- FODMAPs refer to a group of carbohydrates that are difficult to digest in some people and can worsen IBS symptoms.
- Choosing foods that are low in FODMAPs can relieve IBS symptoms and improve quality of life.
- Low FODMAP foods are not clearly marked at the grocery store, and you can use this low FODMAP grocery list the next time you shop.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a digestive condition that can present with several symptoms in your digestive tract simultaneously. Common symptoms include abdominal pain, excess gas and bloating, and changes in bowel habits. Some people with IBS are more susceptible to bouts of constipation (IBS-C), while others are prone to loose stools and diarrhea (IBS-D). Some people may experience a mix of both (IBS-M).
Making lifestyle changes and eating low FODMAP foods can provide IBS symptom relief for some people. If you choose to explore FODMAPs and want to make dietary changes, you should work with a dietitian to ensure your diet remains diverse in nutrients, vitamins, and fiber.
Keep reading to learn about FODMAPs, and use this low-FODMAP grocery list to help you confidently buy foods that align with your health goals.
What are FODMAPs?
FODMAP is an acronym for a group of carbohydrates that can worsen IBS symptoms. The full name is fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols - but it is acceptable to just use the term “FODMAP.”
Some people may find these carbohydrates difficult to break down, and undigested pieces can ferment in the intestinal tract. This can result in excess gas production, bloating, and sometimes bathroom urgency. Choosing foods with low FODMAP levels can improve IBS symptoms, improve quality of life, and help you feel better overall.
Can I eat low FODMAP forever?
It is not recommended to eat low FODMAP foods exclusively. The world's foremost authority on FODMAP research, Monash University, has listed a few explanations for this.
- Many people can later re-introduce high FODMAP foods while still managing IBS symptoms, so it is unnecessary to follow restrictions long-term.
- Foods that are high FODMAP are also high in prebiotics - a type of fiber that feeds your healthy gut bacteria colonies.
- It is important to add variety to your diet for overall health.
Although eating low FODMAP foods can relieve IBS symptoms, you should try reintroducing other foods into your diet. Working with a registered dietitian can ease any worries you may have about unwanted IBS symptoms returning.
Nourish offers individualized nutrition counseling that is covered by the most popular insurance carriers. If you want personalized nutrition support, consider booking a virtual appointment with a registered dietitian.
Low FODMAP Grocery List Basics
For most people, grocery list basics include a variety of produce, protein sources, snack items, grains and starches, sauces for flavor, and cooking fats. Depending on your needs, you may also need to restock your pantry and freezer occasionally.
Most products at the grocery store are not marked with a low FODMAP seal, and it can be slightly confusing to pick out the right products at first. To help make this process easier, you can refer to this low FODMAP grocery list the next time you visit the store. This information should help you feel more confident that you are buying the right foods for your bowel health.
Foods to Include for IBS
You should aim to eat balanced meals throughout the day. This includes protein, healthy fats, and a variety of low FODMAP vegetables, grains, and fruits. Some research suggests that eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day can also help you feel more comfortable after eating.
Some low FODMAP foods have a recommended serving size. You can review these specific recommendations with your Nourish dietitian to ensure you eat the right amount.
Most protein sources are considered low-FODMAP. The exception would be prepared foods that contain carbohydrate ingredients, such as battered fish or chicken tenders.
Here are some protein options you can add to your low FODMAP grocery list:
- Tempeh (fermented tofu.)
- Extra-lean red meat.
- Lean pork.
- Quinoa flakes.
- Corn/Rice/Quinoa-based pasta.
- Sourdough spelt bread.
- Rice bran.
- Lactose-free milk.
- Almond milk.
- Feta cheese.
- Hard parmesan cheese.
- Greek yogurt.
- Olive oil.
- Avocado oil.
- Pumpkin seeds.
- Bok choy.
- Green pepper.
- Spaghetti squash.
- Maple syrup.
- Almond butter.
- Table sugar (white sugar.)
- Dark chocolate.
- Buckwheat/Corn/Millet flour.
- Canned lentils/chickpeas.
- Canned tuna.
- Soy sauce.
- Tahini sauce.
Choosing low FODMAP foods can feel like a big change to your diet, but working with a dietitian can help make the experience more pleasurable. Together, you can find ways to include your favorite foods while managing any IBS symptoms.
You can find a dietitian to work with by signing up with Nourish; every appointment is virtual, and most insurance providers offer coverage for our patients.
Foods to Avoid With IBS
Everyone’s digestive system will tolerate foods, beverages, and miscellaneous ingredients (like spices or condiments) differently. This is a general list of recommended foods to avoid with IBS; some of these items may or may not apply to you.
Most people feel better after reducing their intake of:
- Caffeinated beverages: sodas, teas, coffee products.
- Carbonated beverages: sparkling water, fizzy sodas, bubbly flavored waters.
- Alcohol: all types.
- Sugar-alcohol-based sweetening agents: sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, erythritol, isomalt, maltitol, and hydrogenated starch hydrolysates (HSH).
- High-fat foods: anything deep fried, meals drenched in grease, large portions of extra creamy desserts.
- Spicy foods: cooked into the meal or served raw (jalapeno peppers).
Tips for Grocery Shopping With Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Whenever possible, make a list and plan your grocery shopping ahead of time. This will ensure you buy everything you need to prepare wholesome and delicious meals during the week.
Building a grocery list also allows you to stick within a budget for food shopping, which can be helpful while the cost of groceries remains high.
If you are missing a specific food or you find that you have cravings for high FODMAP options - ask your dietitian what can be done! There could be low-fodmap alternatives that would be appropriate and help you feel satisfied.
If you have IBS symptoms, you may want to try eating low FODMAP foods. They are more likely to be fully broken down in your digestive tract, which reduces IBS symptoms. It can take time for your digestive system to process this dietary change, and you should stick to a low FODMAP routine for 2-4 weeks for the best opportunity to experience results.
Most foods are not clearly marked as low FODMAP. You can refer to this low FODMAP grocery list the next time you visit the store. Having this information should help you feel more confident that you are buying foods that align with your health goals.
If you are unsure if a certain food is low FODMAP, you can contact your dietitian for clarification.
Managing IBS with an RD
Working with a registered dietitian (RD) trained in digestive health can be life-changing. Together, you can build a nutrition plan to ease IBS symptoms and help you feel your best. If you’ve never met with a dietitian before, you may not know what to discuss. Here are some examples of behaviors you can address:
- Improve meal frequency throughout the day.
- Practice mindfulness to manage stress, especially around eating.
- Slow down how quickly you eat.
- Making food changes that help you feel better.
- Review supplement options that can help (on top of dietary and lifestyle changes.)
This list is a small example of discussions you could have with your dietitian. If you have any nutrition concerns whatsoever, you are invited to review them with a gut health dietitian.
If you’re ready to take the next step in your health journey, consider booking a remote appointment with a Nourish registered dietitian.
Frequently Asked Questions
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