Low FODMAP Alternatives to Onion, Garlic, Gluten and More

At first glance, the low FODMAP diet may seem limiting. You may feel like you are giving up a lot of foods that you are used to eating and you are not sure what is left for you to enjoy. However, eating delicious meals and snacks on the low FODMAP diet is possible, but just takes some planning and the openness to try new foods and drinks that you may have never tried before. Here are some tips on how to enjoy some of your favorite meals and snacks with low FODMAP ingredient alternatives.

Onion and Garlic Alternatives

Until you must avoid garlic and onion on a low FODMAP regimen, you may not realize how many foods these seasonings are in. Onion and garlic is in salsas, stir fry meals, in salads, on sandwiches, and are even flavorings in many over-the-counter and restaurant condiments. This does not mean that enjoying these savory flavors is over for you. There are garlic and onion free salsas and seasonings available, so you can still enjoy the flavor of onion and garlic without the digestive side effects. Alternatives for these ingredients in dishes and recipes include peppers, green scallions, garlic infused oil, and spices such as curry powder, cumin, and chili pepper, which can all provide the bite and flavor you may miss.

Gluten Alternatives

Wheat is an obvious food that a low FODMAP follower may miss from time to time. With so many gluten-free breads and crackers available these days, you don’t have to miss the taste of your favorite starchy foods forever. Although the texture may be a bit different in some cases, rice flour, almond flour, and buckwheat can provide effective wheat flour substitutes in baking. Just be sure to read the instructions since you may have to use the flours in different ratios than you would wheat flour.

For other starchy items, you can enjoy rice pastas or pastas made with quinoa or flax seed.  Brown rice flour pastas and brown rice can provide a fiber-rich substitute for your favorite pasta dishes.  If you wanted to avoid starch all together, you could even use zucchini, carrot, or squash to create spiralized noodles for a low carbohydrate and low FODMAP version of your favorite pasta.

Cream-based soups and sauces

If you are used to eating chowders, bisques, or other cream-based soups, then you may be wondering what to do about your favorite dishes. No need to worry since there are several strategies that you can use to create a creamy texture in soups and sauces without straying from your low FODMAP regimen.  

  • Use light coconut cream or coconut milk to provide a dairy-free, lactose-free base for your soups and curry dishes.
  • Puree low FODMAP-friendly starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, or squash and use as a base for soups or sauces to provide a creamy texture.
  • Soak nuts like macadamia nuts for several hours, blend in a food processor, and use as a creamy and savory base for dips and sauces.

Puddings or ice cream

Your favorite sweet treats do not have to be missed when you are following a low FODMAP regimen. Mix a cup of plant-based milk like coconut, almond, or soy milk with a tablespoon of chia seeds and set overnight to create a creamy pudding treat. Add flavorings like vanilla extract, cinnamon, or dark chocolate to further flavor your dessert.  Also, instead of ice cream, enjoy coconut milk, almond milk, soy milk, or lactose-free ice cream offerings at your local health food market.

These alternatives are just some ideas to enjoy your favorite foods while staying safe on the low FODMAP diet. Visit Casa de Sante for more ideas for low FODMAP friendly recipes to try for your meals and snacks.


Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.

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