Although joyful, Christmas day can be stressful for the best of us. Throw in low FODMAP food requirements and the event can be a bit of a headache. But having a happy low FODMAP Christmas is definitely doable! So, to help you de-stress are our top tips (and simple recipes) to help you enjoy a low FODMAP Christmas.
1. The 3 Ss: Seasoning, Stuffing and Sauces
Although meat roasts, legs of ham and seafood are great to enjoy as a low FODMAP Christmas meal, we need to be careful of seasonings, stuffing and sauces. If you are not in control of preparing the meat seasoning and stuffing, choose sections of the meat that does not have high FODMAP seasoning and remove the stuffing from inside. However, if you have a say in this department, making a low FODMAP seasoning and stuffing can be easy. Simply combine fresh herbs, spring onions (green part only), low FODMAP bread and garlic-infused olive oil. Dried cranberries or currants are also a great addition to stuffing and are safe at 1 tbsp per serve. When it comes to sauces be aware that many contain high FODMAP ingredients such as garlic, onion and dairy products. Particularly watch out for creamy sauces such as thousand island dressing and those containing high FODMAP fruit such as apple sauce. Most people should be able to tolerate small quantities of cranberry sauce (1 tbsp) and enjoy other condiments such as mint sauce/jelly, home-made gravy, mustard, olive oil, fresh lemon/lime and red wine vinegar.
Thinking about the variety of nibbles that are spread on the Christmas table, many of them are not low FODMAP. Most store-bought dips contain high FODMAP ingredients such as yoghurt, onion, garlic, cream cheese or sour cream. However, you could make a simple Low FODMAP Beetroot Dip or Low FODMAP Spinach Dip that everyone will enjoy without the unwanted side effects. Enjoy these with carrot and capsicum sticks or plain rice crackers. A table is never complete without the famous cheese board. Very soft cheeses such as ricotta and halloumi are higher in lactose, so be sure to stick to <40g if you choose to have these. Most hard and mature cheeses like cheddar and camembert are actually low FODMAP and can be enjoyed. Low FODMAP nuts such as walnuts, macadamias, pecans and peanuts are another great addition to Christmas nibbles. Avoid high FODMAP nuts such as pistachios, cashews and >10 almonds. Also be mindful that nuts are easy to overeat and the fat content of too many nuts may trigger symptoms.
Most salad vegetables such as lettuce, tomato, cucumber, capsicum and carrot are low FODMAP. However, be careful of the salad dressing as many contain high FODMAP ingredients such as garlic and honey. Just ask the host if you didn’t make it to ensure it doesn’t contain high FODMAP ingredients. If you make it yourself, a great option is mixing garlic-infused olive oil with red wine or apple cider vinegar (50:50 ratio). If you prefer hot roast vegetables stick to zucchini (<65g), potato, sweet potato (<1/2 cup), pumpkin (jap or kent), carrot and eggplant. Try adding a drizzle of garlic-infused olive oil, rosemary and salt to your roast veggies for all the flavour without the FODMAPs!
Unfortunately, traditional Christmas desserts like fruit mince pies are not low FODMAP. So, it might be a good idea to offer to make a dessert that is low FODMAP and still tastes great. There are plenty of Low FODMAP desserts that you can make such as our delicious Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake, Low FODMAP Christmas Slice, lemon macadamia shortbread or chocolate truffles. You could make a classic pavlova by using lactose-free cream and top with strawberries, raspberries, kiwi fruit and passionfruit! Or if you prefer a trifle then make a gluten-free sponge and layer with jelly, lactose-free custard and strawberries. You can also keep it simple with some low FODMAP fruit and dark chocolate.
While alcohol can trigger unwanted IBS symptoms, saying no to drinking can be hard during the festive season. Liqueurs like Baileys are high in fructose and lactose which may cause some discomfort. Stick to spirits including vodka, whiskey and gin and mix with soda water and a wedge of lime. You could also be creative and create yourself a Low FODMAP drink. Click here for some great ideas to help you enjoy a Low FODMAP Christmas!
By Tatiana Bedikian, and Amanda Gaukroger