Are your clothes getting loose? Do you feel like you have unplanned weight loss or an inability to gain weight because of your food intolerances? If so, then you are not alone. When you suffer from food intolerances, it can be a frustrating journey to find foods that don’t cause symptoms, are satisfying, and help you maintain a healthy level of nutrition. Visiting your doctor or dietitian can help you find an eating plan that works for you and your digestive condition. However, in the meantime, here are some low FODMAP foods that can help you gain weight.
So, you want to gain weight?
Whether you have unplanned weight loss, or are looking to gain weight for other reasons, it can be difficult to do when you have limited foods you can tolerate. However, it is not impossible. Here are some steps to get you started into creating a low FODMAP weight gain eating plan.
- Write down all foods you can currently tolerate. This includes foods you have consumed before with no symptoms. Don’t worry if you have tried a food in the past and didn’t like it. We will talk about this a bit more later.
- Add in new low FODMAP foods to your list. Grab your low FODMAP shopping list and skim through it. Are there any foods on the shopping list that you haven’t tried before? If so, add these to your list.
- Make sure you have several proteins and vegetables on your list. Protein and fiber are important parts of a healthy diet. Therefore, make sure that you have some protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, seafood, nuts, seeds, and/or lactose-free dairy as well as plenty of vegetable choices to choose from.
- Use your list to plan some meals. Pair a protein with a vegetable or two to create a meal idea. Do this for every protein on your list.
- Try new recipes. You don’t have to be a famous chef to create a delicious meal. Try some low FODMAP recipes, spices, and sauces to help create flavorful, safe, and healthy meals.
So, what low FODMAP foods can help me gain weight?
Many different foods can help you gain weight. It is really all about the portion sizes, and how you prepare the foods that will make a difference. Before you plan out portion sizes, you will need to know how many calories your body burns at rest. You can use a total daily energy expenditure (TDEE) calculator that uses your basal metabolic rate (BMR), or calories burned at rest, as well as your current activity level to figure out how many calories you need to maintain, lose, or gain weight.
Disclaimer: Remember, tools like these are just for providing estimates. Therefore, if you eat more than your calculated TDEE and are still losing weight or having trouble gaining, then add in more nutrition and see your healthcare provider for further assistance.
High calorie low FODMAP foods
To help you in your weight gain journey, here is a list of some low FODMAP foods that are calorie-dense. In other words, these foods contain a high amount of calorie in a smaller serving. A food that is 100 calorie or more per serving, could be considered on the higher end.
- Animal proteins like beef, pork, chicken, or turkey can range from about 100 to 150 calories or more per 3 ounce serving, depending on the fattiness of the cut of meat.
- Seafood like shrimp or fish can also be a great part of a weight gain diet. Shrimp are about 100 calories per 3 ounces, while fatty fish like trout, anchovies, catfish, or salmon can contain between around 150 calories or more per 3 ounce serving.
- Nuts can contain about 150 or more calories per ounce. You can eat them as a snack, or top on salads for an extra protein crunch.
- Seeds like sunflower, pumpkin, or chia seeds are around 120 or more calories per ounce. They can be eaten as a snack, sprinkled or salads, and you can even throw some in your morning oatmeal or coconut milk yogurt parfait.
- Lactose-free milk and related milk products with 1% or more milkfat can add about 100 calories or more per cup.
- Coconut milk and coconut milk products are dense in fat and calories. One cup of light coconut milk (the real stuff, not “coconut beverage”) contains about 150 calories, while regular coconut milk contains about 350 calories per cup. Coconut milk yogurt can contain 150 calories or more per cup, depending on how much sugar is added and whether light or regular coconut milk is used for processing. While coconut milk yogurt can be eaten as a snack or breakfast meal with fruit, coconut milk can be added to soups, sauces, or smoothies for extra fat, calories, and flavor.
- Butter contains about 100 calories per tablespoon and can be used to flavor foods and to add extra fat and calories to meals.
Other low FODMAP foods that can be great for adding in extra calories here and there include:
- Cheese: Most cheeses are about 70 calories per ounce. The only cheeses that would be off limits are ricotta and cream cheeses, which are high in FODMAPs.
- Eggs: Large eggs are about 60 calories each. You can have a hard-boiled egg as a snack or salad topping or scramble up an egg for breakfast or to put in your rice dish for extra protein and calories.
Take home message
No matter the reason why you want to gain weight, it is possible, even on a low FODMAP diet. The key will be to plan ahead so you can provide yourself with a variety of meal ideas as well as proper portions of foods that will help you meet your goal. As mentioned before, it may be beneficial to contact a health care provider like a doctor or dietitian to help you determine a treatment plan that will best help you reach your weight gain goals safely. Next time you go to the store, take our free, printable Low FODMAP shopping list to shop with ease!
Written by Staci Gulbin, MS, RD a Board-certified dietitian.