6 Ways to Up Your Fibre Intake on the Low FODMAP Diet
One of the big struggles on the low FODMAP diet is making sure you’re getting enough fibre. This is of particular concern for those struggling with constipation. However, maintaining an adequate fibre intake is important for everyone, as it helps your digestive system run smoothly.
When you start on the low FODMAP diet, thinking it’s going to make all your symptoms go away, you might actually be unpleasantly surprised. For those who suffer with constipation, starting the low FODMAP diet can actually make it worse at first. This is because the low FODMAP diet can compromise your fibre intake, simply because lots of high fibre foods are also high in FODMAPs. So, when you cut out these high FODMAP foods, you also happen to be cutting out lots of high fibre foods. If you do this without replacing them with low FODMAP alternatives, you’ll significantly reduce your fibre intake.
To avoid this happening, all you need to do is put some conscious effort into replacing anything you’ve cut out with equally high fibre alternatives. There are lots of simple ways that you can up your fibre intake on the low FODMAP diet, whilst still sticking to the diet. Here are a few ideas that can help you maintain a happy gut.
WAYS TO UP YOUR FIBRE INTAKE
1. HIGH FIBRE SNACKS
Try using your snacks as a way to up your fibre intake. I find this the easiest way to do it, as you don’t have to use any brain power thinking about how to fit high fibre ingredients into your meals. Also, if you’re being cooked for by someone else, or you're eating out, this is a good way to do it without offending anyone or being ‘difficult.’ There are a long list of high fibre snacks you can go for, like low FODMAP fruit, FODMAP friendly servings of nuts and rice cakes with peanut butter. Here’s a list of 20 low FODMAP snacks, most of which are high fibre.
My personal favourite high fibre, low FODMAP snacks are these energy balls.
2. LOW FODMAP VEG
Try adding more low FODMAP vegetables into your meals. Vegetables are naturally high in fibre and are one of the healthiest ways to up your fibre intake. To keep it low FODMAP but high fibre, you could go for carrots, potatoes (skin on), green beans, kale, parsnip, pumpkin or spinach. These are just a few suggestions, but I’d recommend spending a bit of time on the Monash app, working out which vegetables you like and you want to add in.
3. TRY DIFFERENT GRAINS
When starting the low FODMAP diet, and finding out you have to cut back on wheat, the temptation is to go out and buy gluten free versions of everything. Gluten free bread, pasta, flour, etc. It’s so much easier to do this than to have to put time and effort into discovering new types of grains. However, on top of being highly processed and not that good for your gut, most gluten free products are pretty low in fibre. So, instead of going for gluten free versions of everything, why not try a different grain as a substitute for one of these. For example, you could swap breakfast cereal for oats, gluten free white bread for sourdough spelt bread, or pasta for brown rice or quinoa flakes.
It’ll take a little more thought to research these different grains, how to cook them and how to fit them into your meals. However, it’s a surefire way to up your fibre intake and you might just discover something new that you absolutely love.
Tip - When you're in the supermarket, try comparing products in the per 100g column to find the higher fibre options.
4. CANNED LENTILS + CHICKPEAS
One huge group of foods that are generally high in FODMAPs are beans and pulses. This can really impact your fibre intake, as these foods are also very high in fibre. However, you can safely eat a 46g portion of both canned lentils and chickpeas. Although that isn’t a huge amount, a really simple way to up your fibre intake is to add 46g to salads, soups and stews.
5. GROUND LINSEED/FLAXSEED
This is my secret fibre weapon. Linseeds + flaxseeds have been found to be one of the best, and most tolerated, sources of fibre for all IBS sufferers. That means they’ll help with both constipation and diarrhoea - great news. You can buy these ground up (Linwoods do a fantastic version), which makes them a lot more palatable and so easy to add to just about anything. Try adding 1 tbsp (a FODMAP friendly portion) to your breakfast oats/porridge/granola, salads, stir fries, yoghurt, casseroles, etc. Just adding in 1 tbsp each day will make a big difference to your fibre intake.
6. CONSIDER A SUPPLEMENT
The above are the best (i.e. the most natural and the cheapest) ways to up your fibre intake. However, if you’ve tried all of these, but you still feel like you're lacking fibre, you’re not the only one. If you suffer from constipation, in particular, you might just need an extra bit of help (lots of us do). A fibre supplement is a great way to do this. However, please be cautious here as there are lots of different types of fibre and some of them might actually make symptoms worse. If you go onto the Monash app, you’ll be able to search for low FODMAP certified fibre supplements, which have been certified low FODMAP so shouldn’t cause symptoms for you. My suggestion is to try out a fibre supplement for at least a month and see if it makes any difference, then make a decision about whether to continue.
If you’re struggling to get enough fibre in whilst on the low FODMAP diet, there are lots of simple ways you can up your fibre intake. Why not pick one of these suggestions and try it out this week?
Ways to up your fibre intake:
Try high fibre snacks
Add low FODMAP vegetables to your meals
Try different grains
Add in canned lentils + chickpeas
1 tbsp of ground linseed/flaxseed a day
Consider a fibre supplement
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. Let me know which of these you’re going to try this week in the comments below.