Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects millions of people around the world, causing digestive discomfort that can majorly affect a person’s life. Fortunately, it’s often possible to control IBS through interventions like adopting an IBS-friendly diet.
However, it can be a challenge to find great-tasting snacks that don’t trigger IBS. That doesn’t mean banishing snacking from your life, fortunately. It just means you need to orient your snacking habits a little differently. Below, we’ll discuss the best snacks for your IBS meal plan.
Low FODMAPs: The Secret to IBS-Friendly Snacks
What do all of the snacks in this article have in common? They’re low in compounds known as FODMAPs. OK, but what is a FODMAP, you might ask?
FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides and Polyols, which are compounds that people with IBS tend to have trouble digesting. Unfortunately, these compounds are in a wide range of foods, including but not limited to:
- Most grains, such as wheat and rye
- High fructose corn syrup
- Onions and garlic (whole or powdered)
- Certain fruits like apples, peaches, cherries, mangoes and watermelon
- Certain vegetables like asparagus, Brussels sprouts and mushrooms
- Certain nuts like cashews and pistachios
Many common snack foods, even healthier ones, are high in FODMAPs, which is part of why finding IBS-safe snacks can be so frustrating. The snacks we’ll discuss below are the delightful exceptions.
Check the Ingredients
A word about all of the snacks in this article: All are either naturally free of FODMAPs or widely available in FODMAP-free recipes. But some versions of these you can buy at the grocery store may contain FODMAP ingredients, depending on the brand and the product.
There are a few ways to avoid this. One way is to buy pre-made low-FODMAP snacks from a grocery store that offers them. Another is to prepare your own snacks at home, using a low-FODMAP meal plan that you’ve developed with your doctor. Either way, remember to also watch your portions, as some foods that are considered low-FODMAP in small servings can cross the line when portioned more generously.
We should finally note that you always need a doctor or nutritionist’s supervision when designing a FODMAP diet. A medical professional will help you tailor a diet to your lifestyle and ensure that you’re getting enough nutrition in all of the key areas.
The 11 Best IBS-Friendly Snacks
Enough about that—we wanna snack, right? You got it. Here are 11 of the best IBS-friendly snacks you can take with you.
The crunchable, snackable deliciousness of popcorn is also low in FODMAPs, so long as it’s made without common additives like onion or garlic powder. Pop up your own and bring a bag to work so you can snack all day.
Olives are kind of a miracle snack—they’re incredibly tasty, FODMAP-free and amazingly low-prep. Throw some in a container and take them to work, and maybe bring along a little bit of low-FODMAP cheese.
- Hard-Boiled Eggs
Eggs are one of the go-to foods for a healthy, FODMAP-free meal. They contain no FODMAPs and they’re packed with both protein and vitamin D—necessary nutrients for maintaining daily energy and health. Boil up a few hard-boiled eggs and toss one in every day with lunch.
OK, maybe oranges are actually the perfect portable low-FODMAP snack. They’re easy to throw in your bag on the way out, and they’re sure to bring a smile into your day when you peel into one. Oranges are also excellent nutritionally, with high levels of vitamin C and fiber.
- Tuna and Low-FODMAP Crackers
A small container of shredded tuna, plus some low-FODMAP crackers, is a snack to get excited about! Go for tuna that’s packed in water without any vegetable oils, as these can contain onion and garlic. The tuna that comes packed in large glass jars also tends to be of better quality than canned tuna. And since mayonnaise is actually low-FODMAP, making tuna salad is a great option!
- Overnight Oats
This favorite on-the-go treat is also a relatively low-FODMAP snack. Oats are low in FODMAPs, and the variety of flavors that can be added to overnight oats means you’ve got tons of variety to choose from. Just make sure your overnight soak is something low-FODMAP like almond milk.
Grapes are a sweet and convenient low-FODMAP treat. They’re also full of antioxidants and vitamins, so you can definitely feel good about enjoying them. Grapes even contain resveratrol, the compound that’s been widely studied for its potential in mitigating the effects of aging.
- Snack Bars
Snack bars (the kind that typically include things like granola, peanut butter and fruit) are unmatched for their convenience, and many are also available that fit into a low-FODMAP diet. Most natural and organic grocery stores sell low-FODMAP snack bars, or you can make your own at home using some of the many recipes online.
Many common snacking nuts, like cashews and pistachios, are unfortunately high in FODMAPs. Peanuts, however, are a low-FODMAP food that provides an awesome on-the-go snack when eaten in small portions. Be careful about peanut butter, as some brands have additives like high fructose corn syrup.
- Pumpkin Seeds
There’s a lot to like about pumpkin seeds as a low-FODMAP snack. They’ve got all the crunch and flavor of nuts, but with much lower FODMAP levels than many snacking nuts like cashews. Pumpkin seeds taste great done either salty or sweet, and they’re also a great addition to any low-FODMAP trail mix.
Carrots have a pleasing crunch and a fresh taste, they’re naturally low in FODMAPs and they’re a healthy snack in general with plenty of vitamins. They also make excellent dipping foods—perfect for some low-FODMAP hummus or ranch. Baby carrots are a popular choice for convenience, or cut up some larger carrots into sticks.