Plant-Based Cookout Delights for Low FODMAP and GERD Diets
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Plant-Based Cookout Delights for Low FODMAP and GERD Diets

Published on Monday, May 20, 2024
by
Savannah Duffy

Health & Wellness

Cookout Cuisine: Plant-Based Alternatives for Digestive Wellness

Spring has officially sprung, which means we are moving into cookout season. While we turn up the flames on our grills, the last thing we want in “flame” is our GI systems. Plant-based eaters who are following a Low FODMAP diet for IBS or fighting GERD can still partake in the festivities with a plan in place.

Savory Grilling Alternatives for Gut Health

Traditional cookout foods include hot dogs, hamburgers, steak, and other high-fat meat choices. We know that high-fat foods, in general, can be a significant GERD trigger, which makes plant options an ideal alternative. Bean burgers, lentil patties, mushrooms, or cauliflower “steaks” can all be grilled for a savory dish. Beware that many of the faux meat burgers and sausages are high in saturated fat content, so sticking to the whole-food alternatives may ease your tummy trouble.

For folks avoiding high FODMAP foods, the grilling options are a little more limited. Unfortunately, beans, lentils, mushrooms, and cauliflower also fall into the high FODMAP food groups. Faux meats can trigger IBS symptoms because many are made of irritating soy-based proteins or have ingredients like garlic or onion added to them for flavor. Instead, try grilling up an extra firm tofu or tempeh. These options are low in FODMAPs, high in protein, and low in fat. It’s a win-win-win!

Sides that Shine: Rounding Out Your Meal with Digestive Harmony:

Now that we have the main dish covered let’s look at some gut-friendly side options.

Grilled veggie skewers: Some vegetables can only be tolerated in small portions without triggering GI issues. Corn on the cob and carrots fall into this category for those following a Low FODMAP diet. Luckily, there are plenty of Low FODMAP vegetables that go great on the grill. My favorites are green bell pepper, zucchini, squash, and eggplant. Slice and assemble them on a skewer for a side everyone can enjoy.

Potatoes: Potatoes are almost universally loved and almost universally tolerated. Sweet potatoes are Low FODMAP if kept to ½ cup or less, but white potatoes are safe for the gut. Grill them up directly, cut them into fries, or make a potato salad. Just be careful with how you top them. High-fat dairy like cheese and sour cream may trigger GERD symptoms if eaten in large amounts.

Sweet treat: Spring and summer bring various seasonal fruit options. Try a FODMAP-friendly fruit salad with cantaloupe, honeydew melon, oranges, and strawberries. If you are not on a Low FODMAP diet, try grilling up apples, peaches, or pears and pairing them with a dollop of low-fat ice cream or whipped topping to help you take a break from the heat.

Condiment Considerations: Topping Off Your Dish with Gut-Friendly Flavors

I’m all about the condiments. If we aren’t careful, they can be a sneaky source of GERD or IBS triggers if they are high in fat, contain garlic, or are spicy. Here are some helpful condiment hints: 

  • Low FODMAP toppings include the classic mayonnaise and mustard. 
  • Jams made without high fructose corn syrup (a high-FODMAP ingredient) can pair very well with the main dish to provide a savory-sweet contrast.
  • Garlic-free sweet chili sauce and tamari can be used to make marinades for those tempeh and tofu dishes. Not sure what tamari is? It is similar to soy sauce but contains less of the triggering wheat. 
  • You’ll want to avoid relish and use caution with ketchup and hummus to limit GI discomfort on the Low FODMAP diet. Try Low FODMAP-certified ketchup or make a homemade FODMAP-friendly hummus like this one from Dr. Rachel Pauls to be on the safe side!
  • Again, make sure you stick to the milder options! To prevent GERD, leave the heat on the grill, not your seasonings.

While you may or may not be the grill master, you can certainly master your gut health without skipping out on all the fun. Don’t forget to practice food safety when grilling, and let us know what your favorite plant-based grilling recipes are in the comments below!

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