Plan to Eat is completely customizable, which makes it a great tool for anyone on a special diet. Regardless of whether you are into Paleo, Vegetarian, Vegan, battling food allergies, or able to eat anything (lucky you!!), Plan to Eat is your place to collect and organize recipes that are specific and perfect for you.
It happens that two of us at Plan to Eat have been eating low FODMAP diets for the past few years as a way to manage food allergies. We’ve recently noticed an increase in FODMAP recipes in Plan to Eat accounts, so we reached out to an expert to see if she had any meal planning tips for those of us that are following the FODMAP protocol.
Onikepe (Onyx) Adegbola, MD PhD is a physician scientist and former pharmaceutical executive. She received her PhD at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and completed her medical training at Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania. As a mother of rambunctious triplets, she has observed the effectiveness of the low FODMAP diet firsthand in her own family, which led her to found Casa de Sante, a company that specializes in low FODMAP products for people with IBS and digestive sensitivities.
If you are new to the FODMAP diet, you are probably overwhelmed by the restriction of the diet and don’t know where to start. However, planning meals for a low FODMAP diet is quite doable! Below are 8 tips and tricks that Dr. Adegbola shared with us to help you on your FODMAP journey:
Tip #1: Know what to eat and what to avoid
Before you embark on this diet, it is essential to know what foods are high/low in FODMAPs, in order to prepare your meals accordingly. A great way to remind yourself of what you can or cannot eat is to have the low/high FODMAP list at hand. Also, take a look at the official Monash low and high FODMAP list. Print the page, and stick it up on your refrigerator. Download it on your phone and tablet. When you have the list, grocery shopping and eating out will be a piece of cake! You will know exactly what foods to avoid while you are planning for your shopping.
Tip #2: Prepare bulk meals for the week
Save time, money and effort by creating a few portions of the same meal to last a couple of days. One way to cook up a bulk meal is by throwing some ingredients into a crockpot or Instant Pot and portioning out the food into portioned containers that you can find almost anywhere. Stick them in the fridge, and simply microwave the containers when you are about to have the meal.
Tip #3: Get inspired
Stuck for recipes this week? There are tons of online Low FODMAP recipe banks, social media groups, and websites that can help you get some inspiration. Check out the Casa de Sante website for weekly meal plans and delicious recipe ideas. The internet is bursting with creative FODMAP recipes!
Import your recipes into your Plan to Eat account to create your own personalized meal plans in seconds. Create a “FODMAP” tag on your recipes in Plan to Eat to organize them for future reference. That way you will never run out of new meal ideas, and will always have recipes to supplement your meal plan.
Tip #4: Keep a meal journal
Have a favorite FODMAP recipe? Take note of it in your journal! A certain meal didn’t agree with you? Keep a record. Having a meal journal is an excellent way of tracking your meal planning, to see what is/isn’t working for you. Every individual with IBS is different, and can get triggered by different foods. It is essential to know exactly what your body can accept, so you can plan your future meals with ease.
Tip #5: Optimize your pantry & stock up on spices
To make life easier, go through your pantry and remove any high FODMAP foods. Keep your pantry well-stocked with low FODMAP spices, oils, sauces and condiments. That way, cooking a low FODMAP meal will be hassle-free. Spices are a wonderful way of flavoring your recipes, without using many ingredients. The difference between a Mexican fajita dish, or an Indian tikka dish is a few spices. Buy spices and herbs in bulk, and toss them into any dish to create new meals in seconds.
Tip #6: Have a back-up plan
No matter how perfect your meal plan may be, it is inevitable that you may be one meal short, or need a meal in a hurry. Always having a backup plan is a great idea – so you never fall off track! The easiest way to do this is by stacking your freezer with ready meals, frozen vegetables, and frozen meats that can be whipped up in seconds. That way, you will still be in control of your low FODMAP diet, without too much fuss.
Tip #7: Schedule time to cook
Assign some time every week for grocery shopping, meal planning and meal preparing. For most people, a good starting point is to cook meals on a Sunday evening. Check what works for your schedule, and set time aside! Once you have a time slot for your meal planning, you will be more inclined to follow through with it every week. It will quickly become a weekly habit, and meal planning will be a piece of cake.
Tip #8: Plan it out
Plan your weekly meal plan on paper or in your Plan to Eat account and you will know exactly what to eat. Write down the ingredients, recipe details, and any special requirements.
Here is a sample meal plan template to help you get started:
Breakfast: Vegetable Egg Muffins
Morning Snack: Unsalted peanuts and frozen grapes
Lunch: Tuna Salad Lettuce Wraps
Afternoon Snack: Eggplant dip & carrots
Dinner: Grilled Steak & Herb Sauce with Homemade Potato Wedges
Remember that there are a ton of resources that you can access with a simple Google search. And, as with any new journey, preparation and planning is key!
Onikepe (Onyx) Adegbola, MD PhD is the founder of Casa de Sante where they sell low FODMAP products for people with IBS and digestive sensitivities. Their brand products are FODMAP Friendly certified and they also sell FODMAP Dietitian approved products. All Casa de Sante products are small batch, artisan and made with the finest ingredients and contain no additives, preservatives or fillers.