7. Eating a Balanced Diet During FODMAP Elimination

In this lesson we’ll be talking through how you can make sure your diet stays balanced during FODMAP elimination.

By Laura Tilt

In this lesson we’ll be talking through how you can make sure your diet stays balanced during FODMAP elimination.

A low FODMAP diet restricts many foods, making it harder to maintain a healthy balanced diet. It can also be more challenging to get all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. For example, research shows that a low FODMAP diet can lead to low intakes of carbohydrates, fibre and calcium. This is one of the reasons we recommend meal planning. By planning your meals using some simple guidelines, you’ll have a better chance of keeping your diet balanced and healthy.

Our Golden Rule During Elimination

Our golden rule is to make sure that you REPLACE whatever foods you REMOVE with a food from the same food group. So, for example, if you usually have an apple as a snack, don’t stop having the snack – swap it for an orange or some pineapple. If you usually have pasta with your dinner, try replacing it with rice, or potato.

How to Plan a Healthy Balanced Diet When Following FODMAP Elimination

A healthy, balanced diet depends on eating a variety of foods from the five food groups. These five groups are in the table below.

Food group  Low FODMAP examples  Top tips for a healthy balance  
Grains and starchy foods Potatoes, oats, rice and gluten free pasta, quinoa,  Choose wholegrain or high fibre varieties where possible. Include a serving of starchy food with each meal.  
Fruits and vegetables  Oranges, raspberries, firm banana, rhubarb, passion fruit, aubergine, kale, cucumber, carrots,  Include at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables each day. There are two servings in each Field Doctor meal.  
Protein foods Chicken, eggs, meat, mackerel, salmon, small portions of beans, peas and lentils, firm tofu  If you eat fish, try to include two servings a week, at least one oily fish like salmon or mackerel.  
Dairy or dairy alternatives Lactose free milk, cheddar, feta, mozzarella,  Aim for 2-3 servings of dairy or calcium fortified alternatives each day  
Fats and oils All fats and oils are low FODMAP  Choose healthy fats like olive oil and use in small amounts

A Simple Rule for a Healthy Balance

Here's a simple rule you can use to achieve a healthy balance. With each meal, include something from the grains group, protein group and fruit or vegetables group in each meal. For example:

  • Breakfast - Porridge with milk and raspberries
  • Lunch – Quinoa salad with canned mackerel, tomatoes and cucumber
  • Dinner – Field Doctor meal - smokey chipotle meatballs with a sweet potato & potato mash
  • Snacks – corncakes with peanut butter and banana

Creating your meal plan

You’ll find a blank meal planner in the resources area which you can use to plan your meals. Begin your meal plan by adding your Field Doctor meals.

Each Field Doctor meal contains two servings of vegetables, plus a starchy food and a protein. This will give you a head start on achieving a healthy balance each day. From here you can plan your third meal (which will likely be breakfast!) and snacks. Use the FODMAP directory to help you make low FODMAP choices.

If you're stuck for ideas, think about what you usually have, and what you can swap in to make it low FODMAP. If you like boiled eggs and toast for breakfast, keep the eggs, and swap your usual toast for a gluten free variety. If you usually have fruit and yoghurt as a snack, check out which fruits are low FODMAP and team one of those with some lactose free yoghurt.

Once you’ve completed your plan, use the table above to check if you have a healthy balance. Do you have 5 servings of fruit and vegetables each day? Could you make any of your starchy food choices wholegrain? Have you included two servings of dairy? (top tip -try including dairy foods or alternatives in your breakfast and snacks. E.g. lactose free milk on cereal, cheese and fruit as a snack)

Remember that you can adjust your meal plan as you move forwards. There's no need to be hungry whilst following a low FODMAP diet, and you shouldn’t lose weight either. If you are hungry or losing weight, this suggests you’re not eating enough to meet your energy needs. If this happens, try adding an extra snack or make your servings of starchy foods (like pasta or bread) bigger.