Low FODMAP grocery shopping is a challenge when you are just starting out. Not only do you suddenly have to avoid a lot of products, you also have to read every label, because products often contain hidden FODMAPs. I hear from a lot of people that they really feel lost in the supermarket in the beginning and I totally get that. There are so many different names for ingredients. Even after 5 years of being on the low FODMAP diet, I am sometimes in doubt about whether a certain ingredient is low FODMAP or not.
To make it all a bit easier, I have a list for you today with the most common ingredients that are not low FODMAP. This is not a complete list, I have just collected common ingredients for you that might be confusing when you are just starting out with the diet. After the high FODMAP list, I have also made a list of a few ingredients that are low FODMAP, that you maybe wouldn’t expect to be low FODMAP.
You will learn
High FODMAP Shopping List
High FODMAP, so avoid this:
- Onion (powder) and garlic (powder)
- Spices → when “spices” is listed on a package, there might be garlic and onion in it.
- Honey (1 tbsp is low FODMAP)
- agave syrup (1 tsp is low FODMAP),
- fructose & fructose-glucose syrup, fructose syrup,
- high fructose corn syrup (HFCS),
- mannitol (E421),
- sorbitol (E420),
- maltitol (E421),
- xylitol (E967),
- isomalt (E953)
- High FODMAP dried fruit or fruit extract / juice,
- Inulin, chicory fibre and lupin.
- Wheat flour,
- coconut flour
- Lentil flour
- milk powder
- whey powder, whey protein
Low FODMAP Shopping List
The foods on the list below are low FODMAP, even though you might have not expected that!
- beet sugar,
- barley malt,
- glucose-fructose syrup,
- guar gum,
- invert sugar,
- corn syrup,
- pea protein,
- soy lecithin,
- soy protein,
- wheat starch,
- whey protein
- xanthan gum.
If you are not sure whether an ingredient is low FODMAP or not and you can’t find it in the app: Google it!
I usually google the name of the ingredient and the word FODMAP and often something pops up. There is quite some information about the FODMAP diet to be found on the internet nowadays!
Low FODMAP label reading is a difficult topic as you can see! It is mainly a matter of taking the time to read labels well every time. I personally notice that I often make mistakes when I am in a hurry. Then I scan the ingredient list quickly, throw something in my basket and at home I find out that there was fructose or another high FODMAP ingredient on the label that I missed. It is important to not rush your low FODMAP grocery shopping.
Therefore, I want to give you the following task for this week in the challenge: take some extra time for your weekly grocery round this week and spend time reading labels from different products. Try to make yourself familiar with the different ingredients (keep the list from this email with you) and see if you can recognise which products are low FODMAP and which aren’t. The more you check labels, the better you will get at spotting high FODMAP ingredients in products!
Finally, it is also good to regularly check the ingredient lists for products that you know are low FODMAP. Producers change up the ingredients that they use and unfortunately that sometimes results in a low FODMAP product becoming high FODMAP.
Further GUIDE TO SHOPPING LOW FODMAP
So you’ve probably realised by now that cutting out FODMAPS like gluten, dairy and fructose leaves you with few conventional options – which is why many people turn to weird and exotic ingredients you’re unlikely to come across on the shelves at your local supermarket.
Once you get past the initial stage of “what even is a buckwheat?!”, the next question is where to buy it.
Us Brits aren’t as advanced with the whole foods movement as countries like Australia, so knowing where to get hold of stuff like rice flakes, linseed/flaxseed (yeah, turns out they’re the same thing) and rice malt syrup in the UK is not so straight forward.
So I thought I’d compile a little list of the stores I use to buy most of my new cupboard staples – which now crop up in most of my recipes.
Best for: buckwheat flour, nuts, seeds, dried cranberries without fruit juice
Why: They’re cheaper than the supermarkets for bog standard nuts and seeds – especially as they constantly have promotional deals on and give you discount vouchers when you buy.
But H&B also has a more specialist range, so you can get hold of less popular whole foods like linseed and buckwheat.
You can also buy low FODMAP dried fruits like cranberries which are not suspended in concentrated fruit juice. I found a lot of the supermarket ones are infused with fruit juice, making them more likely to be high fructose.
