If you're a frequent sufferer of an upset stomach, you may have heard the term FODMAP. It's a bulky acronym for an even more unwieldy class of carbs: fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols. FODMAPs are found in dairy, wheat, garlic, onions, beans, some fruits, artificial sweeteners, and other foods. And some people simply aren't able to digest them very well.
It's thought that FODMAPs could contribute to irritable bowel syndrome, or to the digestive discomfort people experience when they're sensitive to gluten but don't have celiac disease. Some people find relief from their symptoms when they follow a low-FODMAP diet.
But of course, that can be tricky because FODMAPs show up in a whole range of otherwise healthy eats. It helps to have a little guidance. That's where The Low-FODMAP 6-Week Plan & Cookbook ($25, amazon.com) comes in. Author and certified nutritional therapist Suzanne Perazzini serves up heaps of practical tips and tasty recipes. Here are six meals and snacks from her collection that could help tame your tummy trouble.
Just because you're eating low-FODMAP doesn't mean you can't enjoy pancakes, everyone's favorite breakfast treat. These pancakes hold together well, so they can be made quite thin. And you can replace the cantaloupe with any low-FODMAP fruit you like. Make a few extra pancakes, then serve them for lunch with a protein and a vegetable, such as a ½ cup of bean sprouts or 2 slices of beetroot.
2.9 oz white rice flour
0.7 oz tapioca flour
0.7 oz potato starch
Pinch of salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup lactose-free milk
½ Tbsp. butter
1 cup chopped cantaloupe
1 cup plain lactose-free yogurt
Sift the flours and salt together. Add the lightly beaten egg and mix until well combined. Slowly add the milk, mixing well in between additions.
Melt the butter in a skillet. Pour a thin layer of the pancake mixture into the base of the skillet, tilting the skillet so that the batter spreads evenly. When bubbles form all over the pancake, flip ot over and cook on the other side. Repeat with the remaining mixture. Top each pancake with the cantaloupe and yogurt. Store leftover pancakes in the fridge for up to 2 to 3 days or freeze for 2 to 3 months.
3 of 7Alison Bickel
Spinach and Cheese Quesadillas
This Mexican-inflected vegetarian meal is quick and well-balanced. Go easy on the oil and cheese if fat triggers your symptoms, and omit the tomatoes if you have reflux. You can swap the spinach for bok choy or kale, or add some ground meat for extra protein. Have half a quesadilla per sitting.
Makes 6 to 8
2/3 cup cottage cheese
2 cups baby spinach leaves
8 large gluten-free tortillas
1 cup corn kernels, drained
1 tomato, diced (avoid for reflux)
1 spring onion, sliced finely (green part only)
1 tsp. garlic-infused oil
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1½ cups grated mature cheese
Preheat the broiler. Place the cottage cheese and spinach in a food processor, and process to a paste. Place 4 tortillas on a baking tray and spread half the mixture over the tortillas. Combine the corn, tomato (if using), and spring onion. Season and spoon onto the tortillas over the spinach mixture. Combine the two oils and drizzle over the corn mixture. Top each with another tortilla. Scatter the cheese over the tortillas and drizzle a little more oil over them. Place them in the oven under the broiler until the cheese is bubbling and golden, 3 to 4 minutes. Serve immediately.
4 of 7Alison Bickel
Steak and Mashed Potato With Chimichurri Sauce
This is comfort food at its best—and the flavorful chimichurri topping lifts this simple dish to another level. Have no more than a quarter of the potatoes, one steak, and about 3 tablespoons of the sauce to stay low-FODMAP. (If you have reflux, use less chile or omit it altogether.) Reserve the white ends of the bok choy for a low-FODMAP soup.
4 sirloin steaks
Salt and pepper
4 white potatoes (about 4 oz each), peeled
1.7 oz butter
2 Tbsp. lactose-free milk
Salt and pepper
2 bunches of bok choy, leaves separated and washed well (green parts only)
1 small bunch of fresh parsley
1 red chile (avoid for reflux)
1 spring onion (green part only)
1 teaspoon sugar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1 tsp. garlic oil
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Salt and pepper
First, prepare the steaks. Place them on a hot grill and cook until pink in the middle but not bloody, about 3 minutes. (Exact cooking time depends on the thickness of the steak.) Season with salt and pepper. Let the steaks sit for 10 minutes under foil, then slice them crossways. Make the mashed potatoes. Chop the potatoes roughly and boil in salted water until soft. Drain well, then add the butter and milk. Season to taste, and mash until creamy. To make the chimichurri sauce, place the bok choy leaves in a food processor with the parsley, chile (if using), and spring onion. Process until very fine. Add the sugar, lemon juice, garlic oil, and olive oil. Process again and add more oil if necessary. Add 1 tablespoon of the mashed potatoes to make the sauce creamy. Mix well, then season to taste. To serve, divide the mashed potatoes between four plates and layer the sliced steak over each. Top each with 1 tablespoon of the chimichurri sauce, and place the rest in a serving bowl for the table. Store leftover meat and sauce separately in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.
