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IBS and Exercise Enthusiasts: a Sample Day of Meals

As an athlete, IBS can be a real pain in the butt (or the gut). One minute, you are running along enjoying the scenery, and then all of a sudden, your body decides it’s time to go…really GO! While the exercise-induced gastrointestinal syndrome is not uncommon, it’s far from enjoyable. Say goodbye to frantic trips to the bathroom and bushes! It’s time to reclaim exercise success, without the gastrointestinal stress!

An exercise enthusiast has no time for the BS of IBS. Grab your sneakers and kick IBS symptoms to the curb with a low FODMAP diet food trial. This will help you rule out which foods work for you and which work against you. It helps exercisers reduce gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and constipation, and keep you enjoying the activities you love. 1 While a low FODMAP diet may seem restrictive, it’s temporary. Add a dietitian to your team roster to better understand your food triggers, help alleviate IBS symptoms, improve your fitness level, and open your eyes to a plethora of gut-friendly meal options. After all, teamwork makes the dream work!

Low FODMAP carbohydrates

The following carbohydrates are low in FODMAPs and can be eaten liberally:2

  • Corn tortillas
  • Oats (gluten-free when possible)
  • Polenta
  • Rice
  • Sourdough
  • Sorghum
  • Buckwheat
  • Quinoa

High FODMAP carbohydrates

Ouch! These common carbohydrates are high in FODMAPS and may result in gastrointestinal distress:2

  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Wheat

Remember, certain fruits and vegetables may also be high in FODMAP. For the complete ingredient breakdown and tolerable serving sizes, see this editorial guide.

IBS-friendly meal plan

Looking for some food-spiration? Here is a sample IBS-friendly meal plan to get you started!

Breakfast: Oatmeal

  • ½ cup rolled oats (gluten-free)
  • Lactose-free milk (enough to cover oats)
  • 1 unripe medium banana
  • 1 tsp of peanut butter
  • 2 tsp of flaxseed meal
  • Cinnamon to taste

Tip: Most individuals with IBS tolerate a ½ cup of dry oats. Buy gluten-free when possible. Larger servings of rolled oats (¾ cup dry) contain high amounts of Oligos, which may trigger symptoms. Quick oats have a lower threshold of ¼ cup.

Mid-morning Snack: Marinated Veggies

  • Cucumber
  • tomatoes
  • feta cheese
  • balsamic vinegar
  • olive oil

Tip: Feta cheese contains trace amounts of FODMAPs and therefore should be limited to 3 tablespoons.3

Lunch

  • Tuna Sandwich
  • Sourdough bread
  • Mix: tuna, mayo, lemon juice, chopped red bell pepper, chopped cucumber, paprika, salt, & pepper
  • Salad: Lettuce, shredded zucchini, radish, pepitas, and ginger dressing (olive oil, fresh ginger, vinegar, maple syrup, mustard, salt)

Tip: When choosing a sourdough bread, look for a variety that contains spelt flour to boost whole grain content and its accompanying nutrients. Spelt is lower in FODMAP than wheat, but still higher in FODMAPS than many gluten-free grains.

Afternoon Snack: Chia Pudding

  • Chia seeds, lactose-free milk, and 100 percent maple syrup, topped with fresh raspberries, slivered almonds, and cinnamon

Tip: Chia seeds are well-tolerated in 2 tablespoon servings, and raspberries are well-tolerated at 30 berries.

    Dinner: Tofu Bowl

    • Stir-fry firm tofu
    • Bok choy
    • Carrots
    • Water chestnuts
    • Brown rice
    • Sauce: Soy sauce (gluten-free liquid aminos), sesame oil, fresh ginger, water, and cornstarch
    • Water

    Tip: Opt for firm tofu options, as silken tofu is high in Oligos (GOS and fructans). Also, limit bok choy consumption to 1 cup to minimize excess sorbitol.

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