A reader recently asked me about getting enough fiber on the low-FODMAP diet. This was a big struggle for me when I first started, and I'm guessing a lot of you have the same question.
How do I Get Enough Fiber on the Low-FODMAP Diet?
Before I knew about the FODMAPs, I looked for fiber anywhere I could get it. Since my worst IBS symptom was constipation, I was a fiber junkie. I always aimed, at the very least, to hit the recommended daily intake of 25 grams for women under 50.
That meant my diet was full of whole wheat bread and pasta, oats, beans and lentils. Plus all the really high-fiber fresh produce: apples, pears, peaches, plums, asparagus, cauliflower, sweet potatoes.
I was getting plenty of fiber and nutrients, but I was also aggravating my IBS big time since most of those nutritious foods are also high in FODMAPs.
When I took the plunge and eliminated FODMAPs from my diet, I felt less gassy and bloated, but the constipation hung around. I hadn't taken the time to understand the challenges of the low-FODMAP diet, which often include a big reduction in fiber intake.
Over time, I did more research, asked more questions and figured out how to make the Low-fodmap diet fit with my needs.
First I'm sharing my personal plan for getting enough fiber in my diet and staying regular (which is the whole point, right?). Then I'll give more general info and tips about fiber on the low-FODMAP diet.
I've been really into designing pretty images lately, so I made a huge infographic to illustrate this post...Go ahead and PIN IT!
My Low-FODMAP High-Fiber Strategy: Foods & Supplements I Consume Almost Every Day
This is what works for me personally. I've figured it out slowly through lots of trial and error. Remember that all our bodies are different, and most importantly be patient with yourself. You'll figure this out!
Note that all nutrition information is approximate and comes from calorieking.com or the manufacturer's food label!
- 1 tbsp chia seeds (5 grams of fiber) added to various foods (hot cereal, yogurt, salads, grain bowls) throughout the day
- 1 to 3 tsp ground flax seeds (2 g per tbsp) added to various foods (yogurt, salads, sprinkled on roasted veggies) throughout the day
- 10 to 15 raspberries (2 g per 15 berries) 1 to 2 times per day
- Quinoa flakes (2 g per dry 1/3 cup serving)
- Brown Rice Farina or "cream of rice" (2 g per dry 1/4 cup serving)
- Quinoa (2 g per 1/3 cup cooked), brown rice (1 g per 1/3 cup cooked) or whole sorghum grain (4 g per 1/3 cup cooked). I keep my portions relatively small (about 1/3 cup cooked per serving, or 60 to 80g), or I'll start to feel overly full, especially with sorghum.
- Canned lentils, rinsed (4 g fiber per 46 g serving)
- Zucchini (1.3 g per 1/2 cup cooked)
- Spinach (3.5 g per 1/2 cup cooked)
- Collard greens (2.5 g per 1/2 cup cooked)
- Swiss Chard (2 g per 1/2 cup cooked)
- Eggplant (1.3 g per 1/2 cup cooked)
- Red bell peppers (2 g per cup raw, sliced)
- Carrots (2 g per 1/2 cup raw)
- Potatoes, red-skinned (3 g per 6 oz potato with skin)
- 1 heaping tablespoon whole husk psyllium mixed with flavored water (5 g)
- Magnesium Citrate: Magnesium citrate has mild laxative benefits, but it doesn't give me the cramping and discomfort that traditional laxatives do. I take 260 to 430 mg each day depending how my needs. Other types, such as magnesium glycinate and magnesium carbonate have different benefits.
Other high-fiber foods that regularly show up on my menu:
- Annie Chun Brown Rice Noodles, both pad thai-style and thin vermicelli (4 g fiber per 2 oz serving)
- Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins, sesame, chia or multi-seed flavor (3 g per 13 crackers). Almonds are the 2nd ingredient so test out your portion size if almonds upset your stomach. For reference a low-FODMAP serving of almonds is 12 g and a serving of these crackers is 30 g.
- Orgran Essential Fiber Crispibread Gluten Free (2.3 g per 2 crackers). Made with brown rice flour and sorghum, these crackers are low-FODMAP (no spices or weird ingredients!) and relatively high in fiber. The only bummer is I can only find them online.
- Blueberries (1.8 g per 1/2 cup)
- Strawberries (2.8 g per 10 medium/140 g)
- Almonds (2 g per 10 almonds)
- Peanuts (2.3 g per 1/4 cup/1 oz)
- Pecans (2 g per 10 pecan halves)
Okay, that list was kind of a snooze, so let's put it into practice. Here's an example of what I'd actually eat on a typical day incorporating those foods.
Sample Menu for a High-Fiber Low-FODMAP Day
1/3 cup (dry) quinoa flakes cooked with sea salt, topped with 2 tsp chia seeds, butter and 1 egg cooked over easy; 1/4 cup cooked spinach and a few pieces of roasted zucchini on the side. Fiber tally = 8 grams
1 (heaping) tbsp whole psyllium husk mixed with flavored water. 1 Orgran Crispibread topped with Dijon mustard and 1/2 ounce sharp cheddar cheese. Fiber = 6 grams
Grain/Veg/Chicken Bowl: 30 g quinoa, 30 g lentils, 56 g (2 oz) grilled chicken breast, roasted zucchini, sauteed matchstick carrots, sauteed spinach, 20 g chopped avocado, 1 to 2 chopped piquillo peppers (fodmap content untested). Topped with 1/2 cup lactose-free yogurt and hot sauce. I'll change this up based on what I have in the refrigerator. Sometimes, I add 1 tsp of chia seeds. I always have spinach and various roasted veggies on hand. I love adding roasted grapes. I often eat about 2/3 of my bowl, and finish it a couple hours later. Fiber = 10 g
Right after lunch: Peppermint tea and 2 small squares of 70% dark chocolate. Fiber = 0 g
Greek yogurt (about 90 g) with 10 to 15 raspberries, 1 1/2 tsp ground flax and cinnamon. (I might have this snack early before I work out or late, depending on when I eat breakfast and lunch. Note that Greek yogurt isn't low-FODMAP but contains less lactose than regular yogurt. If you like it, see how you react to it! Fiber = 3 g
I'm a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast and lunch, but dinners vary. Here's a favorite meal with a good fiber tally: Gluten free spaghetti (2 oz) + tomato-caper sauce (canned no-salt diced tomatoes simmered with garlic oil, red chile flakes, capers and squeeze of lemon juice) + water-packed sardines (or chicken or shrimp) + greens (collards if I have them alread cooked, or spinach) + 1 tbsp toasted GF breadcrumbs + 20 g chopped avocado. Fiber = 7 g
After Dinner: I always have chocolate, usually 70% dark chocolate with sea salt, which is low-FODMAP. But I also have regular stuff like kit kats and Reese's peanut butter cups (no more than half a pack). Fiber = 0 g
Total Fiber = 34 grams--woohoo!
I hope that helps you visualize how I build my meals with healthy, high-fiber ingredients and put it all together.
So are you tired from scrolling through this blog post yet? Haha. Like I said before, this is what works for me, but I hope you can use it as inspiration to experiment for yourself. And we can probably all agree that sorting out our fiber needs is key when reducing FODMAP intake, especially when doing the elimination phase!