recipes. If you’re comfortable making swaps, then you can turn a high FODMAP recipe into a low FODMAP recipe with just a few changes.
Check back next week and I’ll be sharing some of my favorite low FODMAP recipe swaps.
Cooking Low FODMAP With a Family Tip #6: Add in Some Higher FODMAP Dishes for Your Family
You don’t have to cook a completely separate meal for your family to make sure they get the nutrients that come with FODMAPs. Once you’ve built a low FODMAP plate that everyone can eat, then you’re all set!
Consider adding a higher FODMAP option like a high FODMAP veggie, grain, or bread. This way you skip the high FODMAP foods while your family gets in their FODMAPs — without anyone having to cook two separate meals.
Cooking Low FODMAP With a Family Tip #7: Plan ahead
If you find yourself staring into the fridge at 7:00 pm wondering what to make for dinner, it’s going to be hard to both feed your family and stick to your low FODMAP diet.
Preparing meals for a family takes planning even when there aren’t dietary restrictions involved. But add in something as complex as the low FODMAP diet, and meal-planning is a must.
But don’t worry! I’ve got your back. A few months back, I dedicated an entire month to low FODMAP meal planning.
The Low FODMAP Diet is Hard — But Worth It
I won’t lie. The low FODMAP diet is a challenge. There’s a lot to learn and keep track of. And you’re having to give up foods you like. But if you’re suffering with IBS, then it is absolutely worth it. The low FODMAP diet can calm your symptoms and get you on the road to feeling better — fast!
I’m not saying the low FODMAP diet is right for everyone with IBS. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to this condition. That’s why it’s so important to work with a qualified practitioner who will look at your unique physiology, symptoms, and dietary needs to personalize a therapeutic food and supplement plan that works for you.
If you’re ready to work with a practitioner who can address the root cause of your IBS and help you feel better, then click the button below.