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The Best 7-Day IBS Meal Plan

Published on
Updated on
The Best 7-Day IBS Meal Plan

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects 11% of adults and symptoms are highly individualized. They may include a mix of bloating, gas, and changes in bowel movements.
  • Diet changes, including a low FODMAP diet, can improve symptoms.
  • If you want IBS support, meet with a dietitian for individualized meal planning.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal (GI) disorder affecting 11% of the population

Symptoms vary among IBS sufferers, making it critical to have individualized diet, lifestyle, and stress management interventions.

Common symptoms include abdominal pain, bloating, and altered bowel movements (diarrhea and/or constipation). 

In people with IBS, 60% report that their food choices cause unpleasant GI side effects.

To manage these side effects, growing research supports following a low FODMAP diet to manage IBS symptoms and identify trigger foods. 

A large 2021 meta-analysis, including 14 studies, concluded that the low-FODMAP diet can reduce IBS severity by 66% and improve quality of life by 42% compared to a control diet. 

Try this seven-day low-FODMAP IBS meal plan to help reduce your symptoms. 

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Day 1

Breakfast 

Microwaved old-fashioned oats with lactose-free milk (or a low-fat dairy alternative), cinnamon, blueberries, and sweetened to taste with sugar.

Lunch 

Grilled or baked chicken seasoned with pepper and parsley. Serve with sautéed green beans and steamed rice.

Onions and garlic are both high FODMAP and shouldn’t be used in your cooking.

However, if you love these flavors, a low FODMAP hack is to infuse them into olive oil, which can be drizzled over your dish.

You can buy a premixed bottle at the store or make your own at home. 

Dinner  

Baked salmon seasoned with lemon juice and pepper.

Serve with roasted carrots and white potatoes seasoned with rosemary and thyme. 

Snacks 

Lactose-free yogurt and clementine; raw bell peppers with one handful of almonds.

Day 2

Breakfast  

Gluten-free toast topped with scrambled eggs, spinach, and peppers. Serve with fresh strawberries. 

Lunch 

Leftover cooked salmon served cold over spinach salad with olive oil.

Add cranberries, two tablespoons of walnuts, and feta cheese.

Add pre-cooked chilled rice to the salad.

Dinner 

Brown rice noodles with shrimp.

Seasoned with gluten-free, reduced-sodium soy sauce (or Tamari), lime juice, olive oil, and fresh ginger.

Serve with sauteed oyster mushrooms, sliced carrots, red bell peppers, and bamboo shoots. 

Snacks 

Peanut butter (or almond butter) with small, firm banana; pineapple, and lactose-free cottage cheese.

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Day 3

Breakfast  

Plain lactose-free, nonfat Greek yogurt topped with sliced almonds and blueberries.

Hot coffee with a splash of lactose-free or dairy-alternative milk. 

Lunch 

Chicken salad made with lactose-free nonfat Greek yogurt, grapes, and celery served with gluten-free bread.

Add raspberries and a side of broccoli.

Dinner  

Lean (92% lean) ground beef skillet hash made with tomatoes, ½ small sweet potato, red bell peppers, and garlic-infused oil.

Sautéed green beans with black pepper and olive oil as a side dish. 

Snacks 

Trail mix made with Brazil nuts, pumpkin, and sunflower seeds (limit to one handful); lactose-free nonfat yogurt and kiwi.

Day 4

Breakfast  

Smoothie made with lactose-free milk or a dairy alternative like almond milk.

Add a small, firm banana, two tablespoons of peanut or almond butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, and ground flax seed.

Lunch 

Quinoa salad made from pre-cooked and cooled quinoa.

Add chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, bell pepper, feta cheese, and olives.

Make a dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, basil, salt, and pepper. Add cooked chicken for additional protein. 

Dinner  

Lean (92% lean) ground beef tacos seasoned with garlic-infused oil, tomato paste, cumin, and paprika.

Serve on corn tortillas with shredded cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, and romaine lettuce.

Snacks 

Carrot and cucumber slices with lactose-free cottage cheese; unsalted nuts, and grapes. 

Day 5

Breakfast  

Egg scramble made with sautéed spinach.

Serve with oranges and gluten-free toast with one tablespoon of peanut or almond butter. 

Lunch 

Leftover beef taco meat and toppings served over white rice with corn tortillas crumbled on top for a taco bowl.

Serve with blueberries and raspberries.

Dinner  

Slow cooker chicken soup made with chicken breast, chopped carrots, and spaghetti squash.

Season with garlic-infused oil, rosemary, bay leaves, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and parsley.

Serve with toasted gluten-free rolls or bread. 

Snacks 

Pecans and unsweetened lactose-free nonfat yogurt; hard-boiled egg and cantaloupe. 

Day 6

Breakfast  

Low FODMAP energy bites pre-made with gluten-free old-fashioned oats, chia seeds, peanut butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, pure maple syrup, and a sprinkling of mini dark chocolate chips.

Pair with your choice of fruit (small firm banana or blueberries). 

Lunch 

Grown-up charcuterie plate: olives, mozzarella cheese, gluten-free crackers, boiled egg, a handful of almonds or walnuts, raspberries, grapes, carrots, and raw broccoli. 

Dinner  

Rice or corn-based gluten-free pasta topped with sauteed spinach, oyster mushrooms, lactose-free cream cheese, and baked salmon.

Seasoned with lemon juice, black pepper, salt, and parsley. 

