Ah, the holidays. Excitement builds as we look forward to getting together with friends and family - and all of the holiday food!
Unfortunately for IBS sufferers, these food-filled occasions can lead to IBS flare-ups of painful, or even embarrassing symptoms.
The good news is that when you are hosting a Low FODMAP dinner, you have more control. You can choose recipes that are Low FODMAP compliant, you can shop for the proper ingredients, and control the food preparation ensuring a best-case scenario for you.
But let’s say you are the only FODMAPer, or your spouse or child is. That person is the outlier. What needs to be done in hosting a Low FODMAP dinner that pleases everyone?
First of all, you can never please everyone all the time. A visiting vegan or vegetarian might not be able to eat every dish. Someone who is lactose-free will have to pick and choose. But what we want to promote here is the idea that you can have a truly memorable holiday menu where the person following the Low FODMAP diet can eat all of the food - and everyone else will also be thrilled with the choices.
The key to hosting a Low FODMAP dinner is choosing a menu wisely - and then using some tried and true techniques. Follow our easy steps for the perfect menu that everyone can enjoy.
Hosting Counts - You are the host! You get to decide the menu. And since eating out can be such a challenge for those following the diet, we encourage you to put your medical needs first. With the following flavor-boosting tips, no one will go wanting - and you will be symptom-free and able to enjoy the party.
Choose Wisely - If you know for sure that a vegan is coming or someone is lactose-free, then by all means add one dish that they will be able to enjoy. You cannot please everyone, but remember this is one event. No one is going to starve and you are being a gracious host by making some accommodations.
Adding Onion Flavor - Onions are high FODMAP - and they are called for in many traditional holiday dishes, from stuffing to side dishes, gravies to roasts - even in dips and appetizers! If you leave onion flavor out, the finished product will taste lackluster. It will be especially noticeable to people who are not used to making accommodations for their diet. But don’t worry! Did you know that the green parts of scallions and leeks are Low FODMAP? And that chives are okay, too?
There are ways to bring “onion flavor” to your food! In addition to the aforementioned ingredients it is important to know that fructans, the offending FODMAP found in onions, are not oil soluble. This means that you can add oil to a pot, add a juicy, halved onion to the oil, sauté it around and then if you remove all of the onion pieces (and it has not come in contact with anything other than the oil) you will be left with Low FODMAP onion flavored oil and you can proceed with your recipe!
Maximize Garlic Flavor - Garlic is also a greatly missed ingredient for those following the Low FODMAP diet, but as the fructans are not oil soluble, you can sauté garlic in oil as described above (always removing solids). Better yet, start with Fody Garlic-Infused Olive Oil and use it to sauté a few garlic cloves when you want maximum garlic impact!
Lactose Free is Not Dairy Free - By now you probably know that the FODMAPer does not have to be dairy-free, but attention does have to be paid to lactose. If you haven’t tried lactose-free dairy products yet, this is a perfect time! There are options for sour cream, cream cheese and yogurt, all of which can help you prepare luscious Low FODMAP holiday foods.
Say Yes to Desserts - The holidays are when people treat themselves to foods in which they might not normally indulge. The person following the Low FODMAP diet is no exception - and for many this means desserts! The Low FODMAP diet is not gluten-free per se, but wheat contains fructans and all-purpose flour (made from wheat) is therefore an issue. Arm yourself with a good gluten-free pie crust recipe and also pay attention to fruit based desserts that focus on Low FODMAP ingredients like citrus, grapes, cranberries and pomegranates. Also, did you know that chocolate is Low FODMAP in 30 g amounts?
Enjoy the Process - And last but not least, have fun hosting a Low FODMAP dinner! Making decisions about how you are going to treat yourself and your guests can be an empowering and joyful experience, especially when you have helpful tools like great recipes and ingredients.