Making heads or tails of the low FODMAP diet without reliable guidance can be really tricky.
Although the diet can provide relief for people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), there’s unfortunately no guesstimating the FODMAP content of a food (even though we can sometimes get away with it for other metrics such as carbs, calories, and portion sizes).
That means that following a strict low FODMAP diet requires a good deal of planning and a well-stocked pantry.
In this article, we’ll share a little bit about the low FODMAP diet, and how it works, along with a comprehensive low FODMAP shopping list.
What Is the Low FODMAP Diet?
To explain the low FODMAP diet, we first need to define FODMAPs. FODMAP is short for:[*]
- And Polyols
These are types of indigestible sugars found in certain foods. While we can’t digest them ourselves, the gut bacteria residing in our large intestine can. However, when digested by gut bacteria, these foods produce large amounts of gas, which can distend and irritate the digestive tract and cause many unpleasant digestive symptoms.[*]
Therefore, a low FODMAP diet is a diet consisting of foods that are low in these compounds.
The diet appears to be particularly helpful for people with irritable bowel syndrome. Several studies have noted that following a low FODMAP diet has resulted in improvements in symptoms and quality of life for people with IBS.[*][*]
Who Is It For?
Although the low FODMAP diet was designed for, and seems to be the most beneficial for, people with IBS, people with other digestive issues may decide to try the diet as well.
Foods to Eat On a Low FODMAP Diet
While following a low FODMAP diet sounds pretty straightforward — “just don’t eat high FODMAP foods” — it’s a bit more complicated than that.
It is impossible to tell which foods contain high versus low levels of FODMAPs without expensive laboratory testing. There is almost no rhyme or reason to the FODMAP content of foods.
While with diets like Keto we can identify high-carb foods to avoid by checking the Nutrition Facts label, the ingredient label, or simply discerning if the food is high in carbs from looking at it, this isn’t the case with FODMAPs.
That’s why we recommend downloading the Monash FODMAP app to help you identify low vs. high FODMAP foods more easily.
Below, we have a comprehensive list of low FODMAP food items. But first, let’s talk about what to avoid on a low FODMAP diet.
Foods to Avoid on a Low FODMAP Diet
On a low FODMAP diet, you need to avoid high FODMAP foods. Here’s a list of some commonly eaten foods that are high in FODMAPs, according to Monash University.[*]
- Meats: sausage, salami, meats served with gravy, marinated meats
- Dairy: milk, soft cheeses, yogurt
- Grains: wheat flour bread, pasta, crackers, and cereal, as well as rye
- Legumes: red beans, split peas, baked beans, falafel
- Nuts and seeds: cashews, pistachios
- Fruit: apples, blackberries, peaches, mangoes, plums, cherries, figs, pears, watermelon, dried fruit
- Vegetables: artichokes, mushrooms, garlic, leeks, cauliflower, onion, snow peas
- Sweeteners: honey, high fructose corn syrup, sugar alcohols (erythritol, sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, etc.)
Low FODMAP Shopping List
Here’s a comprehensive low FODMAP whole foods shopping list that can help you to navigate the low FODMAP diet successfully. We have also created a print and keep version as a handy go-to guide.
Note that you may gradually be able to add in other moderate or high FODMAP foods that don’t affect you personally, but for now this list only contains foods that are lowest in FODMAPs.
Meats and Meat Alternatives
- All plain, minimally processed meat, eggs, and seafood free of marinades and gravies
- Tofu, drained and firm
- Soy protein
Dairy and Dairy Alternatives
- Lactose-free cow’s milk
- Soy milk
- Lactose-free yogurt
- Goat’s cheese
- Cottage cheese (in moderation)
- Monterey Jack
- Cream cheese (in moderation)
- Feta cheese
- Swiss cheese
- Almond milk
- Macadamia nut milk
- Gluten-free breads or pastas
- Small servings of black beans, lentils, and chickpeas are permissible, but limit to ½ cup
Nuts and Seeds
- Almonds (in moderation)
- Brazil nuts
- Hazelnuts (in moderation)
- Macadamia nuts
- Pine nuts
- Chia seeds
- Hemp seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Cantaloupe (in moderation)
- Pineapple, fresh (in moderation)
- Lemon juice
- Lime juice
- Passionfruit (in moderation)
- Bean sprouts
- Broccoli (in moderation)
- Bok choy (in moderation)
- Cabbage (in moderation)
- Bell pepper (in moderation)
- Hot peppers (in moderation)
- Collard greens
- Zucchini (in moderation)
- Eggplant (in moderation)
- Heart of palm
- Pumpkin (in moderation)
- Kabocha squash
- Sweet potato (in moderation)
- Scallion greens
- Okra (in moderation)
- Leek, leaves only
- Spaghetti squash
- Baby spinach
- Yellow squash
- Swiss chard
- Tomato (in moderation)
- Water chestnut
These foods don’t fit in any of the categories listed above. Remember for products that contain multiple ingredients (like hot cocoa or mayonnaise), you’ll need to check the ingredient label for individual high FODMAP ingredients.
- Fats/oils: butter, duck fat, ghee, mayonnaise, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, sesame oil, walnut oil, coconut cream
- Herbs and spice: all except for garlic or onion powder (or blends containing these)
- Sweeteners: stevia, coconut sugar
- Beverages: drinking chocolate/hot cocoa, cranberry juice, espresso, instant coffee, black tea, green tea, peppermint tea
- Alcoholic beverages: gin, brandy, vodka, whiskey, red wine, white wine
Now you have your low FODMAP pantry stocked, you can get creative in the kitchen. Why not get started with some of these delicious low FODMAP recipes from the Carb Manager recipe team
- Low FODMAP Lebanese Tabbouleh Salad
- Low FODMAP Moroccan Chicken
- Low-FODMAP Turkey and Zucchini Stuffed Peppers with Scallions and Cumin
- Easy Low-FODMAP Herby Salmon and Spinach Frittata Egg Muffins
- Easy Low FODMAP Keto Vietnamese Chicken Salad
Low FODMAP diets can be tough, but they’re more than worth it if you have IBS. Avoiding high FODMAP foods can help reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life, without requiring medication or more invasive or extensive medical treatments.
However, one of the things that makes them so challenging is figuring out which foods are low in FODMAPs. Unfortunately, it’s not immediately obvious which foods are low or high in FODMAPs, so we have to depend on resources like Monash FODMAP to help us identify these foods.
Carb Manager has partnered with Monash FODMAP to bring you Monash-approved low FODMAP recipes which you can use to build your gut-friendly meal plans and shopping lists, so be sure to join Carb Manager Premium to access these handy resources.