Thanksgiving is just around the corner, so you are probably starting to plan how to have a low FODMAP Thanksgiving.
This article will help you plan with some simple swaps that will transform your holiday recipes into FODMAP-friendly versions! (Without your family having to suffer with tasteless food!)
We will also provide some delicious low FODMAP thanksgiving recipes that you can’t miss out on.
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How to host a FODMAP friendly thanksgiving (that tastes good)
If you are hosting, then take extra time to meal plan ahead of time. Unfortunately, many traditional Thanksgiving dishes contain moderate to high amounts of FODMAPs. Here are some that you have to watch out for:
- Green bean casserole – includes onion and mushroom soup
- Stuffing – contains wheat, garlic and onion
- French onion dip – contains milk, sour cream, cream cheese and onion
- Gravy – contains wheat, celery, onion, garlic and milk
- Cranberry sauce depending on the portion size – contains cranberries
- Mixed nuts – if containing cashews and pistachios
- Pumpkin pie – contains milk, cream and wheat
Instead of just telling you what you can’t have. We are going to explain what you can have for a low fodmap Thanksgiving!
Low FODMAP Thanksgiving Main Course
Low FODMAP Turkey
Turkey is perfect for Thanksgiving, especially when you’re feeding a crowd. It is an excellent source of protein and, most importantly, naturally free from FODMAPs!
It is best to prepare the turkey yourself. Sometimes pre-cooked turkeys can contain additives and flavourings high in FODMAPs, such as onion and garlic.
Here are some of our favourite low FODMAP turkey recipes:
- Lemon and herb butter turkey
- Turkey roulade with herb & nut stuffing
- Citrus & herb crisp whole roast low FODMAP turkey
- Maple glazed turkey breast
If you do not enjoy turkey, or want to offer a variety of meats, here are some alternatives:
- Roasted chicken with maple and rosemary
- Orange rosemary roast chicken
- Brown sugar-baked ham
- Glazed ham
Low FODMAP Thanksgiving Vegetables and Sides
Potatoes themselves are low FODMAP. However, mashed potatoes are often made with milk. This can make them high in FODMAPs.
You can substitute with lactose-free milk and season with salt and pepper. You can even garnish with chives or chopped spring onion (green tops only!).
Here are some potato recipes that you might enjoy:
A classic at Thanksgiving is a green bean casserole. Green beans themselves are a low FODMAP vegetable. However, it contains fried onion and condensed cream of mushroom soup, making it high in FODMAPs.
Fortunately, there are low FODMAP versions that have no garlic, onion or mushrooms:
Alternatively, you can roast, steam, or sauté your green beans. Add in some diced bacon or spices for some richness! Here are some green bean recipes you can try:
- Lemon green beans with pine nuts
- Pan-roasted green beans & almonds
- Steamed green beans with almonds & nutmeg
Carrots have been shown to contain no FODMAPs (1). They are a great vegetable to be added as a side to your Thanksgiving dinner. Here are some low FODMAP carrot recipes:
- Carrots and parsnips with Dijon butter
- Roasted and glazed carrots
- Roasted carrots with ‘Everything Bagel’ Seasoning
Cornbread is another traditional thanksgiving staple. It is the perfect comfort food for your Thanksgiving feast. However, most cornbread contains wheat flour, making it high in FODMAP. Here are some low FODMAP cornbread recipes:
If you want something different, you can also try to make this low FODMAP Pumpkin bread.
Low FODMAP Thanksgiving Sauces
Low FODMAP Gravy
The main ingredients in store-bought and homemade gravies are wheat flour, celery sticks, onion, garlic and milk. These are all sources of FODMAPs which can cause IBS symptoms.
Instead of buying a premade gravy we suggest that you make your own low – FODMAP version using this recipe – You can learn how to make a low FODMAP gravy here.
Low FODMAP Cranberry Sauce
Cranberry sauce has not been officially tested by Monash University (1). However, 50 g (½ cup) of fresh cranberries are considered low in FODMAPs (2). In larger portion sizes, it contains the FODMAP Oligo-fructans.
Cranberry sauce basically consists of fresh cranberries boiled in sugar water. It is ready once the berries pop and the mixture thickens.
You can test your tolerance level to cranberry sauce by taking all FODMAPs out of your diet for 3 days whilst testing varying quantities of cranberry sauce. For example, start off with 1 tbsp cranberry sauce and increase your serving size gradually.
Always check the ingredient list in store-bought cranberry sauces for high-fructose corn syrup.
Alternatively, you can try out these low FODMAP homemade cranberry sauce recipes:
- Monash’s Homemade cranberry sauce
- A Little Bit Yummy’s Cranberry sauce
- Cranberry sauce with clementines and ginger
Low FODMAP Stuffing
Traditional stuffing is made with wheat-containing bread, garlic and onion, making it high in FODMAPs. Instead, you can try low FODMAP bread, garlic-infused oil and chives.
Or here are some low FODMAP stuffing recipes for you to try making at home:
Low FODMAP Thanksgiving Desserts
The perfect way to finish a delicious thanksgiving meal is pumpkin pie. However, wheat flour in the shortcrust pastry and milk used in the filling is high in FODMAPs. You can substitute these ingredients by using low FODMAP flour and lactose-free milk.
Try out these low FODMAP pumpkin pie recipes:
To offer a range of desserts to cater to the taste preferences of all of your guests, try out these other low FODMAP thanksgiving dessert recipes:
Alternatively, if you want something simple and ready made that you can buy:
- Daiya Ice Cream and Ice Cream Bars
- White/milk/dark Chocolate (click here to check for portion sizes)
- Rice cakes with a dark chocolate topping
- Schär Gluten-Free Choco Chip Cookies
- Butter it up gluten free chocolate shortbread cookies
- President choice gluten free vanilla cupcakes
- Angie’s Boom Chicka Pop Popcorn – Light Kettle Corn or Sweet & Salty
How to eat out for thanksgiving when you have IBS
Eating out at a restaurant or with friends or family can be tricky. The best way to avoid IBS symptoms is to get all the information ahead of time.
Try to ring in advance when eating out at a restaurant. Most restaurants can be accommodating to meet your dietary needs. Sometimes they have their menus online so you can look for suitable choices.
Similarly, try to ask your host for the menu beforehand. Alternatively, you can always bring a low FODMAP dish to share. Thus, your host will not need to worry about dietary restrictions.
We have a whole post on Choosing Low FODMAP Food at Restaurants that can help you further.
Following the low FODMAP diet during the holidays can be a challenge. However, planning can make your experience more enjoyable!
Always try to ring the restaurant or ask the host for the menu in advance. You can even try to bring your own low FODMAP dish for everyone to share.
Alternatively, you can host your Thanksgiving dinner at home. With our low FODMAP thanksgiving guide, you will have the ability to make food which is both low in FODMAP and tasty that no one will even know!
Article written by Leeona Lam MSc, ANutr, reviewed by Beth Willson Specialist Gastroenterology Dietitian BSc Hons and Kirsten Jackson Consultant Dietitian BSc Hons, RD, PG Cert
Beth is UK HCPC Registered Dietitian who specialises in gastrointestinal surgery. Beth graduated from University of Surrey in 2020 with a degree in Nutrition and Dietetics.