Eating a healthy diet can be a difficult endeavor. However, any way to give your food flavor can help keep you on track. For a low FODMAP follower, many sauces and processed flavorings are off limits due to sweeteners like high fructose corn syrup and honey. Therefore, follow these tips to find spices and herbs to help flavor your meals the low FODMAP way.
Spices to Avoid
First, let’s start with which spices you should avoid to prevent digestive symptoms. The big ones are garlic and onion powder, and any spice mix containing these powders. Other spices to stay away from include any spice mixes that contain dried mushroom, dried beans of any kind, the white part of scallions, and any marinade or spice rub with wheat flour added to it. Also, some low-sugar marinade mixes may contain sugar alcohols, so be sure to avoid these. Look carefully on the ingredient label before purchasing spices and spice mixes.
Keep it spicy
Hot spices like chili pepper, paprika, and wasabi powder are all safe spices at one teaspoon servings. Other safe spices include five spice, cumin, and all spice. Stick with a one teaspoon serving to be safe with these spices as well.
Add color and stay fresh
Herbs and spices that can add color, flavor, and/or nutrition to your dishes include (Monash approved serving sizes in parentheses):
- Curry powder, which contains the anti-inflammatory spice, turmeric (1 teaspoon serving).
- Antioxidant-rich saffron. (1 gram serving).
- Fennel, which is flavorful and good for indigestion, constipation, and bloating (1 teaspoon serving).
- Asafoetida, which has a leek-like flavor and is known for its digestive health properties (1/4 teaspoon serving).
- Cinnamon, which has antioxidant power (1 teaspoon serving).
- Herbs such as fresh basil, cilantro, coriander, curry leaves, dill, parsley, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, and watercress are safe in 1 cup servings. Also, dried fenugreek leaves (1 cup), dried oregano (1 teaspoon), lemongrass (1X10 cm stalk), Kaffir lime leaves (3 leaves), and bay leaf (1 leaf) are all safe herbs on the low FODMAP diet.
Keep spices simple
Basic spices like black pepper and salt can be just enough sometimes to add flavor to foods. Keep black pepper intake to one teaspoon daily and salt in limited amounts, especially if you have a health condition that warrants a lower sodium diet. Other ways to flavor food simply include a squeeze of lemon or lime juice, apple cider vinegar, or some diced bell pepper.
If you are cooking at home, be sure to keep a list of safe seasonings and their low FODMAP safe serving sizes by your refrigerator or cooking area. It may make life easier to download an app from the Casa de Sante site or Monash University to have on your phone for low FODMAP recipes and references on the go.
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.