How to Meal Prep on the Low FODMAP Diet
In follow up to the article, How to Meal Plan on the Low FODMAP Diet – I thought we would tackle the next step: meal prepping!
When asked about how much time spent on meal prep, a group of participants said they spend between one to four hours preparing dinner for their families each week. These participants also didn’t have the added stress of meal prepping for IBS – thinking about FODMAPs, food triggers, and meal balance can make meal prep feel even more complicated! Although one total hour isn’t unreasonable, four hours is quite a long time! That works out to be 34 minutes per dinner (and that’s JUST dinners!) What if we could cut that time in half meal prepping for the low FODMAP diet? Think of all the other things you could do with that time!
Tips for meal prep on the low FODMAP diet
I want to share some of my top tips for making meal preparation quick and simple on the low FODMAP diet. Ultimately, the goal is to give you more time to do other things you enjoy and help you stress less about eating foods that may trigger your symptoms.
Cook a low FODMAP meal once, eat twice (or more)
Choose a few versatile low FODMAP ingredients that can fit into your meal plan in different ways. Think about easy “staple foods” that can be eaten in different dishes such as grains or proteins. My favorite low FODMAP foods to batch cook are rice, quinoa, gluten-free pasta, pulled chicken, and hard-boiled eggs. Get creative and diversify these ingredients throughout the week. For example, pulled or shredded chicken can be used for salads, sandwiches, and quesadillas. When part of your meal is already cooked, the rest of the meal comes together so quickly!
Pre-cut vegetables for snacks and meals
Chances are, if you are hungry enough for a snack, you won’t want to spend much time preparing it. We usually want food that is quick and convenient at snack time. Have carrot sticks, cucumber slices, and other low FODMAP veggies pre-cut and washed in the fridge to make low FODMAP foods the easy choice at snack time. Additionally, try taking 20-30 minutes to dice up other low FODMAP veggies for your weekly meals. For example, dice bell peppers for stir fry or roughly chop lettuce for salads and sandwiches. When cooking time rolls around, you will spend 5-10 minutes less on cutting and chopping and can get right into the cooking process!
Make leftovers and freeze for later
We are all very busy - meaning there will be days when cooking and meal prep just aren’t possible. For your future busy self, prepare some extra portions of your favorite low FODMAP meals to pull out when needed. Whether you freeze an entire cooked meal, like soup or stir-fry or simply freeze specific ingredients, like shredded chicken, making extra prevents us from turning to convenience foods that may be high FODMAP. Be sure to label everything you freeze so you know exactly what you’re pulling out for lunch or dinner.
Prepare breakfast ahead
Breakfast is a meal that I see many people struggle with on the low FODMAP diet. Most of us want that extra moment of sleep and breakfast is often sacrificed as a result. Additionally, breakfast tends to be grain-focused (ie. toast, cereal, granola) and this can make breakfast tricky when avoiding wheat on the low FODMAP diet. I highly recommend trying make-ahead low FODMAP breakfasts that require minimal prep in the morning, such as eggs muffins, overnight oats, or lactose-free parfaits with gluten-free granola. You don’t have to sacrifice your sleep to manage your digestive symptoms!
Choose a day and commit
Meal prep works best when we make it a regular part of our routine. Dedicate one hour each week to getting things done in the kitchen. Trust me, every little bit helps with sticking to your low FODMAP diet. Even accomplishing half of your meal-prep to-do list is worth every moment, as it can help to significantly reduce symptoms and stress.
Getting started with meal prepping for IBS
Not sure where to start when meal prepping for the low FODMAP diet? Try taking 30 to 60 minutes this weekend to prep some low FODMAP foods for the week ahead. Start with the basics, like rice for dinners or overnight oats for breakfast. Keep in mind, meal prep works best when you also have a specific low FODMAP meal plan in place, as you can look ahead and know exactly what foods to prepare.
Again, for more information on how to meal plan, check out my meal planning post here. Working with a registered dietitian is also highly recommended when following the low FODMAP diet.
Do you have difficulties with setting boundaries and saying no?