Best Low FODMAP Snacks For a Happy Belly

Beans, beans, the musical fruit – you know the rest.

The rhyme might make you laugh but for people with digestive issues, beans and other FODMAPs are no joke.

FODMAPs (no, not food maps) are substances found in many foods that can trigger painful symptoms like gas, bloating, diarrhea, or much worse.

Doctors often suggest that patients with gut conditions stick to a low-FODMAP diet to ease their distress.

Let’s take a look at how FODMAPs work. We also have a handy list of low-FODMAP foods to consume as stress-free snacks and high-FODMAP foods to avoid.

What are FODMAPs?

FODMAPs are very specific types of carbohydrates. The acronym stands for “fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols.”

Sadly, several high-fiber otherwise healthy foods like beans and whole grains contain high levels of FODMAPs.

Another bummer: plenty of delicious foods contain FODMAPs.

These are the five most common types of FODMAPs:

  • Fructose: A naturally occurring carbohydrate found in fruits, honey, corn syrup, and sugar
  • Lactose: A sugar found in milk and dairy products
  • Fructans: Present in grains, onions, wheat, and garlic.
  • Galactans: Found in legumes like lentils and soybeans.
  • Polyols: Present in sugar alcohols, alternative sweeteners, and pit fruits.

Unlike other types of carbohydrates, the enzymes in your intestines don’t digest and move FODMAPs into your bloodstream right away. Instead, FODMAPs make their way all the way to the end of your intestines where your natural gut bacteria attempt to break them down through fermentation.

As your gut bacteria processes FODMAPs to use their energy as fuel, this creates gas. Some people may notice particularly uncomfortable gas after consuming beans or milk, for example, while others feel fine.

In some cases, FODMAPs may pass through your entire digestive system almost completely intact. Since the process of breaking down FODMAPs pulls excess water into your intestines, you may also suffer from diarrhea and bloating from water retention in your abdomen.

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Who Should Avoid FODMAPs?

Some folks, with what seem like intestines made of steel, can consume FODMAPs without any noticeable issues.

Other people may suffer from a sensitivity to specific FODMAPs. For example, lactose is a FODMAP so people with this specific FODMAP sensitivity lack the proper enzyme (at least in sufficient amounts) to digest lactose. Meanwhile, others may handle milk fine but notice symptoms after eating artificial sweeteners (another FODMAP).

Some people may have trouble with all types of FODMAPs. Folks with intestinal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) should avoid consuming foods with FODMAPs. Doctors believe FODMAPs directly contribute to these conditions and usually prescribe a low-FODMAP diet as a first-line of defense.

Likewise, anyone who notices painful stomach issues after eating FODMAPs should eliminate them from their diet. Possible signs of a FODMAP insensitivity tend to include:

  • Gas after meals
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation
  • Stomach pain or cramps
  • Bloating

If you’re unsure which foods are causing your symptoms, start a food journal to track your diet. Eliminate every food containing FODMAPs for a few weeks to see if your symptoms improve. After a few weeks, reintroduce each food containing FODMAPs one at a time so you can pinpoint your trouble foods.

What Are the Benefits of a Low FODMAPs Diet?

Anywhere from 25 to 45 million people suffer from IBS – and many may not even know because they haven’t received a diagnosis or sought treatment. If you experience the symptoms above, there’s a chance you may suffer from a FODMAP sensitivity or IBS without even realizing it.

People suffering from IBS stand to gain the most from giving up FODMAP-laden foods. Encouraging studies show that a vast majority of IBS patients – 75% – who reduce or eliminate FODMAPs from their diets show relief from symptoms and better quality of life.

Other studies show that patients with inflammatory bowel diseases like Chron’s or ulcerative colitis have a good chance of relieving their symptoms with a low-FODMAP diet.

Some experts believe people with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and MS can minimize symptoms by consuming low-FODMAP foods.

Likewise, anyone with painful digestive issues like gas, bloating, diarrhea, or other gut issues can reap huge benefits from reducing or eliminating FODMAPs from their diet.

What Are the Challenges or Side Effects of a Low FODMAP Diet?

When you start a low-FODMAP diet, you’ll notice that almost everything you love contains high levels of FODMAPs. Isn’t that always the case with new diets?

Finding and eliminating all the high FODMAP foods from your meals creates its own set of unique challenges – especially if you like to eat out frequently.

In the beginning, you want to eliminate all high FODMAP foods from your diet so you can pinpoint the specific foods triggering your distress. To do this, avoid restaurants for a few weeks and prepare your own meals at home so you can be 100% sure about everything you eat.

Eliminating FODMAPs from your diet poses another challenge: consuming enough fiber. Only about 5% of the U.S. population gets enough fiber through their diet, putting them at risk for stomach and intestinal cancers as well as heart disease and several other dangerous conditions.

Lots of high-FODMAP foods are also excellent sources of heart-healthy fiber like grains, cereals, beans, and veggies. Anyone on a low-FODMAP diet needs to pay special attention to their fiber intake. These low-FODMAP choices also double as great sources of fiber.

  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Kiwi
  • Squash
  • Banana (unripe)
  • Brown rice
  • Oranges
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chia seeds

Meet with a doctor or registered dietitian to help you find low-FODMAP alternatives, sneaky high-FODMAP foods, and healthy meals.

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What Are the Best Low FODMAP Snacks?

Now that you understand what FODMAPs are and how they work, you’re probably wondering which foods contain low levels of these carbohydrates.

