Planning healthy meals and snacks can be challenging for anyone but even more so when you are following a low FODMAP diet. When it comes to snacks, many of the options available in stores or vending machines may contain high-FODMAP ingredients. Nonetheless, snacks can be important for filling up the nutritional gaps in a low FODMAP diet. For example, adding a lactose-free yogurt sprinkled with nuts or seeds and some berries can top up your calcium and fiber needs for the day. So, let’s talk about how you can plan healthy, nutritious snacks when following a low-FODMAP diet.
Snacks on a Low FODMAP Diet
For people with IBS, the ideal meal pattern is to consume 3 moderately-sized meals and 1-2 small snacks, preferably spaced 3-4 hours apart. One reason is that large meals may end up accumulating a large load of FODMAPs and trigger symptoms. This may happen even if you are careful and choose only low FODMAP foods, as people with IBS are very sensitive to the distention of the stomach wall and, when it enlarges due to a large amount of food, the nerves that surround it send signals of pain/cramping to the brain (this is called visceral hypersensitivity). Therefore, breaking up your food into moderate-size meals and one or two snacks can help ensure your meals are not too large.
On the other hand, it’s best to avoid grazing or eating semi-continuously, as this is similar to stacking too many FODMAPs in the same meal. The intestinal tract needs to stay empty at intervals during the day so that it can benefit from the migrating motor complexes, which are healthy cleansing waves that occur only when you are not eating.
10 Ideas for Healthy and Nutritious Low-FODMAP Snacks
Sneak in some low-FODMAP veggies like bell peppers, baby carrots, cucumbers, or jicama in your snacks, preferably with a dip or spread (see ideas below).
Try a homemade Baba Ganoush and hummus (use garlic-infused oil instead of garlic); or lactose-free cream cheese.
There are quite a few choices such as grapes, pineapple, kiwis, oranges, tangerines, and more. Ideally, pair them with some protein or healthy fat (such as Babybel or string cheese, or nuts) for a more filling low-FODMAP snack.
4. Lactose-free yogurt
Although a great snack on its own, it’s even better paired with low-FODMAP fruit such as berries or kiwis and/or nuts or granola. See my Low FODMAP Yogurt & Berry Parfait Recipe. If you are allergic to dairy, try a coconut-based yogurt.
5. Low-FODMAP nuts
All nuts (except pistachios or cashews) and peanuts are acceptable (check portion sizes on the Monash FODMAP App). They can be raw, roasted, salty, spicy, or even chocolate-covered. Try mixing them with a few raisins, dates, or cranberries to make your own “trail mix”.
6. Rice cakes
Dress them up and cover them with some peanut or almond butter and either a few banana or strawberry slices or chocolate chips.
7. Hardboiled eggs
Sprinkle them with salt & pepper or cayenne/paprika.
8. A pouch of water-packed tuna
Pair it with raw vegetables (see above) or with a handful of low-FODMAP rice crackers.
Buttered or kettle-corn. Just be sure there are no high-FODMAP ingredients such as garlic/onion powder or honey. Add a glass of lactose-free milk or a few nuts for a more complete snack.
10. Roasted chickpeas
If you’ve never tried chickpeas as a snack, you are in for a treat! Try my Spiced Roasted Chickpeas Recipe for a savory, salty, crunchy low-FODMAP snack.
Tricks of the Trade
- Mix and match food groups for a more filling and nutritious snack. For example, pair a carbohydrate with a protein (yogurt with fruit, cheese, and crackers) or healthy fat (rice cakes with nut butter, trail mix).
- Keep a handy go-to snack for when you are on the move or at work. Single-serve pouches of nut butter or tuna, rice crackers/cakes, or a certified low-FODMAP snack bar. Make your own trail mix and divide it into pre-portioned bags.
- Get organized! Plan your snacks when you do your meal planning for the week. Organize items that you may need to bring to work or in the car in bags and containers so they are ready to go when you need them.
In conclusion, snacks can help you avoid overeating and feeling bloated after your main meals, and provide you with enough energy, especially when you are on the go. When well planned, snacks can help you meet your nutrient needs for fiber, calcium, and other important nutrients sometimes overlooked when on a low FODMAP diet.
If you are struggling with IBS and are confused about what to eat and how to find relief from uncomfortable gut symptoms, I can help!
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Published April 24, 2018. Updated, August 7, 2023.