holidays

How to Manage Holiday Eating (& beat stress) on the FODMAP Diet

Learn 5 tips for holiday eating on the fodmap diet, and 3 ways to manage stress. Keeping your IBS in check while enjoying Christmas and Hanukah celebrations is possible! Click through to read more! #fodmap #IBS

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The holidays are right around the corner. That often means busy schedules, travel, long to-do lists, and plenty of festive food. 

This is all GOOD stuff, but it can also make sticking to the low-FODMAP Diet harder. Luckily, there’s a way to set yourself up for success, even if there’s a house full of Christmas candy calling your name.

To avoid having IBS get in the way of your holiday fun, you just need to plan ahead.

There are two key areas to focus on if you want to feel great throughout the holidays: Smart eating and stress management. 

I talked about each key area in its own edition of Calm Belly TV, my live show I stream on the Calm Belly Kitchen Facebook page. You can also read the tips and strategies below.

You don’t need to use every single tip! Cherry pick the ones that speak to you and your situation. If you want to learn more about any of these tips, be sure to watch the video.

You also don’t need to spend much time creating your plan. Here's what I recommend:

  • Write down the strategies you’ll use (be specific about how and when you’ll put them to work)
  • Include any of your OWN strategies and stress-busting techniques that have helped you in the past
  • Look over your list in the coming days--especially before any big events--so you put your planning into action

By the way, these tips work ANY time of year when you need a little extra help, not just in December!

Top 5 Tips for Holiday Eating on FODMAP

  1. Take a break - If you’re doing the reintroduction phase, pause your testing over the holidays; if you’re doing the elimination phase it’s okay to take a short break to enjoy some of your favorites. Remember moderation and then get right back to eating low FODMAP.
  2. Be selective - Choose the one or two high-FODMAP foods you love most at parties or special occasions and eat a small serving without feeling guilty. 
  3. Eat strategically in your downtime - Eat low-FODMAP day before, the day of, and day after a holiday event. Taking a little extra care makes room to enjoy those higher FODMAP favorites in moderation.
  4. Eat turkey (or whatever protein is being served as the main course) - Any type of large roast is a smart choice. Eat an “inside piece” if you think it’s been seasoned with high-FODMAP ingredients.
  5. Bring dessert - You’ll likely have some options to choose from in the main meal (see #4), but dessert can be tough and missing out isn’t fun. Search Pinterest for low-FODMAP or gluten-free versions of things like pumpkin bars, cranberry crisp or bars, brownies, and cookies. Note that gluten free desserts are not always low-FODMAP; however, they will not contain wheat which is the main high-FODMAP ingredient found in many desserts. If you love to cook, bring a side dish too! 

Watch the video to learn more!


Top 3 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress

Tip #1 - Remind yourself that the people who love you want you to feel good.

This small mindset shift takes care of the stress that can come up around social meals. If you find yourself fielding questions about your food choices, remember that it's coming from a place of concern and curiosity, not disapproval or anger. 

Still awkward? Memorize a go-to response to explain FODMAP: For example, “Certain types of carbs cause digestive problems for sensitive people, so I’m cutting them out of my diet for now.”

Tip #1 also helps when feelings of guilt come up because you’re not following a certain food tradition, or you fear disappointing people by changing the holiday menu.

Tip #2 - Organize a non-food activity to have fun and spend time with loved ones.

For example, build a snowman with your kids or go hiking instead of baking 5 batches of cookies.

When food does play a part in social events, shift the focus to something else like a game or a craft project everyone can participate in.

Tip #3 - Lean on your go-to meals more than ever.

When you’re busy or stressed, don’t make meal planning yet another item on your to-do list. Instead, rely on the handful of meals that are familiar and friendly to your digestive system to keep IBS symptoms in check. Give priority to meals that provide leftovers to help you save time. No need to test drive new recipes or make something from scratch every night.

Watch the video to learn more!

These are my top tips that I've seen work for clients who I'm coaching through the FODMAP Diet. But I bet you have more tips of your own, so use them all! 

The specific strategies don't matter as much as staying consistent, taking a few minutes to plan ahead, and remembering what works for YOU so you can repeat it.

Cranberry Sauce with Clementines and Ginger (Low-FODMAP recipe)

Cranberry Sauce with Clementines and Ginger (Low-FODMAP recipe)

Fresh cranberries are low fodmap, and here they're combined with pumpkin pie spice, clementines, and ginger to make a delicious side dish for your Thanksgiving meal! #fodmap #IBS

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When it comes to Thanksgiving (or any holiday really), we all have our “must-have” dishes. The two or three foods that, if they aren’t on the table come turkey day, we feel let down.

For me one of those must-have dishes is cranberry sauce. I LOVED the canned stuff when I was a kid. You know, the one that came out like a jelly log? I was probably in my 20s the first time I had it made from fresh cranberries.

But once I did taste the real thing, there was no going back! I've made creative versions of it with pears and cardamom or jalapenos and curry powder in years past. Nothing wrong with plain, but I love to jazz it up.

