Mastering the Low FODMAP Diet on the Go: Tips for Busy LivesPublished on Tuesday, January 23, 2024 by
On-the-Go with IBS: Low FODMAP Meal Prep for a Busy Lifestyle
Life is eventful between work, school, kids' activities, and training for the next race. Our friends and family always comment on how our family is continually doing something, frequently asking if we are ever at home. When it comes to meals, we have mastered eating on the go or at least having a plan.
For myself, having irritable bowel syndrome can make that tricky, but I am learning how to recognize trigger foods and prevent flare-ups. If you can relate, whether it's a busy family life or you are just an active person, I hope the following tips can help you.
Structured Meal Planning for Success
I discovered very early that I have to have a plan. Whether you map out your meals for the week in a menu format or do complete meal prep on the weekend, having structure keeps you on the right track. Sure, not every week is perfect, but if I do not have some plan going into our week, our eating schedule gets all out of whack.
Generally, I do meal prep on the weekend, making interchangeable dinner and lunch meals. I will also prepare and cook the protein portion of the meal at a minimum, as that is what takes the most time. With meal prep, making three meals gives us the most variety, and the commitment to cooking is manageable. The last thing you want is to spend your whole weekend consumed by meal prep.
You probably think, okay, this is a great pep talk, but I need some examples. Well, I have you covered. You can reference the article: Smart Shopping: How to Build a Low FODMAP Pantry for IBS Relief. You can also look for great Low FODMAP recipes on the site (see below for helpful links).
Effortless On-the-Go Low FODMAP Snacking
Having Low FODMAP food on hand makes planning and prepping much easier. You can find a beneficial shopping list on Kate Scarlata’s website and reference the previously mentioned article on pantry essentials. You can find great FODMAP-approved snack ideas at your desk, in your car, in a purse, or in a gym bag.
If you are looking for different recipe ideas, check out this Eggroll in a Bowl, or if you feel like having a fiesta, you can make some FODMAP-friendly Tacos! There are also snack ideas specifically tailored to the elimination phase of the Low FODMAP diet, including egg florentine muffins, quinoa salad, chia pudding, and Caprese rice cakes.
Quick and Easy Low FODMAP Options
Another tip is to have ready and available easy protein options, such as shredded chicken, hard-boiled eggs, canned tuna, chickpeas, lentils, or even cubed firm tofu. You just need to add a couple of ingredients (condiment/sauce and vegetable), and you can have a wrap, bowl, sandwich, or salad.
Low FODMAP-friendly veggies include cucumbers, spinach, tomatoes, ½ sweet potato, bell peppers, carrots, and many more. Safe fruits include bananas, blueberries, cantaloupe, grapes, kiwi, strawberries, lemons, lime, and oranges, to name some popular options. Remember that there may be some foods you have determined to be triggers; make sure you replace or eliminate those foods from your favorite recipes and always verify Low FODMAP servings using resources such as the Monash University app.
Adapting to Real-Life Scenarios
Please understand no one is perfect; sometimes, the best plan may not come to fruition. That is okay; for example, I do not always have time to make three meals, or we are traveling or just want to treat ourselves by eating out. Our family has some go-to restaurants with FODMAP-friendly items I can eat without flaring up. Based on what my GI tract can handle, I have had to figure this out through trial and error.
To better understand what works specifically for you, keep a journal for trigger foods and favorite recipes. You can also keep track of different restaurants and safe menu items that you can enjoy. Remember for all premade products to check the ingredient list and ensure it is a FODMAP-friendly food before consuming it. Eating should be enjoyable, not stressful, so Bon appetite with these helpful ideas.
Kari TallentMA, RD