Tips & Tricks for Sticking with an IBS Diet
Last updated: January 2023
Oh, the irony. Someone so exhausted, bloated, and anxious (did I mention tired?) has to not only think long and hard about what they eat, but also go to extreme measures to stick to their IBS diet. I have a few tips and tricks to keep you on track, without wearing yourself out!
Cook when you have energy.
Do you have more energy when you first wake up? Wake up just a few minutes early and have something cooking while you’re getting ready! This way, when you get home and are exhausted from the day, you can just heat up your food.
Cut up fruits and veggies all at once, when you feel good. Then freeze them.
How many times have you let low-FODMAP fruits and veggies go bad in your fridge? For me, it’s too many times to count! No only is this a waste of money, but it’s always a waste of fresh nutrients you could be feeding your IBS belly. Sometimes, we’re just too tired to cut up vegetables and cook them, so popping something in the microwave is just way easier. Unfortunately, microwavable dinners have added ingredients that our IBS belly would love to do without. Next time you buy fresh veggies, let’s say squash and zucchini, and cut them up when you’re feeling good. Then put the servings that you would want during any given meal, and then all you have to do is heat them up in a pan with some coconut oil when you are ready. The same goes for fruit for smoothies! Buying frozen vegetables is always another option! It may seem simple, but even something so small can make a huge difference.
Invest in a Keurig.
This little genius invention has been a lifesaver for me! I just purchased one recently after wanting one for years. You may be thinking, why should I buy a Keurig if coffee flares up my IBS? Well, you can buy tea pods for Keurig! Does the thought of waiting for water to boil for your tea make you exhausted thinking about it, so you just forego your tea? Happens to me all the time! But with the Keurig, not only can you buy tea pods, but there is also a hot water stream, so you can have instant access to hot water for tea! Also, for lemon water! Drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning is so good for digestion. I find myself doing it for a few days, and then giving up because the process of making it. If you cut up the lemons before, all at once, and then have the Keurig to give you hot water, it’s a cinch! Another tip from a Twitter follower I learned is to make the lemon water the night before, and pop it in the microwave for an easy gut detoxing morning! Genius!
Be THAT snack person.
I’m that girl. I ALWAYS, I mean ALWAYS, have snacks in my purse. My husband makes fun of me, until he wants some of my snacks. Whether it be a protein bar you can tolerate, or a banana, it’s always good to have something just in case you get in a situation where you can’t eat something that’s put in front of you. Also, it’s never good to go hungry with IBS. Remember, five small meals a day over 3 large meals!
Speaking of bananas: buy the green ones!
I swear it feels like there’s about a 4 second period where bananas go from low-FODMAP to high-FODMAP. Bananas can be your ally, or your worst enemy. When shopping, go for a variety of ripeness. Think about the week, and how ripe that one banana will be tomorrow, and that other banana five days from now. When in doubt, go green! Your stomach, and wallet, will thank you!
Keep a list of safe and offender foods with you at all times.
Whether it’s in your purse, pocket, or in the notes of your phone, always have a list of foods with you that you know you can and cannot eat. I can’t tell you how many times I bought an organic frozen meal that had something in it that I couldn’t eat, or even a juice that had a fruit in it that I just totally forgot was high-FODMAP. I end up having to choose to waste it, or risk a flare. Remember this list is ever changing, so having it on your phone may be easier to keep it updated. When in doubt, look it up!
Lastly, don’t be too hard on yourself.
If there are days when you’re just too tired to cook, and have to eat a microwaveable meal that contains something not ideal for your IBS, that’s okay. Or, if you have to eat your family’s non-IBS dinner because you’re too tired to make two dinners, that’s okay, too. Just don’t let that one meal make you feel like you can’t get back on track! As you know, IBS is all about trial and error, falling down, and getting back up again. Just do what’s best for your body the best way you know how in that given moment, and give yourself a break. After all, you didn’t choose the IBS life, the IBS life chose you.
Which of the following symptoms of IBS do you experience most frequently?