I’m thrilled that cranberries are low-FODMAP (They haven’t been officially tested, but Monash University has stated that 4.6 oz of fresh cranberries is low FODMAP.). That meant I could create yet another version this year. I kept it simple this time around - just cranberries, sectioned clementines, ginger and pumpkin spice.

The traditional Thanksgiving meal is a pretty great one for FODMAPers. You’ve got your cranberry sauce, turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing (you will NOT feel let down by the cornbread stuffing recipe I shared last week!)...and probably a few others I'm forgetting.

I’d love to hear your Thanksgiving must-haves! Leave a comment and let me know.

Need a hand with FODMAP? Click to get your free FODMAP Diet Shopping List!

Cranberry Sauce with Clementines and Ginger (Low-FODMAP recipe)

I use a little less sugar in my cranberry sauce than most recipes. Feel free to increase it by 1/4 to ⅓ cup if you like yours on the sweeter side. You can also adjust the spice level up or down to suit your tastes. If you don’t have fresh ginger, substitute ½ tsp of ground ginger. 

Makes 8 to 10 low-FODMAP servings

INGREDIENTS

12 oz cranberries
2 clementines, sections separated and halved crosswise
2/3 cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup water
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
¼ tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer on medium-high heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to medium and simmer until cranberries burst and liquid thickens, 15 to 18 minutes, stirring often to prevent sticking. Cool and refrigerate in an airtight container. May be made up to 3 days ahead.Serve chilled or at room temp.

Cornbread Stuffing (Low-FODMAP, gluten free)

Cornbread Stuffing (Low-FODMAP recipe)

This low FODMAP cornbread stuffing is going to be the hit of your Thanksgiving dinner. You do NOT need to sacrifice this holiday if you're following the low fodmap diet. With an easy gluten free cornbread you can make ahead of time, this stuffing can baked in your turkey or separately. #fodmap #IBS

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I feel bad. Want to know why…

Apparently I’ve kept this cornbread stuffing recipe to myself for the past two years. I know, it’s really not very charitable. But now it’s finally time to get this recipe to you and you’re going to love it.

This stuffing is packed with those Thanksgiving flavors you’re craving (It’ll make your house smell great.). It’s amazing as a turkey stuffing, but it’s also delicious baked on it’s own - I provided instructions for both.

And yes, it’s totally low-FODMAP & gluten free, but make the whole batch because EVERYONE will love this.

My excuse for not sharing sooner is that I’ve been tweaking the cornbread recipe. It’s a super-simple, southern-style cornbread (in other words, not packed with sugar or other embellishments).

Since it’s made with only cornmeal and technically gluten-free, it’s a tiny bit crumbly. But that is perfect for stuffing.

I’ve tested out many many gluten-free cornbread recipes - from gummy and unpleasant to totally edible - before landing on this version. It turned out the simplest ingredients produced the best result.                   

There are extensive notes for this recipe because it really is flexible! But it’s also simple and straightforward, especially if you bake the cornbread a day or two ahead. 

Once you try this, you won’t want to save it just for Thanksgiving...I definitely don’t.

Need a hand with FODMAP? Click to get your free FODMAP Diet Shopping List!

Cornbread Stuffing (Low-FODMAP recipe)

Makes 8 servings

NOTES

  • This stuffing is flexible: Swap the pork for smoked oysters (trust me!), roasted chestnuts, or any kind of sausage you tolerate.

  • Giving the ground pork plenty of seasoning makes it taste like sausage. You can swap in any low-FODMAP spices you like - If you're not a fan of smoked paprika, try regular sweet paprika.

  • If celery (the amount per serving is well under the low-FODMAP limit) doesn’t work for you, go with or parsnips or zucchini, or extra carrots.

  • The green part of a leek is low-FODMAP; remove the coarse outer layers. I typically use some of the light green part, but do whatever you're comfortable with. If your leeks are cut off at the top, or smaller in size, use two. You want about 1 cup of chopped leek.

  • For chicken broth: In the US, Progresso Regular Chicken Broth and the Progresso Regular Chicken Broth Reduced Sodium do not contain onion or garlic; if Progresso is unavailable search “low fodmap chicken broth” on amazon to find a variety of products. Internationally, Massel’s makes garlic/onion-free bouillion. Or DIY a simple chicken (or turkey) broth

  • This is absolutely fantastic baked in your Thanksgiving turkey (and if you do this, you’ll have about ½ the stuffing to bake and serve on the side), but there are instructions for baking the whole batch separately.

  • The cornbread may be prepared up to 2 days ahead, and the stuffing may be assembled up to 1 day ahead and kept covered in the refrigerator.

FOR CORNBREAD:

1 1/4 cups lactose-free milk (regular lactose-free milk is best for baking, but almond milk works too)
1 tbsp white vinegar
2 cups (270 grams) stone ground yellow cornmeal
1 tbsp sugar
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 large or extra large egg
2 tbsp unsalted butter

1. Preheat oven to 400F and heat a 9-inch cast iron skillet in the oven for 10 minutes (If you don’t have a skillet, use a 9-inch cake pan; wait to place it in the oven until Step 3). In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar; set aside for 5 minutes.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, sugar, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl whisk the egg. Add the milk mixture to the egg and whisk until combined. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until moistened.

