Embarking on the Low FODMAP Diet for Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) can be a bit overwhelming. In fact, it can be downright anxiety provoking. And as anyone who is familiar with IBS knows, anxiety does NOT go well with IBS. In fact, anxiety and stress can make symptoms worse.
While the Low FODMAP Diet can do wonders for identifying trigger foods, it is admittedly not easy. One of the most challenging things that people are faced with is what to eat. When starting out on this elimination diet, just sitting down and figuring out what is allowed can seem like a big endeavor. That's way I've decided to work on some posts to help give ideas on simple food or meal choices to make the transition to the Low FODMAP Diet a little easier. My first post of this nature will be all about breakfast. So here we have it - 10 Low FODMAP Breakfast Ideas...
Please note: all serving sizes (in brackets following food items) are based on recommendations from the Monash FODMAP app. You certainly don't have to have the serving size recommended in the brackets, just don't go over this amount.
OMELETTE WITH LOW FODMAP VEGETABLES and POTATOES
Eggs are an easy, low FODMAP protein that are perfect for breakfast. If you don't tolerate whole eggs, try an egg white omelette as this may be better tolerated in some individuals with IBS. The thing I like about eggs is their versatility. For me, eggs are all about what you pair them with. In this case, eggs can be paired with some low FODMAP veggies to make a delicious omelette (or scrambled eggs, if that's easier). My recommendation for a breakfast omelette is to stick to 1 or 2 half cup servings servings of low FODMAP veggies (so that's a total of 1 cup max veggies per omelette). The following low FODMAP veggies go great in eggs:
- Red and green bell peppers (1/2 cup)
- Broccoli florets (3/4 cup)
- Bok choy (1 cup)
- Zucchini (1/2 cup)
- Kale (1/2 cup)
- Spring onion/scallion - green part only (1 bunch)
- Spinach (1 cup)
- Tomato (1 small)
To accompany the eggs, potatoes make a great side. Potatoes (1 medium) are a low FODMAP and make a nice side to omelettes or scrambled eggs. For ease, try precooking (pre-boiling) potatoes the day before and lightly pan-frying them while your eggs are cooking. If you are sensitive to too much oil (or fried foods), simply reheat potatoes and flavour with herbs, like dill or rosemary.
Looking for some recipe inspiration for low FODMAP omelettes? Try this tasty Spinach, Feta and Pinenut Omelette recipe from Monash University.
Hot cereal, the old standby, luckily isn't off the table as a breakfast option while on the Low FODMAP Diet. Rolled oats, quinoa flakes, whole cooked quinoa and buckwheat groats can all be used to make a delicious bowl of hot cereal. Make sure they are cooked in either water, lactose-free milk or low FODMAP milk alternative (such as almond, oat, rice or hemp milk, or soy milk made with soy protein, not soybeans).
Hot cereal can be flavoured with cinnamon, brown sugar, maple syrup, and/or low FODMAP fruit such as blueberries (20 berries), raspberries (10 berries), or strawberries (10 medium berries). For extra crunch, try topping hot cereal with pecans (10 halves), chia seeds* (2 tablespoons), flax seeds* (1 tablespoon), hemp seeds (1 tablespoon), pumpkin seeds (2 tablespoons), or slivered almonds (2 tablespoon).
*Note: when adding chia, flax seeds or any other fiber source, please add slowly. When adding fiber-rich foods to your diet, it may take a while for your system to get use to the fiber. At first, try 1 teaspoon and increase to recommended serving size, as tolerated, in addition to drinking plenty of fluids.
For reference, the safe serving size for the following hot cereals is:
- rolled oats (1/2 cup, uncooked)
- quick oats (1/4 cup, uncooked)
- buckwheat groats (3/4 cup, cooked)
- quinoa flakes (1 cup, uncooked)
- quinoa (1 cup, cooked)
If you are curious about how to make whole cooked quinoa into a breakfast cereal, you can try this Low FODMAP Breakfast Quinoa recipe from Fun Without FODMAPS.