5 of 7Alison Bickel
Crisp on the outside and deliciously soft in the middle, two of these muffins constitutes a well-balanced snack—once you add a low-carbohydrate vegetable to them, that is. They’re perfect when you’re on the go. Grab one straight from the freezer and pop it in the microwave for a few seconds to reheat.
1⅓ cups white rice flour
⅓ cup tapioca flour
⅓ cup potato starch
2 tsp. baking powder
Pinch of salt
1.8 oz butter, cut into pieces
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
1½ cup grated hard cheese, such as Parmesan
1½ cups lactose-free milk
2.6 oz. preservative-free chopped ham
½ tomato, de-seeded and diced (avoid for reflux)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Sift the flours, potato starch, baking powder, and salt together. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with clean fingers. Add the basil and grated cheese, and mix to combine. Beat the egg and milk together and add to the mixture, then add the ham and tomato (if using). Butter or oil a 16-capacity muffin tin well—gluten-free flours tend to stick more than wheat flours. Fill each cup almost to the top. Bake for 20 minutes. Let cool slightly in the tin before removing. Serve warm or cold. Store leftovers in the fridge for 2 to 3 days, or freeze for 2 to 3 months.
6 of 7Alison Bickel
This fragrant, warming dish is especially satisfying during the winter months. Serve it with a grain, such as rice or quinoa, to help soak up the sauce and make it a complete meal. If you have leftover sauce, serve it the next day for lunch over low-FODMAP pasta, plus any chicken and vegetables that might be lingering in the fridge.
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 chicken legs and thighs
2 spring onions, sliced (green parts only)
½ cup tomato paste
¾ cup white wine
¾ cup garlic- and onion-free chicken broth
½ tsp. oregano
½ tsp. basil
1 bay leaf
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 large green pepper, chopped
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the chicken and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes per side. Add the spring onions and cook for 1 minute. Add all the ingredients except the tomatoes and green pepper, and mix well so that the chicken is covered in the sauce. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes. Add the vegetables and cook covered for another 20 minutes. Remove the bay leaf. Serve immediately. Store leftovers in the fridge for 2 to 3 days, or freeze for 2 to 3 months.
7 of 7Alison Bickel
Chocolate and Orange Polenta Cake
This moist, easy-to-make chocolate-orange cake is perfect with a cup of tea or coffee. If you feel that fructose is one of your biggest symptom-triggers, leave out the orange syrup; it’ll still be delicious. Be sure to stick to one slice per serving.
Makes 12 slices
5.3 oz. butter, at room temperature
5.3 oz. superfine granulated white sugar
1½ Tbsp. cocoa powder
1½ Tbsp. hot water
⅓ cup ground almonds
½ tsp. gluten-free baking powder
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
⅓ cup quick-cook fine-grain polenta
1 Tbsp. grated orange peel
½ cup chopped pecans
Juice of 1 orange
1.8 oz granulated sugar
1 cup powdered sugar
1 to 2 Tbsp. orange juice
Water (if needed)
First, make the cake. Preheat the oven to 325°F. Grease a 7.5-in springform cake tin and line with baking paper. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix the cocoa with the hot water and stir until dissolved, then fold into the butter mixture. In a separate bowl, combine the almonds, baking powder, cinnamon, polenta, and orange peel. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and stir in the pecans. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool slightly in the tin.
Then, prepare the syrup. Combine the orange juice with the sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and simmer, stirring regularly, for 5 minutes or until slightly reduced and thickened. Make holes in the cake with a skewer and pour syrup over the cake while it is still hot. When cool, remove the cake from the tin.
Finally, prepare the glaze. Mix the powdered sugar and orange juice to form a thin paste. Add water if necessary to reach a runny, pourable consistency. Pour the glaze over the cooled cake and let it drip over the edges. Allow the glaze to set, then serve. Store in an airtight container for 2 days, or freeze in slices for 2 to 3 months.