3. Take the hot skillet out of the oven (careful, handle is HOT) and add the butter. Return to the oven until butter melts, 1 to 2 minutes at most. Remove the skillet from the oven, swirl the skillet to coat the sides with butter, and pour the excess butter into the batter and whisk until combined (batter will be liquidy).

4. Pour the batter into the hot skillet and return to the oven. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean or with a few crumbs. Cool in skillet for 10 minutes, then invert onto a plate and invert again onto a wire rack. Cool completely. May be made up to 2 days ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight container.

FOR STUFFING:

Cooking spray
8 oz. ground pork
1 tsp ancho chile powder
½ tsp smoked paprika
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 tbsp oil
1 ¼ cup diced carrots
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 large leek, green part only, chopped
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp dried tarragon
1 large or extra large egg
1 ½ to 2 ½ cups chicken broth, divided
1 tbsp butter, melted


INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Cut cornbread into ¾-inch cubes and spread on a large rimmed baking sheet (bread will be a little crumbly, but that's great for stuffing). Bake until lightly toasted, tossing the bread around once or twice, about 20 minutes. Cool on baking sheet. May be done several hours ahead. Store at room temp in an airtight container.

2. Mist a large skillet with cooking spray and heat to medium high. Add pork, chile powder, and paprika; season with salt and pepper. Cook until meat is no longer pink, crumbling with your spoon, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, leaving any pork fat remaining in the skillet.

3. Heat oil in the same skillet, with heat still at medium high. Add carrot, celery, leek, thyme, and tarragon; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender and lightly browned, 7 to 9 minutes.

4. Add toasted cornbread to a large bowl. Add veggie mixture and pork; stir gently to combine. In a small bowl, whisk the egg; add 1 ½ cups of broth and whisk to combine. Add egg mixture to cornbread mixture and stir gently. For stuffing baked in a turkey, you want it to be on the dry side, but add a bit more broth if needed.

5. Add 1/3 to 1/2 of the stuffing to the turkey cavity (don't over stuff; it will expand). Roast the turkey, making sure the stuffing reaches 165F. (If you're not stuffing a turkey, add 1 cup broth to the stuffing mixture bake in a 2-quart baking dish, following the directions in step 4.)

6. Add ½ to 1 cup of the remaining broth to the remaining stuffing so mixture is moist but not soggy. Mist a 1-quart (8x8-inch) baking dish with cooking spray and add stuffing. Drizzle melted butter over the top. Bake until lightly browned and heated through, 20-30 minutes at 350F (If you're baking something at the same time – like turkey – that requires a specific temp, you can bake the stuffing anywhere from 325F to 375F, adding or subtracting a couple minutes of baking time). Cool 5 minutes and serve.

Curried Deviled Eggs with Chile-Lime Salt (FODMAP and gluten free)

Curried Deviled Eggs with Chile-Lime Salt (FODMAP and gluten free)

This low FODMAP and gluten free deviled egg recipes subs the mayo for lactose-free plain yogurt. The curry powder adds tons of flavor to the healthy filling, and a quick chile-lime sea salt makes this Easter appetizer look super special even though it takes minutes to make! Click through to get the recipe.

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What’s a better Easter appetizer than deviled eggs? First off, you avoid wasting all the eggs you used for dying - win! But deviled eggs are also healthy, easy to make low-FODMAP, and totally delicious.

I also like this easy app because you can play around with the ingredients to create different flavor profiles.

A recent favorite of mine is a curried deviled egg. Curry powder is a mild blend of spices typically used in Indian cooking - turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, fennel, cardamom, red pepper. 

There are endless variations on the curry spice blend, but what you’ll typically find in supermarkets is referred to as “sweet curry powder.” It’s an earthy soft-orange color and has a mild flavor.

Curry powder takes care of your seasoning, but I jazzed up these deviled eggs with homemade chile-lime salt. It’s a simple combo of sea salt, lime zest and chile powder that looks special even though it takes about a minute to make.

Curried Deviled Eggs with Chile-Lime Salt (FODMAP and gluten free)

I like using a combination of mayo and plain yogurt, but it’s equally good subbing additional yogurt for the mayo if you can’t find a low-FODMAP mayo option. Curry powder doesn’t typically contain high-FODMAP ingredients like onion or garlic, but it’s always a good idea to check.

Serves 6 - Recipe doubles easily!

INGREDIENTS

6 large or extra large eggs
2 tbsp FODMAP-free mayonnaise (see note above)
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp plain lactose-free yogurt
1 tsp curry powder
1/8 tsp plus 1 tsp sea salt
Zest of 1 lime (about 1 tsp)
Dash chile powder (chipotle, ancho, or cayenne pepper)
2 tbsp chopped cilantro

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Add eggs to a large saucepan and add water to cover by about 1 inch. Cover pan and bring to a boil. As soon as water reaches a full boil, remove from heat and rest, still covered for 13 minutes.

2. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Carefully remove eggs from pan and transfer to ice water; set aside until eggs are cool. Peel eggs (may be done up to 1 day ahead).

3. Cut eggs in half lengthwise and add yolks to a medium bowl. Add mayonnaise, yogurt, curry and ⅛ tsp of the sea salt, and stir until combined. Scoop filling into egg whites and place on a serving dish.

4. Combine remaining 1 tsp sea salt, lime zest and chile powder in a small bowl. Sprinkle deviled eggs with chile-lime salt (you may not use all the salt; season to your liking) and cilantro. Serve chilled or at room temp.

Fresh Strawberry Pancakes (Low-FODMAP, Gluten Free)

Fresh Strawberry Pancakes (Low-FODMAP, Gluten Free)

Made with almond meal, oat flour and cornmeal, these strawberry pancakes are satisfying and high protein but still light and tender. They're gluten free and low FODMAP and perfect for a Valentine's Day breakfast. Serve these healthy pancakes with warm jam or go traditional with maple syrup. Click through to get the recipe!

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These fresh strawberry pancakes are light, nutritious and pretty. They’ll be great in the summertime, but maybe even more perfect as a fun Valentine’s Day breakfast.

I used gluten-free whole grain ingredients - mainly almond flour - so they’re tender and moist AND high in protein. The strawberry slices caramelize slightly in the skillet, making them even sweeter. 

The topping is super easy: warmed strawberry preserves. I’m also happy to report that these pancakes are just as good with maple syrup (my personal choice!). Or go wild and mix the two.

Do you have any favorite Valentine’s Day breakfast recipes? How about desserts? Leave a comment and let me know!

Want more low-FODMAP breakfast recipes from the blog?

Made with almond meal, oat flour and cornmeal, these strawberry pancakes are satisfying and high protein but still light and tender. They're gluten free and low FODMAP and perfect for a Valentine's Day breakfast. Serve these healthy pancakes with warm jam or go traditional with maple syrup. Click through to get the recipe!

Fresh Strawberry Pancakes (low-FODMAP, gluten free)

The warmed jam is a fun alternative pancake topping, but I’m a diehard maple syrup lover. Use whatever you prefer, or mix them. I haven’t tried substituting any other GF flours, but if you know your gluten-free ingredients, give it a shot and let me know how it goes!

Use certified GF ingredients if needed (you don’t need to avoid gluten on the FODMAP Diet) and choose preserves with no high-fructose corn syrup so they’re low-FODMAP.

Makes 8 to 9 5-inch pancakes (1 serving = 2 to 3 pancakes)

INGREDIENTS

2 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar
½ cup plus 2 tbsp lactose free milk
¾ cup almond meal (72 grams)
1/4 cup oat flour (30 grams)
¼ cup cornmeal (34 grams)
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp almond extract (optional)
3 to 4 drops red food coloring (optional)
Cooking spray
1 cup cored and sliced strawberries plus additional for garnish
Topping options: warmed strawberry preserves or maple syrup

INSTRUCTIONS

1. In a liquid measuring cup or medium bowl, combine lemon juice and milk; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the almond meal, oat flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.

2. In medium bowl, whisk the eggs. Add vanilla, almond if using, and milk mixture; whisk until combined. Add to bowl with dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Stir in food coloring if using. Rest 3 to 5 minutes to allow dry ingredients to hydrate.

3. Heat a nonstick skillet or griddle to just above medium heat. Place 4 to 5 strawberry slices close together in the skillet. Pour about ¼ cup batter over strawberries. Cook until small bubbles appear and bottom side is golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Flip and cook until opposite side is golden, about 1 minute.

4. Repeat with remaining strawberries and batter, adjusting heat as needed so pancakes don’t brown too quickly. You can serve as you go, or transfer pancakes to a baking sheet and keep warm in a 175F oven. To serve with warm jam, heat jam in a microwave-safe bowl until it drips off a spoon, 60 to 90 seconds. Garnish with additional strawberries if desired.

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Cocktail Meatballs (low-FODMAP recipe)

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Cocktail Meatballs (low-FODMAP recipe)

These easy slow cooker meatballs are low FODMAP and the perfect game day snack! With ground turkey and less sugar than most crockpot meatball recipes, they're healthy and can easily be made gluten-free. You'll love these for appetizers, tailgating, or you super bowl party. Click through to get the recipe!

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Mini cocktail meatballs are the perfect game day snack. Why?

  • You can make them ahead
  • They feed a crowd
  • You serve 'em straight from the slow cooker
  • Meatballs - enough said

Low-FODMAP AND Less Sugar

Tasty and convenient as they are, it's hard to find a recipe that's low-FODMAP and healthy. Most call for a few bottles of high-sugar condiments like chile sauce, ketchup, and even an entire jar of jam. 

You don't need sugary processed ingredients to make great meatballs for your super bowl party. The base of this sauce is plain, simple canned tomato sauce, seasoned up with spices, tamari, and garlic oil.

