This is how you eat enough fruit and vegetables on the low FODMAP diet
I often hear from fodmappers that they find it difficult to eat enough vegetables and fruit during the low FODMAP diet. Many kinds of fruit and vegetables are limited low FODMAP and are not allowed in large amounts.
How do you make sure that you eat enough fruit and vegetables each day? And how do you vary enough?
The Dutch food institute advises tot eat at least 250 gram vegetables and 200 gram fruit per day and if you eat more it is even better.
Many Dutch people don’t get to 250 gram vegetables and 200 gram fruit per day and if you have a limited diet, like we do, it can feel like quite a challenge to eat enough fruit and veggies.
It is, however, quite easy to eat enough fruit and vegetables each day, if you build in some simple habits. Also when you eat low FODMAP!
Use fruits and vegetables without FODMAPs
When you eat fruits and vegetables, you want to avoid FODMAP stacking, which can cause stomach problems. Luckily there are also fruits and vegetables that don’t contain FODMAPs and that you can eat freely.
In the Monash app these products can be recognised by the green traffic light and the text below that says: only trace amounts / no FODMAPs were detected in this food. Eat freely and according to appetite.
Note: until recently strawberries and grapes were also marked in the app with “no FODMAPs detected, eat freely”. At the end of 2021 Monash University has retested these foods and the amounts in the app were updated.
White grapes are low FODMAP up to 32 grams per serving, red grapes up to 28 gram and strawberries up to 65 gram.
Also tomatoes and red bell pepper used to be in the “eat freely” category, but have been retested in march 2022. Red bell pepper is low FODMAP in a serving of 43 gram, green bell pepper 75 gram.
A serving of 65 gram is low FODMAP for common tomatoes, 75 gram for roma tomatoes, 45 gram for cherry tomatoes and 69 gram for vine tomatoes.
The vegetables and fruits below are free from FODMAPs (this is not a full list, check the app to see everything):
- Bean sprouts
- English spinach
- Oyster mushrooms
- Japanese orange pumpkin (no butternut squash)
- Dragon fruit
You can use these fruits and vegetables to build your base for fruits and vegetables during the day. When I take bread with me for lunch at work, if often also take a small salad that I make with lettuce, tomato, cucumber and olives.
I just throw it into a box in the morning and take it with me to work. Or I take some slices of cucumber or carrots as a snack.
If you add 100-150 gram vegetables to your lunch or your snack, you will easily reach about 350 grams of vegetables per day!
Next to the vegetables and fruits that don’t contain any FODMAPs, there are also plenty of fruits and vegetables that are limited low FODMAP, which you can also add to your meals.
With these kinds you just have to pay attention to stay within the low FODMAP serving size. For fruits you can also choose from, for example:
- Banana, unripe (max. 100 gram)
- Blueberries (max. 40 gram)
- Raspberries (max. 60 gram)
- Grapefruit (max. 80 gram)
- Kiwi green (max. 3 kiwis)
- Kiwi gold (max. 2 kiwis)
- Cantaloupe melon (max. 120 gram)
- Honeydew melon (max. 90 gram)
- Mango (max. 40 gram)
- Strawberries (max. 65 gram)
- Passionfruit (max. 2 fruits)
- Pineapple (max. 140 gram)
- Pomegranate (max. 45 gram)
Divide your fruit and vegetables over several meals
Many fodmappers cannot eat too large portions of fruit and vegetables at once. This might be because you accidentally stack FODMAPs and that causes problems.
But it can also be because the fruit sugars in fruits and the fibers in fruit or vegetables cause problems in larger amounts.
For fruit the advice is to eat a maximum of 150 gram of fruit per serving. Next to that you can spread your fruit and vegetable intake over several meals.
I do this in the following way:
- Breakfast: 1 piece of fruit, such as 100 g unripe banana or 60 g raspberries in my yoghurt or oatmeal.
- Snack 1 or lunch: 150 g vegetables as a snack or 150 g snack vegetables or a small salad with my lunch.
- Snack 2: 1 other piece of fruit, such as 2 kiwis or an orange.
- Dinner: 200-250 gram vegetables in my dinner.
I prefer to eat one snack that is not fruit or vegetables, often a low FODMAP bar or a homemade healthy snack. Right now I take a slice of chocolate zucchini bread as my first snack in the morning around 11.
In the afternoon around 3 or 4, I usually have some fruit, such as a small banana, 2 kiwi fruits or two mandarines. I take my extra vegetables with my lunch and I add at least 200 grams of vegetables to my dinner.
Like this, I easily eat 200-250 gram fruit and 350-400 gram vegetables per day.
Adding low FODMAP vegetables to your dinner
You usually have the largest portion of vegetables in your dinner (or sometimes also lunch). How do you make sure that you don’t get problems because you are stacking FODMAPs?
When you are still in the first phase of the low FODMAP diet, it is safest to only add one vegetable that is limited low FODMAP to each meal and use vegetables that don’t contain any FODMAPs next to that.
For example: rice with chicken, soy sauce and stir-fried broccoli (limited low FODMAP), oyster mushrooms (no FODMAPs), bean sprouts (no FODMAPs) and carrot (no FODMAPs).
You can also use two kinds of vegetables that are limited low FODMAP, but then you have to make sure that these are vegetables from two different FODMAP groups, to avoid stacking.
For example broccoli (the fructans group) and eggplant (the sorbitol group). Like this you can eat a lot of vegetables without getting stomach problems.
Also by adding a side salad to your dinner with vegetables that don’t contain any FODMAPs, such as lettuce, tomato and cucumber, you can add extra vegetables.
Vary with your fruit and veggies to keep it fun!
I notice that, when I don’t pay attention, I often eat the same vegetables each week. I buy veggies that don’t contain any FODMAPs because it is safe and they are my favourites.
But because it is important to vary with the food that you eat, I try to challenge myself each week to change up my vegetables.
If I take zucchini in one week, I buy eggplant the next week. One week I buy lettuce, the next week I buy spinach. I also regularly buy some veggies that I don’t cook with a lot, such as parsnip or kohlrabi.
In this way you avoid that you eat the same things over and over. It will also make you more creative when you cook with vegetables that you don’t use so often and you try tasty new recipes!
To avoid that a veggie that I don’t buy often just lays in my fridge for a few weeks because I don’t know what to do with it, I try to plan my meals a little.
In the weekend, I will sit down and plan at least 3 to 5 of my dinners for the week. I also plan what I want to eat for breakfast, lunch and snacks.
The rest of my dinners are usually spontaneous or I make one of my staple simple dinners. Because I plan, I know for sure that I vary with the veggies that I eat.
Make sure to always have some fruit and vegetables in your pantry
Finally, I always make sure that I have some fruit and vegetables in my freezer and some canned food. Like that, I never have an excuse to not eat enough fruit and vegetables because I ran out. Things that you can almost always find in my freezer / pantry:
- Frozen raspberries or strawberries
- Bananas, frozen in slices
- Frozen blueberries
- Sometimes: frozen pineapple or passion fruit in cubes
- Frozen spinach
- Frozen broccoli
- Frozen pumpkin in cubes (in winter)
- Canned diced tomatoes
- Canned olives
- Grilled bell pepper in a jar
- Canned green beans
- Canned edamame beans
These are the things that help me to eat enough fruit and vegetables with my limited diet and to vary enough. How do you do it with fruit and vegetables during the FODMAP diet? Do you think that you eat enough fruit and veggies each day or can you still improve this?
Together we go for a calm belly!
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