We created a hefty list along with some snack suggestions so you can create your own healthy meals.

Most meats are safe with the exception of chorizo and sausage.

Keep in mind that most foods on this list contain minimal FODMAPs – but not zero. Eating too many of a single ingredient, for example, might expose you to too many FODMAPs and trigger symptoms.

Vegetables

  • Alfalfa
  • Bean sprouts
  • Beetroot (pickled or canned)
  • Black beans
  • Bok choy
  • Broccoli
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Squash
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Chickpeas
  • Collard greens
  • Cucumber
  • Eggplant
  • Fennel
  • Green beans
  • Ginger
  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Olives
  • Peas
  • Potatoes
  • Pumpkins
  • Peppers
  • Seaweed
  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Tomatoes
  • Yams
  • Zucchini

Fruits

  • Bananas (unripe)
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cranberries
  • Dragon fruit
  • Grapes
  • Guava
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Mandarins
  • Oranges
  • Passion fruit
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Plantains
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries

Grains

  • Bulgur
  • Buckwheat
  • Brown rice
  • Corn flour
  • Millet
  • Oatmeal
  • Oats
  • Polenta
  • Popcorn
  • Quinoa
  • Sorghum

Dairy and Its Substitutes

  • Butter
  • Most hard cheeses
  • Soft cheeses like brie, goat, and ricotta
  • Eggs
  • Non-dairy milk substitutes (except for soy milk)
  • Tempeh
  • Greek yogurt
  • Most lactose-free dairy substitutes

Nuts and Seeds

  • Almonds (and almond butters)
  • Brazil nuts
  • Chestnuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Coconut
  • Hazelnuts
  • Hemp seeds
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Peanuts (and peanut butter)
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Walnuts

Sweeteners and Condiments

  • Aspartame
  • Chocolate (without lactose from milk)
  • Mustard
  • Glucose
  • Maple syrup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Miso
  • Saccharine
  • Shrimp and fish sauce or paste
  • Stevia
  • Sucrose
  • Vinegar
  • Wasabi

Drinks

  • Coffee (without dairy added)
  • Protein powders made from egg, pea, rice
  • Diet sodas
  • Tea

Snack Examples

You might notice a lot of your favorite foods aren’t on this list. Here are some good snack ideas to get started.

  • Greek yogurt with oats, blueberries, walnuts, and maple syrup
  • Cucumber slices with brie or goat cheese
  • Egg “muffins” with peppers
  • Popcorn with low-FODMAP spices
  • Flourless pumpkin squares with lactose-free chocolate chips
  • Hardboiled eggs or egg salad (without onion, garlic, or celery)
  • Mixed nuts and seeds (without cashews and pistachios)
  • Wheat-free cornbread with butter or maple syrup
  • Black beans and brown rice with veggies and low-lactose cheese

High FODMAP Foods to Avoid

Avoid these foods below to reduce digestive distress from FODMAPs. Garlic and onions are some of the worst offenders.

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Vegetables

  • Artichoke
  • Asparagus
  • Beetroot (fresh)
  • Most beans
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Fermented cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Mung beans
  • Some Mushrooms (Buttons, Portabellas)
  • Onions
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Pickled veggies
  • Soybeans
  • Scallions
  • shallots

Fruits

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Avocados
  • Blackberries
  • Cherries
  • Dates
  • Figs
  • Goji
  • Grapefruit
  • Lychee
  • Mango
  • Nectarines
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Plums
  • Pomegranate
  • Raisins
  • Watermelon

Grains

  • Amaranth
  • Barley
  • Bran
  • Wheat and all wheat-based pasta, cereals, and breads
  • Couscous
  • Rye
  • Semolina
  • Spelt

Dairy and Its Substitutes

  • Buttermilk
  • Cream cheese
  • Cream
  • Custard
  • Halloumi cheese
  • Ice cream
  • Kefir
  • Cow and goat milk (anything containing lactose)
  • Sour cream
  • Soy milk
  • Regular yogurt

Nuts and Seeds

  • Cashews
  • Pistachios

Sweeteners and Condiments

  • Agave
  • Fructose and high-fructose corn syrup
  • Hummus
  • Honey
  • Jam and jellies
  • Molasses
  • Relish
  • Sweeteners: inulin, isomalt, lactitol, maltitol, mannitol, sorbitol, xylitol

Drinks

  • Alcoholic drinks including beer and wine
  • Coconut water
  • Fruit juice
  • Kombucha
  • Soda
  • Strong tea
  • Whey protein

The Bottom Line

FODMAPs are everywhere and difficult to avoid. If you have recurring stomach issues though, it might be worthwhile to eliminate high FODMAP foods from your diet to figure out what’s causing your pain.

-spread the spores-

About the Author

Tegan Shields

Hi, I'm Tegan. I have a degree in Nutrition and Food Science and a deep passion for real food and natural health. I am a huge believer in the power of mushrooms, and want to help you get some in your life!

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Shayne
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Shayne

Hello!
I’m a 24 YO male and I have been suffering from GI issues for years! After years of eating all my favorite foods which unfortunately contained a ton of FODMAP’s, I finally went to the doctor and he automatically recommend the low FODMAP diet. I have been on the diet for three days now to allow my gut to heal and my gut couldn’t be more happier. I actually have an appetite and this website just gave me a few more tips for enhancing my diet. Thank you so much for the insight!