The sweet and sour kick comes from vinegar and just 1/3 cup of brown sugar in a recipe that makes 15 appetizer servings - pretty good nutrition stats!

To make delicate, tender meatballs it's important not to over mix, but also to choose ground meat that's not TOO lean. I used 85% lean ground turkey and a bit of beef to make it interesting. Any combination of turkey, beef, or pork would be delicious.

Make These FODMAP Appetizers Anytime

While they're a great football snack, these cocktail meatballs work year round. I wouldn't be sad to serve these at a summer cookout.

Since you make them in the slow cooker, you can keep them warm and serve them straight from the slow cooker. Or fancy it up with a pretty serving bowl - they'll disappear fast.

Do you have a favorite low-FODMAP appetizer? Do you struggle with finding party food that's appealing AND belly friendly? Let me know in the comments!

These easy slow cooker meatballs are low FODMAP and the perfect game day snack! With ground turkey and less sugar than most crockpot meatball recipes, they're healthy and can easily be made gluten-free. You'll love these for appetizers, tailgating, or you super bowl party. Click through to get the recipe!

Sweet and Sour Cocktail Meatballs (low-FODMAP)


If you can’t find gluten-free breadcrumbs, regular ones are okay in this recipe because up to 24 grams of white bread (1 slice) is considered a low-FODMAP serving. You’ll be well under that if you stick to the meatball serving size. You can also make your own bread crumbs with finely ground toasted bread. Plain canned tomato sauce is usually free of onion and garlic, but always check ingredients. 

Makes about 60
1 serving = 4 meatballs

INGREDIENTS

For meatballs:
Cooking spray or oil
1 large egg
1 ½ lbs ground turkey (85% lean)
½ lb ground beef (80-85% lean)
½ cup (80 grams) fine gluten-free breadcrumbs (see note above)
2 tsp salt
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 ½ tsp ground ginger
1 ½ tsp ancho chile powder
½ tsp ground mustard powder
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper

For sauce:
15-oz can plain tomato sauce
⅓ cup packed light brown sugar
¼ cup red wine or white wine vinegar, plus additional to taste
2 tsp reduced sodium tamari or soy sauce
2 tsp garlic-infused oil
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground mustard powder
2 tsp cornstarch
3 tbsp water
Chopped fresh chives for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350F and arrange racks in upper and lower thirds. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with foil. If you have oven-proof metal racks that fit inside your baking sheets, use them and coat with cooking spray or oil; otherwise, generously coat the foil with cooking spray or oil. 

2. In a large bowl, whisk the egg. Add remaining meatball ingredients and gently mix until combined (over mixing causes meatballs to be tough). Roll meat mixture into balls, about 1-inch in diameter. Place on prepared baking sheets. Bake until meatballs are lightly browned, 20 minutes, switching positions of the baking sheets about halfway through.

3. Meanwhile, add all the sauce ingredient BEFORE cornstarch to a slow cooker and stir to combine. Add meatballs. Cover and cook on low for 1 hour and 40 minutes. Stir gently about halfway through cooking time.

4. In a small bowl, stir the cornstarch and water until cornstarch dissolves. Add to slow cooker and stir to combine. Continue cooking for 20 minutes or until sauce thickens slightly. Taste and check the seasoning, adding additional salt if desired. Add additional vinegar if you like a bigger sour kick. You can sprinkle with chives and serve from the slow cooker (set to warm) or transfer to a serving bowl.

Low-FODMAP Thumbprint Cookie Recipe

Low-FODMAP Thumbprint Cookie Recipe (gluten free, egg free)

These sweet little cookies are low FODMAP, gluten free, egg free and only call for 5 ingredients! They're ridiculously easy - what more could you want. The star ingredient is almond meal which keeps the cookies soft and tender. They're also low in sugar so you can enjoy a treat and stay healthy! Click through to get the 5 ingredient recipe.

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I love making Christmas cookies, and there's no need to give 'em up just because you're following a special diet. 

But these cookies aren't just low-FODMAP. They're better for you health-wise too. Here are all the reasons why you should add them to your cookie tray:

  • They're incredibly easy - Just 5 ingredients (plus salt!)

  • They're made with nutrient-packed almond meal, not flour

  • They're low in sugar

  • They're low-FODMAP, gluten-free and egg-free

  • They stay soft and tender for a few days (thanks to that almond meal), but they also freeze great

Convinced? Sure you are...on to the recipe!

>>> Psst! New to FODMAP? Click here to get started with the FREE 7-Day FODMAP Jumpstart so you can relieve IBS fast!

Low-FODMAP Almond Thumbprint Cookies (gluten free, egg free)

Adapted from this recipe by King Arthur Flour. 
A low-FODMAP serving of almonds is 12 grams, and the whole recipe uses 96 grams. King Arthur makes a super-fine almond flour, and if you use that the cookies will have a shortbread-like texture. Since I had almond meal on hand - and it's easier to find - that's what I used and it works great.