Common Low FODMAP Foods
There are some foods I cannot live without, not only because they are tasty but also because they are convenient. Here’s a round up of my top 5 cupboard staples for quick and easy Low FODMAP recipes.
Cinnamon plays a big part in many of my breakfast meals. I absolutely love it in hot porridge with some sliced banana and a drizzle of maple syrup. I also found a delicious over-night bircher recipe by Madeleine Shaw – she toasts pumpkin seeds in coconut oil and cinnamon, here’s the full recipe, it’s full of flavour and can be put together in a jam jar and taken to work. I tend to add blueberries and raspberries as my fruit option.
As I often work from home I try to enjoy a decent breakfast (well, brunch by the time I get around to it). Buckwheat is great for getting your pancake fix without the gluten. Here’s a great buckwheat pancake recipe from Leon – I leave out the honey and drizzle with maple syrup instead of agave syrup which is super high in fructose.
Give me rice noodles over egg noodles any day! – I tend to whip up some chicken or prawn Singapore style noodles at least once a week, I love it with plenty of lime juice and lots of coriander. I buy the kind that require soaking before stir-frying, they tend to be pure rice noodles and I found the straight to wok variety tend to have lots of other unwanted ingredients – always remember to check the labels!
How did I ever live without Quinoa?! Packed with protein and so versatile, I love the stuff! My favourite is simply as a salad base with feta cheese, olives, spinach leaves, baby plum tomatoes, seasoned with lemon juice and olive oil, Himalayan pink salt and black pepper, topped with pumpkin seeds – yum!
No surprise here, it’s not the first time I have mentioned pumpkin seeds 🙂 I love the texture pumpkin seeds bring to a meal.) I also try to add 1-2 tablespoons of linseeds to my breakfast, lets just say they help things move in the right direction 😉 I’m also partial to a chia seed pudding, so easy to make with 3 ingredients: 1 ripe banana, 30ml coconut milk and 2 tablespoons of chia seeds.
Also known as flaxseed, these little seeds come in two different varieties, golden or brown. Much like chia seeds, they absorb and hold water and are often used as egg replacers in vegan cooking.
This absorbency also makes them great at helping to improve gut mobility. Add them to scrambled eggs or yummy rice flake porridge on a morning to really boost your digestion.
A gluten-free flour blend like Dove’s farm is fine to use on its own, but I find it can end up leaving recipes a bit bland. Adding extra buckwheat flour, a naturally gluten-free blend, can add a richer flavour to your bakes and also works well on its own. Plus it’s always good to have variety in your diet. I recommend trying some.
Best for: rice flakes, millet flakes, rice malt syrup, xantham gum
Why: Some whole foods, like rice flakes or millet flakes, are really hard to track down on the high street and others like xanthan gum can be really expensive. So I started having a look online instead and found this great store.
I tend to stock up in bulk as they offer free UK deliver for orders over £30, they also have a good points scheme for regular buyers.
RICE AND MILLET FLAKES
I used to do a lot of meals and baking with oats, but they are notorious for causing bloating even in those with no FODMAP sensitivity and I found them very hard to digest – so I’ve switched to low FODMAP substitutes with rice flakes and millet flakes instead.
If you’ve tried using gluten-free ones and still had bother, that’s probably because they’re actually no different to regular oats. Yep, oats are naturally gluten-free anyway. The only difference is the ones branded as such are those that have been prepared and packed in a gluten-free environment. It’s a way of minimising the chances of reactions for those with severe gluten allergies, like celiacs.
If you’re looking for an alternative, give rice or millet flakes a go instead. Rice flakes are a quite crumbly and most resemble oats in cooking, whereas the millet has more of a crunch. Try them in my recipe for banana & peanut rice flake porridge or cranberry crunch granola bars.
Gluten is a protein in wheat that helps bind together breads, cakes and pastries. So if you remove it by using a gluten-free flour, you run the risk of your bakes falling apart! Xanthan gum is a great binding agent for gluten-free breads and pastries. Dove’s Farm does do its own brand, which you can pick up in Holland & Barrett, but it’s much more expensive.
RICE MALT SYRUP
Quite simply a brilliant sweet low FODMAP alternative for recipes that require honey or agave