When you think of low-calorie meal solutions, a salad may be one of the first things that comes to mind. Salad kits and pre-packaged salads in the grocery store may seem like a convenient choice when trying to eat healthy on a busy schedule. However, those with low FODMAP dietary needs have to be very careful about the hidden, and not-so-hidden ingredients that may be found in such products. Therefore, it is important to know what to look for when purchasing or preparing a salad. In addition, some low FODMAP friendly, high protein ideas will be provided to help you make your salad into a balanced meal choice.
Common Salad Ingredients to Avoid:
- Garlic and onion are some of the most common ingredients when it comes to pre-prepared salads and salad dressings. Try Casa de Sante's Sweet Orange, Basil Lemon, or Original Grapefruit salad dressings that provide a pop of flavor to your salad in a safe, no onion, no garlic, low FODMAP formula.
- Beans such as black beans, kidney beans, and soy beans are common protein sources on salads, but are high FODMAP. Instead, try adding some diced chicken, shredded pork, or diced deli meats. If you are vegetarian, some high protein options may include quinoa, peanuts, sunflower seeds, lactose-free cheese or diced regular tofu.
- Mushrooms may be found as a flavorful addition to some salads, both hot and cold. In addition, some salad dressings may contain minced mushroom for extra potent flavor. Instead, sprinkle on some low FODMAP spices by Casa de Sante that provide a variety of power-packed flavor choices for all of your salad, meat, and vegetable recipes.
- Cauliflower is a popular vegetable that can be found riced or whole in a variety of packaged salads and cooked veggie dishes, but is not low FODMAP friendly.
- Apples may be found sliced on salads or used as an additive to salad dressings, so read the ingredient label carefully.
- Avocado may be sliced on top of salads or creamed for a dairy-free salad dressing base. Although this ingredient may be apparent in the name of the dressing or in the coloring it provides the dressing, it is always safer to check the ingredients label just to be sure.
- Raisins may be sprinkled on salads as a fruity flavor addition. Instead, try dried or fresh cranberries.
- Milk products are commonly found in salad dressings for protein and flavor. Sticking to oil and vinegar-based dressings and choosing lactose-free cheeses instead can provide just as much flavor, but in a low FODMAP form.
Simple Steps to a Delicious Low FODMAP salad:
- Start with a fiber-rich base using kale, spinach leaves, or lettuces such as butter, romaine, or iceberg.
- Load up your salad with fiber-rich veggies such as sliced or shredded carrots, diced or grape tomatoes, broccoli, bell pepper, bean sprouts, and cucumber.
- Pop in some fruity flavor with blueberries, cranberries, orange slices, or sliced strawberries.
- Add in some protein with some sliced or ground beef, diced chicken, shredded pork, cold cuts, or plant-based proteins such as quinoa, peanuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, walnuts, diced tofu, or lactose-free cheese. Also, feta, cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese are safe for a low FODMAP diet.
- Top your delicious salad creation with a low FODMAP salad dressing or with another creative salad dressing alternative such as high-protein, lactose-free cottage cheese, or salsa such as Casa de Sante's low FODMAP salsa. You can also simply top your salad with a low FODMAP infused oil such as Boyajian garlic infused oil and sprinkle on spices such as ground pepper, chili pepper, or oregano.
- Enjoy your flavor-packed, low FODMAP salad creation.
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.