As if meal planning wasn’t already difficult, figuring out what to eat while on the elimination phase of the low-FODMAP diet for IBS can seem even more challenging. Especially if you are not used to thinking so much about your food!
However, you can make meal planning much more attainable by making the time to do a little thinking ahead. By looking at your schedule and using an approved list of low-FODMAP foods that you can enjoy, you can easily put together a meal plan for your week and focus on the more important things in life. Here are three ideas to help you get started on meal planning during the elimination phase of the low-FODMAP diet.
First, meal planning on a low-FODMAP diet is not very different than meal planning for the general population. Here is a quick and easy formula for what a healthy, well-balanced meal should look like: non-starchy vegetable or fruit (which should be about half of your plate)+ grain or starchy vegetable (which is 1/4 of your plate) + lean protein (the rest of your plate). It's important to note that some foods are only low-FODMAP if eaten in smaller quantities or if they are processed. Check with your dietitian or FODMAP food list to learn more about the portion sizes of specific foods.
Second, think about the week ahead and how much time you will have for cooking. Set yourself up for success by realistically asking yourself if you have the time to make dinner every night of the week. I mean, who does have that kind of time nowadays! If it seems more realistic, you can plan for cooking three meals, and then make enough to last for leftovers. Also think about how much time you will have for making breakfast, lunch and snacks. If you can prep these meals one or two days a week you will have easy grab-and-go options in your refrigerator, saving you on time and energy.
Third, use a low-FODMAP food list or app like the one from Monash University to help you pick and choose what you want to fill in for each category. A simple and yummy meal could be something like roasted carrots + brown rice + grilled chicken. Another idea is tacos made with corn tortillas, cabbage, sautéed peppers, beef and shredded cheddar. Yum!
Seasoning is where it can get tricky in the elimination phase. Make sure that when you are seasoning your dishes you are using spices that are low-FODMAP friendly. This means you may have to make your own seasonings from scratch, or pay close attention to the ingredient list on packaged seasonings.
Don’t forget to make a grocery list of all the ingredients you need to make your meal plan for the week! I like to use the app Wunderlist to help me stay organized at the grocery store.
Meal planning can be challenging, but setting aside some time once or twice a week can help save you on time, energy, and can make you more successful in your efforts to relieve symptoms on the elimination phase. If you are interested in learning more about meal planning or the low-FODMAP diet for IBS, contact me for an appointment.