If you are trying to eat more fiber but are having trouble finding enough low-FODMAP fiber options, you’ve come to the right place. By all means, fiber has several health benefits and you should try to get enough in your diet. Fiber helps our intestines function regularly, whether you have constipation or diarrhea. Moreover, it can help lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels. With this in mind, let’s take a look at how can you get enough fiber on a low-FODMAP diet when so many high-fiber foods are restricted.
Navigating Fiber on a Low FODMAP Diet
To start with, if you have IBS, you know you need to be careful about the amounts and types of fiber you eat so as not to experience unwanted symptoms. Certain fibers are rapidly fermented in the large intestine and may lead to bloating, abdominal pain, and excess gas. A few examples of foods that contain these types of fiber are onions, artichokes, wheat, and beans. These are the fibers a low FODMAP diet is designed to minimize.
On the other hand, other types of fiber are slowly fermented and better tolerated. For example, the fiber in brown rice, oats, kiwis, raspberries, carrots, and chia seeds.
How Much Fiber Do You Need?
A second consideration is the daily amount of fiber we should strive for. According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, an adequate fiber intake is 25 g per day for women and 38 g per day for men up to the age of 50 (a little less for older people).
However, this recommendation is for the general population. Sadly, most Americans consume too little fiber, an average of 15 g per day. Monash University recommends people with IBS eat between 25 and 30 g of fiber per day.
5 tips to Eat More Fiber on a Low FODMAP Diet
Tip #1: Eat enough but not too much
When it comes to fiber, there is a Goldilocks amount for each of us: not too little, not too much, but just right. In other words, both too much and too little fiber could be triggering your gut symptoms. Depending on your IBS subtype and symptoms severity, you might need to be on the low or high end of those recommendations. A registered dietitian specializing in gut health can help you figure out what that “just right” amount is for you. Finally, as you increase your fiber intake, make sure you do it slowly and increase your fluid intake as well.
Tip #2: Choose whole grains
Be sure to choose low-FODMAP whole grains (brown rice, millet, quinoa), and don’t limit yourself to the “white” stuff. Unfortunately, there is a tendency for people with IBS to gravitate towards either avoiding grains altogether or mostly eating white rice and other refined products (crackers, gluten-free bread). However, by including more low-FODMAP whole grains, in addition to the fiber (2-4 grams per cup of cooked brown rice, quinoa, quinoa-corn pasta, or millet), you will get other important nutrients as well.
Tip #3: Eat your fruits and vegetables
Choose a variety of low-FODMAP fruits and vegetables (keep the skin on) in the appropriate portions (as defined in the Monash FODMAP App) and spread them throughout the day. You can usually get 2-4 grams of fiber per portion. Try some of these:
- Fruit: raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, kiwifruit, oranges
- Vegetables: carrots, radishes, kale, Swiss chard, eggplant
Tip #4: Include legumes
It’s important to remember you don’t need to avoid all legumes on a low FODMAP diet. In fact, some legumes are ok even during the elimination phase (use canned, drain, and rinse them). In general, up to ½ cup per meal or snack (5-8 grams of fiber) is considered a low FODMAP serving:
- Lentils (great in soup, salads, or chili)
- Chickpeas (they are delicious roasted as a snack or sprinkled on salads)
- Fresh or frozen edamame (boiled and rinsed)
Tip #5: Don’t forget the nuts and seeds
In small amounts, these can contribute good amounts of fiber without triggering symptoms. Try up to 2 tablespoons per meal or snack (1-2 grams of fiber in most nuts/seeds; 10 grams in chia seeds):
- Nuts: almonds or walnuts: sprinkle them on oatmeal, or a hot rice/quinoa cereal for breakfast
- Seeds: pumpkin seeds (good by themselves or as topping for tacos) and chia seeds (in your overnight oats, or as a chia pudding).
In conclusion, it is definitely possible to have an adequate fiber intake on a low FODMAP diet. With some attention to the type of fiber and portion sizes, you can eat enough fiber to help you have regular, normal bowel movements. And you can do it while pleasing your taste buds as well. See my recipe for Cocoa Chia Pudding below: who thought that eating more fiber could look like this?
Cocoa Chia Pudding
1 ½ cups unsweetened almond milk
¼ cup chia seeds
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa or raw cacao powder
One packet powdered stevia (1 g)
1 tsp vanilla extract
A few chocolate shavings or 2-3 raspberries per serving to top (optional)
- Combine the almond milk, chia seeds, cocoa, stevia, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Then, whisk until well combined and the mixture begins to thicken. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in the refrigerator overnight or for 6-8 hours.
- Once the pudding has set, give it one more stir, then portion it into single-serve bowls. Alternatively, heat up in the microwave for a warm pudding.
- You can top it with a small amount of shaved chocolate or 2-3 raspberries per serving if desired.
Yield: 2 servings
Storage: Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Author: Antonella Dewell, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist & Natural Chef
Are you having trouble getting enough fiber without feeling bloated and gassy?