Makes 12 cookies - Recipe may be doubled
(1 serving=1 cookie)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (96 grams) almond flour
3 1/2 tbsp  (49 g) unsalted butter, at room temp
3 tbsp (25 g) powdered sugar
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tsp strawberry jam

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Add add all ingredients except jam to the bowl of an electric mixer and mix on medium speed until a cohesive dough forms (or mix by hand).

3. Scoop heaping teaspoons of dough and roll into 1 1/4-inch balls. Arrange on prepared baking sheet about 1 1/2 to 2-inches apart.

4. Use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each ball of dough. Fill with 1/4 tsp jam (overfilling cookies will cause jam to boil over in the oven).

5. Bake 9 to 12 minutes, or until the edges of the cookies feel just set. Cookies will not brown much.

6. Remove the cookies from the oven and cool them on the pan for 10 minutes. Transfer them to a rack to cool completely before serving. Cookies keep at room temperature for 3 days or in the freezer for 3 weeks; defrost at room temp.

Want more EASY holiday treats? Check these out!

Orange-Pecan Cookies (low-FODMAP, gluten-free)

Fudgy One-Bowl Brownies (low-FODMAP, gluten-free)

 

 

3 Low-FODMAP Holiday Appetizer Recipes!

3 Low-FODMAP Holiday Appetizer Recipes!

Recipes for Eggplant Caponata, Crostini with Prosciutto, Sage, and Mozzarella and Steak-Blue Cheese Bites with Savory Grape Jam are ALL low FODMAP and they'll wow your guests for Thanksgiving and Christmas parties! Click through to get all 3 appetizer recipes!

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This is an epic post, so I'm keepin' the chit-chat short! 

You want beautiful, delish appetizers to serve at holiday parties, but the FODMAP Diet means you're stuck with carrot sticks, right? Wrong, sister! 

Here are 3 fun, drool-worthy and totally tasty apps you can make to create a whole meal of small plates or take with you to a holiday gathering. 

What's on the menu:

Eggplant Caponata: A tangy-sweet topper for crackers or crostini that's easier and healthier than the traditional version (Read the recipe headnote to see how it morphs into an amazing pasta sauce too!)

Crostini with Prosciutto, Mozzarella, and Sage Butter: I adapted this from a favorite Italian restaurant. It is my go-to appetizer, and I love it.

Steak and Blue Cheese Bites with Grape-Red Wine Sauce: The grape sauce is savory and so easy. Trust me on this one.

Ready? Let's do this!

Low FODMAP Eggplant Caponata is easy and healthier than traditional versions. It's a great make-ahead appetizer recipe that also can be morphed into an awesome pasta sauce.
Crostini with Prosciutto, Mozarella, and Sage Butter and made with sourdough bread so they're low-FODMAP. The perfect go-to holiday appetizer recipe if you're on the FODMAP diet.

Eggplant Caponata (Low-FODMAP)

If you have leftover caponata, here’s an insanely good way to use it as a pasta sauce: Cook spaghetti according to package directions and reserve about 1 cup of the cooking water before draining spaghetti. Toss hot spaghetti with caponata (for each 2-oz serving of pasta, use about ⅓ cup caponata), adding pasta water as needed to loosen caponata and create a sauce. Add any additions you want - I used Italian tuna and steamed Swiss chard, plus parmesan. 

Makes about 3 cups (1 serving = ½ cup)

INGREDIENTS

Cooking spray
1 ¼ lb eggplant, chopped into 1-inch chunks
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 leek
1 tbsp olive oil
1 packed cup drained roasted red bell peppers (from jar), chopped into ½-inch pieces
⅓ cup green or kalamata olives (or a mix), chopped
2 tbsp capers
2 tbsp tomato paste
¼ cup red wine vinegar
2 tbsp lemon juice
⅓ cup water
8 to 10 basil leaves, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 400F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Mist foil with cooking spray and add eggplant. Coat eggplant with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Roast until lightly browned and very tender, tossing once or twice, 25 to 30 min.

2. Remove leek’s tough outer leaves and trim off a couple inches from the top. Chop remaining green (and light green if desired) parts to total about 1 cup chopped and wash thoroughly (discard white part).

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add leeks, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally until tender, 6 to 7 minutes. Add roasted peppers, olives, capers, tomato paste, red wine vinegar, and lemon juice; stir to combine. Stir in roasted eggplant and water and bring to a simmer. Simmer on medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until liquid reduces and flavors blend, about 5 minutes (mixture will be thick, but you don’t need to reduce liquid completely).

4. Remove from heat. Stir in about half the basil and check seasoning. Serve with sourdough bread, gluten-free crackers or endive leaves. Garnish with remaining basil. May be made up to 3 days ahead; cover and refrigerate. Serve warm or at room temp.

Crostini with Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Sage Butter (Low-FODMAP) 

Traditional, slow-rise sourdough bread is low-FODMAP because the fermentation process consumes the fructans (aka FODMAPs) in the wheat. If the bread contains yeast or enzymes, this doesn't apply because they're added to speed up the fermentation process.

