Reviewed by Jinan Banna, PhD, RD
The low fermentable oligo- di- mono-saccharides and polyols (FODMAP) diet is an elimination diet that can help people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or small intestine bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) discover what may cause digestive issues. Because of the nature of the diet, coming up with meal ideas can be more complicated than normal. Working with a registered dietitian can help as you are planning your diet. If you’re here, it’s likely you’re just starting to plan your meals and are starting with breakfast. When creating your breakfast, eggs, meat, veggies, and oats are some good go-to staples that you should keep on hand to make the mornings easier.
The Cheese Situation
Cheese lovers rejoice to know that not all cheeses have to be removed. The key is to find ones with a low content of lactose. Some of the favorites may surprise you with their small quantity of lactose.
- Lactose-free cottage cheese
Remember, just because cheese is low FODMAP doesn’t mean it is to be overconsumed. As always, moderation is key.
Keep the Carbs
Although it is normally encouraged, wheat breads aren’t the best for someone on the low FODMAP diet. Instead, try ones with main ingredients of:
- White sourdough
- Gluten-free varieties
Finding these breads may take more investigation compared to just grabbing any loaf off the shelf. Be sure to check the ingredients or look for a low FODMAP statement (possibly). Also be prepared to pay a bit more for these breads. The ingredients and process it takes to create them tend to cost more so this increase is usually passed on to the consumer. The best advice I have is to find a reliable loaf you enjoy and stick with it. You could even keep a loaf in your freezer in case there is a period of time you can’t find it!
Don’t Forget the Protein!
Protein is a necessary macronutrient that shouldn’t be forgotten on your breakfast plate. When following a low FODMAP diet, it’s important to look for any additives that are in your breakfast proteins. You are pretty safe having proteins like seafood and tempeh (if you’re unfamiliar, this is a plant-based protein. But, I personally don’t tend to reach for those in the morning. A key reliable protein to keep on hand are eggs. You can have them so many ways to avoid getting sick of them. If you are opting for some deli meat, be sure to confirm they don’t have additives that are high FODMAP like garlic or high fructose corn syrup. If you are immediately feeling overwhelmed with the limited number of protein sources for breakfast, take a deep breath and remember that you are on this diet to discover what is causing you issues. Why would you want to be consuming something that causes you pain?
If you’ve been struggling piecing together different available options, I’ve got you covered. Try some easy breakfast combinations I’ve rounded up for you!
- Over-easy eggs with toast and an orange
- Breakfast scramble with cubed potatoes, scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, and (low FODMAP approved) ham chunks
- Classic oatmeal made with lactose-free milk topped with blueberries
- Corn flakes in soy milk with grapes
- Tofu scramble with spinach and bell peppers
- Overnight oats with sliced strawberries and chia seeds
Tip: If your normal breakfast is the classic bowl of oats, try switching it up occasionally to avoid burnout!
- Lactose-free yogurt with raspberries and mixed nuts (walnuts, chia seeds, peanuts)
- Sweet breakfast quesadilla with a buckwheat tortilla, sliced banana, and peanut butter
- Savory breakfast bowl with quinoa, over-medium egg, cooked kale, topped with olive oil and soy sauce
If you need some more inspiration, check out Saskia on Instagram, who gives tips and breakfast inspiration for those following a low FODMAP diet!
Don’t forget your morning drink! You aren’t constrained to a glass of water. You still have an abundance of options to provide additional flavor to your morning:
- Lemon water
- Hot or iced tea
- Coffee with soy milk
- Tomato juice
- Hot cocoa with lactose-free milk
If you’re still feeling a bit overwhelmed consider downloading the app Monash University FODMAP Diet. It is an app specifically created for those on the low FODMAP diet. It can help you keep track of what and how certain foods affect you, provides some recipe ideas, and even has challenges for you to try certain foods while trying to tolerate them again.
As Kimberly Yawtiz, RD notes in this article providing a low FODMAP food list, it’s important to pay attention to the quantities of various foods in your diet. She notes that high FODMAP foods should be avoided until you know which types of FODMAPs bother you, and that even low FODMAP foods can cause problems in large quantities.
Do you have any staple breakfast meals I didn’t mention? Leave them in a comment below to share with others looking for new breakfast ideas!
Before beginning the diet, be sure to speak with your healthcare professional and work with a registered dietitian to have the best outcome.