While typically wheat bread bread is a no-no on the Low FODMAP Diet due to its fructan (fructooligosaccharide) content, sourdough bread is usually tolerated by those with IBS. The catch is that the sourdough bread needs to be traditionally made. A traditional sourdough loaf takes 1-2 days to leaven and during this time fructans are broken down by the natural fermentation process. Some bakeries, in a quest to save time, add yeast to their bread to speed up the process which means that the bread does not have the time to break down the naturally occurring fructans in wheat.
If you wondering how to spot a sourdough that is acceptable on the low FODMAP diet, look at the ingredient list. If the sourdough has a simple 3 ingredients: wheat or 100% spelt flour, water and salt you should be okay on the FODMAP front. Any sourdough that is leavened with yeast is not appropriate. If you have a chance to talk to the bakery, you can also double check to see if the bread has been made traditionally (i.e. allowed to naturally leaven for 24-48 hours). If the bread has other ingredients, beyond the 3 mentioned above, the sourdough may still be okay. In this case, just make sure that there are no other high FODMAP ingredients listed (and the bread is traditionally made). Remember, if you you are eating sourdough bread, stick to a serving size of 2 slices.
If you can source out a traditionally made sourdough loaf, you are in for a treat. Toasted sourdough bread makes a delicious breakfast. Some suggested toppings for sourdough toast are:
- Peanut butter (2 tablespoons)
- Almond butter (1 tablespoon)
- Cheddar cheese (2 slices/40g), sliced tomato and basil
- Strawberry jam (2 tablespoons)
- Smoked salmon, plain goat cheese/chevre (1/2 cup), dill
*always check ingredients list as individual brands may add high FODMAP ingredients to products*
For a complete breakfast, round off the toast with a serving of low FODMAP fruit, and a lactose-free yogurt or glass of low FODMAP milk.
While some breakfast smoothies can be a high FODMAP disaster (i.e. lactose from milk, sorbitol and excess fructose from fruits), there are certainly ways to make smoothies compliant for the elimination phase of the Low FODMAP Diet.
My general formula for a low FODMAP smoothie is this:
- 1 cup lactose-free milk/low FODMAP plant-based milk (if using rice milk - limit to 3/4 cup) or 3/4 cup of lactose-free yogurt
- 1 serving of low FODMAP fruit (i.e. 1 medium unripe/yellow banana, 20 blueberries, 10 medium strawberries, 10 raspberries, 2 small kiwis)
- Protein (i.e. 1 tbsp tahini, 1-2 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp almond butter or protein powder such as 2 tbsp pea protein, brown rice protein or whey protein isolate)
- Optional - leafy greens like 1/2 cup spinach or kale, or 1/2 cup of peeled cucumber
- Optional (to increase fiber*, if needed) - up to 2 tbsp chia seeds or 1 tbsp flax seeds or up to 1/4 cup of uncooked oats
- Extra water or ice cubes can be added during blending to obtain desired consistency
*remember to add fiber slowly, if it is something new to you
Protip: A general rule is to keep fruit intake to 1 serving per meal. In smoothies it is especially easy to overdo fruit, so it's important to be mindful of the amount of fruit you are using when making smoothies.
Need some smoothie inspiration? Try this Low FODMAP Banana Bread Smoothie from Monash University.
Breakfast wraps are a great way to start off the day. The best thing about them is that they are very versatile. Start yourself off with a gluten-free, low FODMAP wrap such as a corn tortilla and add ingredients as you like such as:
- scrambled eggs
- tomatoes (1 medium)
- low FODMAP cheese (1-2 slices - see Monash App for specific serving sizes for different cheeses)
- bell peppers (1/2 cup)
- spinach (1/2 cup)
- scallion/green onion - green part only
- avocado (1/8 of whole avocado)
Once you've selected the ingredients, simply wrap up the tortilla around the filling and enjoy! And if you don't want to wrap it, why not try making a low FODMAP breakfast quesadilla instead?
