When you think of a specialized diet such as low FODMAP, you may assume it lacks flavor and good taste. However, you would be mistaken with the low FODMAP diet. Garlic and onion are high FODMAP foods that are often used to add flavor to dishes. However, there are many other ways to add pizzazz to your meals without straying from your low FODMAP regimen. In fact, the following tips can help you enjoy many of your favorite flavor profiles from across the globe while keeping your gut happy.
- Italian Cuisine: Gluten-free pasta, spaghetti squash, and zucchini can be great substitutes for spaghetti noodles, while thinly-sliced eggplant slices can replace lasagna noodles. If you are craving pizza, try a gluten-free flour-based crust or use corn tortillas as a low FODMAP friendly crust replacement. For protein, try breadless options or use quinoa, cooked rice, or parmesan cheese as a replacement to bread crumbs or batter. Volumize sauces and salads with fiber-rich veggies such as carrots, bell peppers, and tomatoes, or roast some broccoli, carrots, or sweet potato for some fiber on the side. To top it all off, try a low FODMAP friendly tomato sauce such as Nellino's Pomodoro Pasta Sauce or use coconut cream to create a low FODMAP friendly base for alfredo sauce.
- Indian Cuisine: Create delicious curries chock full of fiber and flavor with carrots, potatoes, squash, pumpkin, and tomatoes. Use coconut milk as a dairy substitute in sauces and use coconut or almond-based yogurt for a low FODMAP raita. Instead of naan or dosa for a starch option, just enjoy your meal with rice. If you are vegetarian, use quinoa, brown rice, wild rice, nuts, firm tofu, or paneer made from lactose-free milk as protein alternatives to beans, meat, or seafood. Finally, use a low FODMAP curry sauce such as Casa de Sante's low FODMAP Certified Curry Sauce.
- Thai/Chinese/Japanese Cuisine: Stick to rice and rice noodles for your starch option. Load up your plate with steamed or stir-fried veggies such as carrots, cabbage, green beans, tomatoes, broccoli, bean sprouts, and bell pepper. Enjoy your protein without tempura or breading, and instead grill, steam, or bake your chicken, fish shrimp, beef, pork, or firm tofu. Finally, use low FODMAP friendly sauces such as gluten-free Kikkoman Tamari Soy Sauce or Ayara Pad Thai Sauce.
- Mexican Cuisine: Use corn tortillas and rice for your starch options. Stick to melted shredded cheddar instead of sour cream or avocado for a creamy, low FODMAP friendly meal topping. Stick to baked, grilled, or braised meats, seafood, or firm tofu for your protein source, or bread such items with cornmeal or crushed tortilla chips for extra crunch. Load up your dish with fiber-rich veggies such as tomatoes, bell pepper, lettuce, and cabbage instead of beans. Finally, use a low FODMAP certified salsa to finish off your favorite Mexican dish.
- American Cuisine: For burgers, stick to tomato, lettuce, a thin slice of cheddar or swiss cheese, and mustard or barbeque sauce for toppings. Use a gluten-free roll, or enjoy your burger in a lettuce wrap. For steaks, instead of mushrooms and onions as a topping, enjoy your steak with sauteed bell peppers on top or marinate your steak in a low FODMAP friendly infused oil such as Boyajian Garlic Infused oil. Finally, enjoy comfort foods like fried chicken with a crushed cornflake breading, or indulge in macaroni and cheese by using gluten-free pasta and a sauce made from lactose-free milk, a bit of butter, and shredded cheddar cheese.
Other low FODMAP friendly ways to flavor foods include:
- mayonnaise or oil-based dressings or vinaigrettes
- chutneys or jams made from strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, raspberries, orange, or rhubarb
- vegetables such as bamboo shoots, roasted turnips, or parsnip
- spices such as black pepper, paprika, turmeric, saffron, chili powder, cinnamon, or cumin, to name a few
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.