Makes 24 (1 serving = 3 pieces)

INGREDIENTS

Cooking spray
24 ¼-inch slices sourdough baguette (or low-FODMAP bread of choice)
4 to 5 oz prosciutto, torn into bite-size pieces
5 to 6 oz fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp butter
14 sage leaves, finely sliced (chiffonade)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat broiler to high and position rack in the center of the oven (not too close to broiler). Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and mist with cooking spray. Place bread on foil and mist with cooking spray. Broil until light golden brown and crisp, 3 to 5 minutes, turning about halfway through (watch carefully, they burn fast!).

2. Top bread with enough prosciutto pieces to mostly cover it, then top with mozzarella. Season with black pepper. Return to broiler and cook until cheese is melted, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. In a medium skillet, melt the butter on just-above-medium heat. Add sage and cook, swirling pan occasionally, until sage is crisp, about 2 minutes. Transfer crostini to a serving plate. Drizzle the butter and bits of sage (you may have some leftover) over the crostini and serve.

Bite-size steak skewers with blue cheese are served with savory grape-red wine sauce and fresh basil. This flavor combo is amazing. The perfect FODMAP holiday appetizer recipe!

Steak & Blue Cheese Bites with Grape-Red Wine Sauce (Low-FODMAP)

Any cut of steak you like that can be sliced into thin strips will work in this recipe. Buy the larger amount if you’ll be trimming extra fat, like on a NY Strip for example. I like the slightly milder flavor of Gorgonzola, but choose any blue cheese that’s not overly crumbly works great.

Serves 8 (1 serving= 3 pieces)

INGREDIENTS

Cooking spray
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lb NY Strip, top sirloin or flank steak, trimmed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 oz gorgonzola or other blue cheese, cut into ½-inch chunks
Grape-Red Wine Sauce (recipe follows)

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Prepare a grill. Bring steak to room temp, mist with cooking spray and season with salt and pepper. Cook to desired doneness (time depends on thickness and cut of steak), 140F on an instant-read thermometer for medium-rare. Rest 5 to 10 minutes.

2. Cutting against the grain, slice steak approximately 1/8-inch thick. Wrap each piece around a piece of cheese and skewer onto a toothpick. Serve with grape-red wine sauce.

Grape-Red Wine Sauce

Dream up other ways to use this sauce...how about on a sandwich or paired with other cheeses?

Serves 8 (1 serving=2 tbsp)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb red seedless grapes
¼ cup red wine
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Add grapes to a medium saucepan. Add just enough water to thinly cover the bottom of the pan. Bring to a simmer. Simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until grapes releases their juices and begin to soften and break down, about 20 minutes.

2. Add wine and balsamic vinegar. Continue simmering until sauce is thick and grapes are very soft, 10 to 15 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm or at room temp.

Vegan Nut & Veggie Tart with Green Herb Sauce (Low-FODMAP, Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

Vegan Nut & Veggie Tart with Green Herb Sauce (Low-FODMAP, Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

If you are vegan or plan to cook for vegans or vegetarians, this meatless main dish is perfect for a crowd! It makes a beautiful holiday main course, and it can be made ahead of time. It's full of delicious winter vegetables, plus rice, lentils and nuts, so it doesn't taste heavy like most vegan nut loaves. Click through for the recipe!

Ah, holiday cooking. So many dietary needs to take care of. Enter the vegan tart. This recipe is for you if…

  • You're a vegan or vegetarian.

  • You're cooking for vegans or vegetarians sometime soon.

  • You want a crazy-nutritious meatless main dish for the holidays.

But let me backtrack for a second. This recipe came about through an informal collaboration with Alana, the very talented writer behind the blog, A Little Bit Yummy.

She had a lot of readers asking for a vegan nut loaf recipe to make for the holidays. However, being allergic to nuts, she asked if I'd be interested in developing the recipe.

My answer: Heck, yes!

Through the past 9 years of doing freelance recipe development, some of my favorite jobs have been the ones that are different from my personal eating style. Stretching that creative muscle is always a good idea: It's both fun and mentally engaging!

Let's get into the details...

Here's what the ingredients look like before stirring in the nuts and right before going in the oven. Everything stays super-moist, without any crumbling.

Here's why I think this is the vegan recipe you need to try this season:

It won't weigh you down. Some vegan nut loaves have the heft of a hockey puck and come in at 1,000 calories per serving (it happens!). Not this tart. Instead of mostly nuts, this recipe consists of brown rice, lentils and a bunch of winter veggies. It will make your kitchen smell like Thanksgiving.

The sauce. The sauce alone is a gem. With the creaminess of avocado and a tangy hit of lemon, you'll want to eat it straight. Double the recipe if you want; whip it up anytime you've got extra herbs on hand; put it on everything!

It's not a loaf, it's a tart! If you've never found the look of traditional vegan nut loaves all that enticing, this pretty tart is the answer.

No advanced cooking skills. There are quite a few steps to get all the components together, but they're easy-peasy. Plus, you can do some or all of it ahead if you want.

