Spring is here, the flowers are blooming, and Easter is right around the corner. Although this is a joyous time full of the spirit of new beginnings, holiday meals can be challenging for anyone with a digestive condition on a specialized diet. Holiday meals can be difficult for those on a low FODMAP diet since you can never be too sure of the ingredients in some home-cooked dishes, especially if you are not hosting. Therefore, use the following tips to help you enjoy a delicious Easter meal while staying on your low FODMAP diet regimen.
- Load up on safe veggies such as broccoli, cabbage, carrots, green beans, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. If you are not sure if low FODMAP friendly vegetables will be on the menu, then bring a fresh spring green salad to share chock full of lettuce greens, cucumbers, peppers, and kale. Also, bring along a bottle or two of low FODMAP friendly Casa de Sante salad dressing to share.
- Next, pick a lean protein and dig in: Most proteins are safe on a low FODMAP eating plan as long as they are not processed, filled with gluten-containing ingredients, or are covered with sauces full of high fructose corn syrup or wheat flour-based thickeners. Fill your plate with chicken, turkey, pork, lean beef, seafood, and Easter eggs! If eating meatless, look for a bean and rice option, or bring your own quinoa salad, tofu dish, or prepare a pre-meal nut-based snack mix.
- Bring your gluten-free starchy dish if you think you may be tempted: If bread or pasta are too tempting to pass up, no matter the aftermath, then perhaps it would be best to bring your own gluten-free starchy dish to help you stay on track. Whether it’s a loaf of gluten-free bread, a package of rice crackers, or gluten-free macaroni and cheese made with rice-based pasta and cheddar cheese, bringing your own starch may save you from a stomachache.
- Eat clean…as in sans sauce, unless you know what is in it. This is because garlic and onion as well as high fructose corn syrup is in a lot of processed sauces and condiments and could cause you serious discomfort. Therefore, eat your proteins and veggies without any toppings, or bring your own sauce such as this low FODMAP salsa.
- Skip dessert…unless there is fruit salad: The Easter dinner table, if its anything like my family’s, is full of delicious homemade pies, cupcakes, puddings, and candy dishes. Therefore, if you have a sweet tooth and know that unsafe treats will be calling your name, then bring a sweet treat to share that is low FODMAP safe like Brownie Brittle. You may also be lucky enough to encounter a fruit salad or fruit tray at your holiday event that will likely have safe fruits such as strawberries, grapes, kiwi, pineapple, and honeydew melon.
- Drink lots of water throughout the holiday event since sugary drinks like cola and juice full of high fructose corn syrup are high FODMAP. To keep your digestion happy this holiday, bring your own bottle of LemonAID Ayurvedic Digestive drink to settle your stomach after meal time to end your holiday on a soothing note.
One of the most important things you can do this Easter is plan ahead. If you are hosting, then search for some delicious recipes that both you and your loved ones can enjoy. If you are going to someone’s home for the holidays or eating out, then check the menu ahead of time so you can be sure there is going to be something there you can eat, or let the host or hostess know about your diet needs so you can bring a safe dish if necessary. Shopping for Low FODMAP Foods doesn’t have to be tricky, just bring along Casa De Sante’s free Low FODMAP grocery list and you’re good to go.
Most importantly, however, is to have fun and enjoy your time with loved ones! Happy Easter everyone!
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.