It is important to manage your intake of FODMAPs each day to help with IBS symptom management. Even when eating foods in low FODMAP servings, the overall FODMAP content for the day may end up being high if not managed carefully. For example 20 blueberries ( ¼ punnet), ½ cup honeydew melon, and 1 cup of pineapple are individually all low FODMAP serves. However, if you ate these 3 servings together the total FODMAP content may be high as all 3 contain Fructans. Eating foods containing low levels of the different FODMAPS will help prevent consuming a high intake of a particular FODMAP . These different FODMAPs include Lactose, Fructose, Polyols, Fructo-oligosaccharides and Galacto-oligosaccharides.
How much FODMAP-containing foods can I have across the day?
This will vary for each individual. In general, multiple serves of ‘green’ foods (low FODMAP content) can be eaten across a day. You should track how many serves of FODMAP-containing foods you have over the day, to ensure you don’t over-do it. Being cautious with serving sizes is important, as FODMAPs add up. As mentioned earlier ¼ punnet blueberries is low FODMAP or ‘green light’, however, more than ½ punnet blueberries is high FODMAP. Try aiming for a balance between foods containing low levels of different FODMAPs.
Eating a nutritious, balanced diet is important
In order to meet your nutritional requirements, you should be aiming to consume a certain amount from each of the food groups every day. For those on a low FODMAP diet it is recommended to aim for 5-6 serves of vegetables, 2 serves of fruit, 4-6 serves of grains/cereals, 2-3 serves meat/fish, 2 ½ – 4 serves of dairy foods, and limited intake of oils/’extras’ foods.
What this balance might look like across a day
- 2 pieces gluten-free white toast or 2 slices traditional white sourdough (low) +2 poached/boiled eggs (nil) + 2 teaspoons butter (nil) + 5 roasted cherry tomatoes (low fructans)
= 2 grain/cereal serves, 1 meat/alternative serve, 1 ‘extras’ serve, and 1 veg serve)
- Smoothie: 1 cup low fat lactose-free milk (low) + 1 cup strawberries (nil) + 100g lactose-free vanilla yoghurt (low).
= 1 ½ dairy serve and 1 fruit serve
- Salad: 1 cup baby spinach (low) + ½ cup cucumber (nil) + ½ cup roast Jap pumpkin (nil) + 80g cooked chicken breast (nil) + 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (low fructose) + ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (nil) + ½ cup cooked quinoa or brown rice (low) + ½ cup feta (low)
= 2 ½ veg serve, 1 meat/alternative serve, 1 grains/cereal serve, 1 dairy serve)
- 2 corn thins (mod fructans/amber) + 1 tablespoon peanut butter (nil) + 1 medium sliced banana (nil)
= 1 fruit serve + ½ protein/alternatives serve
- Vegetarian stir-fry: 100g plain tofu (low) + 1 cup bok choy (low polyol) + ½ cup broccoli (low fructan/polyol) + ½ cup red capsicum (nil) + 1 tbsp oyster sauce (low) + ½ tbsp. soy sauce (low) + fresh basil + chilli (low fructans/galacto-oligosaccharides) + 1 cup rice noodles (low)
= ½ protein/alternatives serve + 2 veg serve + 2 grains/cereal serve
Why this is a good example for managing your daily FODMAP intake
This is a good example for managing your daily FODMAP intake for a few reasons:
- Contains 5 ½ serves veg, 2 serves of fruit, 3 serves meat/alternatives, 2 ½ serves dairy, and 5 serves grains/cereal. This meets the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating recommended daily intake for each core food group. Achieving your recommended targets for each food group means it is likely you’re meeting your nutritional requirements.
- Majority of foods are nil/low FODMAP (green) with one serving of a food with moderate (amber) FODMAP content. Try limiting your intake of amber and red foods until you have identified which specific FODMAPs trigger your symptoms.
- Foods eaten contain low levels of different FODMAPs, rather than lots of foods containing low levels of the same FODMAP. This means the overall intake of FODMAPs for the day is likely to still be a low level.
How to keep track of your daily FODMAP intake
The Monash University app is a great guide for seeing which foods contain certain FODMAPs, and what serving sizes are safe. The app can help with managing intake through its traffic light system, where you eat mostly ‘green light’ foods. It often includes which FODMAP the food contains, which helps prevent over-doing it on one specific FODMAP that day.
It is easy to forget what you’ve eaten throughout the day, so you might like to keep track through a food diary. This can be done electronically on a mobile app such as MyFitnessPal, or with a physical diary if you prefer a paper-based method. You can double this up as a symptom diary as well, and note down when you experience IBS symptoms and which foods were eaten in the lead up to that. This is a great way to start identify types and amounts of certain foods which you react to.