Freedom of choice. If you really want to make a loaf, this recipe should fit in 2 standard loaf pans. But there are other fun possibilities: Use a muffin tin to make individual servings for a potluck or buffet. Use mini muffin tins to make appetizers (cute!)--just be sure to decrease the baking time. I love baking in my cast iron skillet because it looks great at the table, but a pie plate or similar-sized baking dish will work too.

So are you convinced? I'd love to know how many of you follow a vegan or vegetarian diet. Do want to see more recipes like this? Will you give this one a try? Let me know below in the comments!

If you are vegan or plan to cook for vegans or vegetarians, this meatless main dish is perfect for a crowd! It makes a beautiful holiday main course, and it can be made ahead of time. It's full of delicious winter vegetables, plus rice, lentils and nuts, so it doesn't taste heavy like most vegan nut loaves. Click through for the recipe!

Vegan Nut and Veggie Tart with Green Herb Sauce (Low-FODMAP, Gluten Free, Dairy Free)

A cast iron skillet is great for baking this rustic tart, but any oven-safe 9-inch pan will work, as well as any similar-size baking dish, such as a pie plate. If you use a baking dish, I recommend greasing it with butter or ghee as noted in the recipe. The easiest way to shred the carrot and parsnip is with a food processor with a shredding disk. If you don't have this attachment, you can grate them on a box grater or cut into very thin strips (julienne) with a knife.

Author: Julie-Calm Belly Kitchen             Recipe type: Entrée
Prep time: 50 mins        Cook time: 25 mins        Total time: 1 hour, 15 mins
Makes 8 servings


INGREDIENTS

For Tart:
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
3/4 cup (84g) walnuts
3/4 cup (84g) pecans
1 medium carrot, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup/85 g shredded; see note above) 
1 medium parsnip, peeled and shredded (about 1 cup/85 g shredded; see note above) 
½ tsp dried rosemary
½ tsp dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 medium leek, green part only, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 rib celery, diced (about 2/3 cup)
¾ cup (105 g) cooked brown rice
2/3 cup (92g) rinsed and drained canned lentils
3 small slices (75g) low-FODMAP, gluten-free bread
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tbsp chia seeds
Nonstick cooking spray, butter or ghee for greasing your pan (see note above)

For sauce:
1 cup (packed) mixed parsley and cilantro (leaves and thin stems)
¼ avocado, chopped
2 tbsp lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp hot sauce (optional)
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ to ½ cup water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Spread walnuts and pecans on a large, rimmed baking sheet and bake until fragrant and light golden brown, 7 to 8 minutes, stirring them around about halfway through. Transfer to a plate and set aside until completely cool (I like to do this a day or two ahead of time). When cool (otherwise they can turn into a paste), finely chop in a food processor fitted with the metal blade.

2. If the shredded carrots or parsnips are very long, roughly chop so pieces are no longer than 1 inch. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large skillet (if you'll be baking the tart in a 9-inch oven-safe skillet, you can use that) on medium. Add the carrot, parsnip, rosemary, thyme, and salt and black pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.

3. Add remaining 1 tbsp of the oil to the same skillet and heat on medium. Add leek, celery and salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender and light golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add to bowl with carrot mixture. Add the rice, lentils and chopped nuts and stir until combined.

4. Place the bread in a shallow bowl or small baking dish in a single layer. Add the almond milk and allow the bread to soak until very soft but not dissolving, about 5 minutes, turning once. Tear into small ½-inch pieces and add to bowl with veggie mixture (discard remaining almond milk). Stir until combined.

5. In a small bowl, stir together the chia seeds and 3 tbsp warm water. Set aside until mixture thickens to a gel-like consistency, about 5 minutes. Add to bowl with veggie mixture and stir until combined. Taste for seasoning and add extra salt, pepper or herbs (or other spices) as desired. Coat a 9-inch oven-safe skillet (such as cast iron or stainless steel) with nonstick cooking spray; or coat a 9-inch pie plate or similar-size baking dish with butter or ghee. Add veggie mixture and pat into an even layer. Bake at 350F until slightly puffed in the center and lightly browned at the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. 

6. Make the sauce: In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, combine herbs, avocado, lemon juice, mustard and hot sauce if using. Pulse until herbs are chopped, scraping down the bowl as needed. With processor running, slowly pour the olive oil in through the feed tube, followed by ¼ cup of the water. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add more water as needed until the sauce is thick but pourable (you should be able to drizzle it off a spoon). Season to taste with salt and pepper.

7. When tart is done baking, cool for 10 to 15 minutes. Cut into slices and drizzle with the sauce to serve. Tart may be made up to 2 days ahead. Cover and refrigerate. To reheat, cover with foil and bake at 275F until heated through, about 20 minutes; or transfer to a microwave-safe plate and microwave on medium power for about 2 minutes or until center is hot. For the most vibrant color, it's best to make the sauce just before serving.


Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1/8 of recipe (including sauce)  Calories: 360  Fat: 26 g Saturated fat: 3 g Carbohydrates: 29 g Sugar: 3  g Sodium: 108 mg Fiber: 6 g Protein: 8 g