Creating a meal plan that contains a lot of low FODMAP foods is a great way to help manage your irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms at home.

A salad bowl of low food map foods. Share on Pinterest
Natalia Gdovskaia/Getty Images

Every year, tens of millions of people in the United States deal with the symptoms of IBS. IBS is characterized by frequent bouts of constipation, diarrhea, or both, with pain, bloating, and other uncomfortable digestive symptoms.

While there’s currently no cure for IBS, treatment can help people with the condition manage their symptoms and prevent flares. One approach is the low FODMAP diet, which involves limiting or avoiding certain types of undigestible carbohydrates.

Below, we’ll share more on what FODMAPs are and how to create a low FODMAP meal plan, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas you can try today.

Before you dive into creating your first low FODMAP meal plan, it can be helpful to understand exactly what FODMAPs are.

“FODMAP” stands for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols”. In other words, FODMAPs are a type of sugar that our bodies can’t easily digest, so they ferment and cause gas, pain, and other uncomfortable symptoms.

High FODMAP foods contain lots of these sugars, which means they’re more likely to ferment in the gut. If you’re creating a low FODMAP meal plan, these are the ingredients and foods you’ll want to try to avoid.

Some of the most common high FODMAP foods include:

  • apples, blueberries, cherries, grapes, peaches, pears, raspberries, and watermelon
  • asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, garlic, mushrooms, and onions
  • beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, and soybeans
  • wheat, bread, most cereals, crackers, pasta, tortillas, barley, and rye
  • most yogurts, soft cheese, sour cream, ice cream, and whey protein
  • some artificial and natural sweeteners, fruit juices, kombucha, and some plant milks

On the opposite end, low FODMAP foods contain much lower amounts of FODMAPS, which means they’re less likely to ferment and cause digestive symptoms. With a low FODMAP diet, you’ll want to incorporate more of these foods into your meal plan.

Some of the most common low FODMAP foods include:

  • meat, fish, and meat and fish products without high FODMAP ingredients
  • eggs, lactose-free dairy products, hard cheeses, and aged soft cheeses
  • certain nuts and seeds, including pine nuts, macadamia nuts, and peanuts
  • cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew melon, kiwi, citrus fruits, and strawberries
  • bell peppers, bok choy, carrots, celery, cucumber, green beans, kale, lettuce, parsnips, potatoes, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, yams, and zucchini
  • corn, oats, quinoa, and rice
  • fats, oils, herbs, spices, maple syrup, and stevia

Once you have a list of foods to base your meal plan around and foods to avoid, the next step is to start meal planning.

The meal planning process usually looks like this:

  1. First, check your fridge, your pantry, and recipe books or websites for inspiration.
  2. Next, choose your recipes and create your shopping list.
  3. Finally, shop for the ingredients, prepare and store your meals, and enjoy.

Below, you’ll find some low FODMAP recipe ideas that you can use to build a meal plan so that you can start meal prepping today.

Breakfast ideas

When it comes to your first meal of the day, a few simple substitutes can turn an everyday breakfast recipe into a low FODMAP alternative:

  • pancakes or waffles with oat flour, lactose-free milk, and maple syrup
  • egg white omelet with spinach, bell peppers, and cheddar cheese
  • eggs scrambled with aged soft cheese, with a side of potatoes and bacon
  • lactose-free or oat milk yogurt topped with fruit and homemade granola

Lunch and dinner ideas

If you’re looking for lunch and dinner ideas to add to your meal plan, try pairing different low FODMAP proteins, vegetables, and grains:

  • lettuce wraps with ground beef, carrots, and zucchini, with a side of white rice
  • kale and spinach salad with baked salmon, roasted vegetables, and homemade dressing
  • carnitas tacos with corn tortillas, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and plant-based sour cream
  • chicken quesadillas made with gluten-free wraps and topped with homemade salsa
  • grilled chicken with a side of mashed sweet potatoes and roasted summer squash
  • quinoa bowl with marinated firm tofu and sauteed bok choy, carrots, and zucchini

Snack and dessert ideas

Even if you’re following a low FODMAP meal plan, there are still plenty of snack and dessert options you can enjoy:

  • cottage cheese topped with fruit
  • sourdough toast with peanut butter
  • sliced meat, cheese, and gluten-free crackers
  • homemade muffins with fruit and nuts
  • flourless or oat flour cookies, cakes, or bars
  • coconut milk ice cream or fruit sorbet bars

Fast food and restaurant food are often high in FODMAPs, which can make dining out difficult when you’re following a low FODMAP meal plan. Still, that doesn’t mean that you can’t find low FODMAP foods when you’re dining out.

Before you leave the house, consider looking at menu options ahead of time. By checking the menu before you go, you’ll be able to familiarize yourself with some of the low FODMAP food choices available to you.

Once you’re at the restaurant or establishment, don’t hesitate to ask questions about the menu options. Let the server know that you have dietary concerns and will need to avoid some things. Sometimes, you may even be able to make adjustments, like asking for dressing on the side or exchanging a high FODMAP ingredient for a lower FODMAP one.

You may want to look for restaurants that offer plenty of gluten- and dairy-free options or those that can make food allergen-safe.

FODMAPs are present in a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and grains, both in high and low amounts.

Creating a low FODMAP meal plan involves crafting your daily and weekly recipes around low FODMAP foods while limiting high FODMAP choices.

If you’ve been wondering about the benefits of a low FODMAP diet for your IBS symptoms, reach out to a doctor, gastroenterologist, or registered dietitian who specializes in low FODMAP diets for more guidance on where to start.