Lunch can sometimes be the forgotten meal of the day. You may be so caught up in your work and errands that this afternoon meal can easily become an afterthought. Therefore, it is important to have quick and easy lunch ideas up your sleeve so that you can get in the habit of having this important meal that will fill in the nutritional gaps of the day.
Being on a low FODMAP regimen can make the meal planning process even more difficult. However, with a little practice, creating delicious and easy low FODMAP lunch ideas can become like second nature. Let the following low FODMAP lunch ideas give you inspiration for your next meal plan:
- Veggie and Grain Bowl: Combine a cup of whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, or wild rice with your favorite vegetables for a quick, balanced lunch bowl. Flavorful combinations include sweet potatoes and brown rice with greens or quinoa with cucumber salad and crushed peanuts on top. You can prep the grains in a large batch at the beginning of the week and distribute it into portable containers for the week. For vegetables, you can prep raw veggies such as cucumbers, tomatoes, carrots, or broccoli every few days, or cook a large batch of vegetables at the start of the week and place into small containers for the rest of the week. For extra protein, add in nuts, seeds, or toss on some easy protein choices such as canned tuna, precooked chicken strips, or thin-sliced deli meat.
- Protein Smoothie: If you are not sure if you are going to have time to sit down to eat a meal at lunch, turn to a smoothie option. You can prep your smoothie the night before and just grab your bottle from the fridge on your way out the door on your way to work or to running your errands. Start your smoothie with a scoop of low FODMAP whey protein powder into your blender. Then add in some frozen berries, pineapple, or unripened banana. Follow up with some kale or spinach leaves for extra fiber. Finally, finish off your smoothie with unsweetened almond milk or plant-based, non-dairy yogurt such as almond or coconut milk based yogurt. For extra protein, you can always add in flax seed, chia seeds, or peanut butter. Blend together with some ice for a delicious portable meal option.
- Gluten-free sandwich: Start with two slices of gluten-free bread or two leaves of lettuce. Top with your favorite meats and a slice of low-lactose sharp cheddar cheese. Load up your sandwich with fiber-rich veggies such as sprouts, cucumbers, tomatoes, or lettuce. If you want some extra flavor on your sandwich, add a teaspoon or two of flavored oil such as low FODMAP Boyajian garlic oil or sprinkle on seasonings such as the low FODMAP Tuscan Herb mix by Casa de Sante.
- Slow cooker soup: When you are short on time, but want to enjoy a nutritious lunch, make a big pot of slow cooker soup. An easy recipe to start with involves just a few steps. First, wash and prep your vegetables such as carrots, diced potato, radishes, tomatoes, squash, and green beans. Set these vegetables to the side. Throw in some sort of protein such as boneless, skinless chicken thighs, pork shoulder, or a beef roast. Next, toss vegetables into the slow cooker pot and top with about 3-6 cups of bouillon, depending on how much broth you enjoy in your soup and enough broth to cover the protein source. Cook on high for about 6-8 hours, depending on the size of the protein. You can prep this soup overnight, so you can have it ready to eat for lunch for several days thereafter. For food safety, any soups with meat in them should be consumed within 3-4 days after cooking.
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.