Snacks 

One handful of macadamia nuts and strawberries; Colby cheese and gluten-free toast. 

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Day 7

Breakfast  

Microwaved old-fashioned oats with lactose-free milk (or dairy alternative), ground flax seed, chopped walnuts, and raspberries. 

Lunch 

Tuna sandwich on gluten-free bread with tomato slices, lettuce, Swiss cheese, and mustard or mayonnaise.

Serve with grapes and baby carrots. 

Dinner 

Baked pork chops served with brown rice, cooked collard greens, and carrots. 

Snacks 

Strawberries and lactose-free nonfat Greek yogurt; one or two pre-made low-FODMAP energy bites. 

What is Low FODMAP?

To begin, FODMAP is an acronym for foods that often worsen IBS symptoms. FODMAP stands for:

  • F - fermentable
  • O - oligosaccharides
  • D - disaccharides 
  • M - monosaccharides
  • A - and 
  • P - polyols

Intake of high-FODMAP foods can trigger IBS symptoms of gas, bloating, pain, and bowel movement irregularity. 

As you start a low-FODMAP diet, you’ll remove all high-FODMAP foods. 

If IBS symptoms improve, you’ll reintroduce specific groups of moderate or high FODMAP foods to determine the exact triggers.

Once those are identified they’ll be eliminated.

The low FODMAP diet is meant to be used temporarily (four to six weeks) to develop a customized long-term diet that improves IBS symptoms.  

Working with a registered dietitian (RD) trained in gut health can be transformative.

They can help you follow the restrictive low-FODMAP diet safely and successfully and determine a long-term eating plan to get IBS symptom relief. 

Tips for Following an IBS Meal Plan

Below are five tips to keep in mind while following an IBS meal plan.

1. Seek expert help from a registered dietitian

Following an IBS meal plan, such as the low-FODMAP one, is restrictive.

Most people need expert support to understand which foods to avoid and include and the timeline for how and when to reintroduce high-FODMAP foods.

Dietitians understand how other medical conditions can impact your health as well.

2. Portion sizes matter

The goal of the low-FODMAP diet is to maintain a reduced, cumulative FODMAP intake each day. 

Sometimes, you can eat a small amount of FODMAP-containing food if you consume little to no other foods with FODMAPs. Exceeding portion sizes can trigger IBS symptoms.

3. Plan to prepare most of your food at home

It’s easy to accidentally consume high-FODMAP foods or ingredients.

Common culprits when eating out are onions and garlic. 

By preparing more meals at home you’ll have full control over the ingredients, which can reduce the chances of unintentionally eating a high-FODMAP food.

4. Keep a food diary

Keep track of your food and portion sizes on paper or a smartphone.

Note any IBS symptoms (or improvement).

This will help you problem-solve any reactions. 

You can easily share the food diary with a registered dietitian to help understand if you're eating low-FODMAP and identify any gaps in your nutrition intake.

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5. Consider Utilizing Apps to Find Low FODMAP Foods

Monash University, the world’s foremost authority on FODMAPs, provides a comprehensive app that includes recipes and a detailed database sharing the FODMAP content of most foods.

Foods to Eat with IBS Subtypes

Stool irregularity is a common symptom of IBS. There are three IBS subtypes

  1. IBS-C: IBS with constipation
  2. IBS-D: IBS with diarrhea
  3. IBS-M: IBS with mixed stool pattern (alternating constipation and diarrhea)

The treatment goal for IBS-C is to increase bowel frequency, while the goal for IBS-D is to reduce excessive stools.

Finally, the goal for IBS-M is to find a middle ground of consistent bowel patterns.

Based on the large meta-analysis shared at the beginning, researchers have found that the low-FODMAP diet improves all IBS subtypes.

Regardless of stool regularity, patients reported improvement after following the low-FODMAP diet.

Improvement was more notable in the IBS-D group compared to the IBS-C and IBS-M groups. 

The low-FODMAP diet is often considered the first-line treatment for any subtype of IBS due to its great success and relief of symptoms. 

Working with a dietitian can help further customize your diet to address constipation, diarrhea, or mixed stool pattern subtypes.

Working on specific amounts of fiber (insoluble and soluble) can further improve stool regularity. 

Takeaways

This 7-day IBS meal plan is a great first step in reducing your IBS symptoms.

The meals avoid high-FODMAP foods while emphasizing fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats for a balanced and filling diet. 

Meeting with an IBS registered dietitian for individualized care can help you manage IBS.

If you’re ready to take the next step in your healthcare journey, you can find a dietitian who accepts insurance through Nourish. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good meal for IBS?

A balanced meal includes carbohydrates, protein, fats, and fiber while limiting high-FODMAP foods.

A delicious example is homemade tacos, made with lean (92% lean) ground beef seasoned with garlic-infused oil, tomato paste, cumin, and paprika.

Serve on corn tortillas with shredded cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, and romaine lettuce.

Is pasta good for IBS?

Gluten-free pasta made with corn or rice is often well tolerated in individuals with IBS.

How do I plan a meal with IBS?

First, avoid high-FODMAP foods.

You can easily do this by planning and preparing meals at home more often.

When cooking, choose a lean protein source such as chicken, lean beef, or fish, and add a low-FODMAP carbohydrate like rice or quinoa.

Round out your meal by pairing your protein with low-FODMAP fruits and vegetables.

References

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