We've already discussed oatmeal in terms of a hot cereal but oatmeal can also be used to make another delicious breakfast, baked oatmeal. What's great about baked oatmeal is that can be 1) portable (especially if baked in muffin tins) and 2) can be batched cooked and eaten for multiple breakfasts. Both of these reasons alone make baked oatmeal a great choice for a low FODMAP breakfast.
So, what the heck to you make baked oatmeal, you ask? It's made from rolled oats, eggs, low-FODMAP milk, baking powder, and something to flavour it such as maple syrup, cinnamon or low FODMAP fruit. If you want a recipe to use for inspiration, check out Registered Dietitian Kate Scarlata's Baked Oatmeal Cups for on the go! As far a serving size goes, I would say that two of these oatmeal cups would be appropriate on the elimination portion of the Low FODMAP Diet (if made in a standard muffin tin).
Despite its misleading name, buckwheat is not wheat and it is both gluten free and low FODMAP. Just like regular wheat flour pancakes, pancakes made with buckwheat flour are easy to make and can be topped with delicious maple syrup or low FODMAP fruit.
To make these pancakes you'll need buckwheat flour, eggs, low FODMAP milk, baking powder (optional) and a cooking oil/butter (for the pan). If buckwheat pancakes are something that pique your interest, check out these recipes Buckwheat Pancakes from Karlijn's Kitchen and Buckwheat Pancakes with Yogurt and Blood Orange from She Can't Eat What?
BOILED EGG, TOAST AND FRUIT
So, this is a fairly simple (or shall I say classic?) breakfast. It's not fancy but still deserves a mention. What I love about boiled eggs is that they can be batched cooked (and kept in the fridge) which can make them an easy and quick breakfast option. Boiled eggs go nicely with a side of gluten-free, low FODMAP toast (perhaps with butter or strawberry jam), low FODMAP (lactose-free) yogurt and a serving of low FODMAP fruit, such as 1/2 cup cantaloupe, 1 medium starfruit/carambola, 1 cup grapes, 1 medium naval orange or 1 cup of papaya.
Boiled eggs can also be sliced and put on toast (open-faced or sandwich style) with a low FODMAP portion of cheese, a tomato slice, arugula, spinach or even a slice of bacon.*
*Monash University researchers recommend bacon cured with nitrates and not cured with celery powder/extract/juice. Also, make sure the bacon you use is not made with any other high FODMAP ingredients.
For the non-egg eaters out there, this option could be for you. Whether you just don't like eggs, can't tolerate them, or don't eat them for other reasons, scrambled tofu is a good alternative to scrambled eggs. For scrambled tofu, be sure to use firm or medium-firm tofu as it is low FODMAP at 2/3 cup (Silken/soft tofu contains high amounts of oligosaccharides and should be avoided).
Like scrambled eggs, scrambled tofu is very versatile and can be made with a number of low FODMAP vegetables, cheese (including soy cheese), as well as many different combos of herbs and spices. Check out this Scrambled Tofu recipe from Monash University for some inspiration.
Want a quick, make ahead, fiber-rich breakfast? Well, a chia pudding could be just what you are looking for. The technique behind making chia puddings is quite simple - simple mix chia seeds with a fluid (in this case a low FODMAP milk), add some flavour and then let sit for a while to thicken it into a pudding. I find it's best to make chia pudding at night, so that they are ready for to grab for a quick breakfast in the morning (or even for a snack, some other time of the day).
According to Monash University, the safe serving size for chia seeds is 2 tablespoons but since some people may react to them, it's best to introduce them slowly into your diet. Anytime you add fiber to your diet, it's best to do so slowly and make sure you are drinking sufficient fluids.
If you'd like more breakfast inspiration, check out Monash University's recipe index for more breakfast ideas!
Want to read more about FODMAPs? Check out these blog posts: