The holidays are upon us and with that comes decision after decision to make. Our low-FODMAP Thanksgiving ideas help you to juggle protecting your digestive health from IBS flares while navigating the holidays. Virtual Thanksgiving Ideas included! Let’s dive in, starting with the most important tip: having a thoughtful plan in place.
Have a plan in place
The best thing that you can do for your own peace of mind and to minimize the potential for an IBS flare is to talk with the host in advance.
If you haven’t had to contend with food sensitivities and an elimination diet before, you might be feeling really overwhelmed. When you walk through the foods that you’re avoiding to protect against IBS flares, they might honestly not know what is left.
With practice, simple swaps can make a lot more Thanksgiving dishes available for everyone. For example, tossing steamed green beans in olive oil instead of butter means that everyone can eat them – those avoiding dairy and those who can eat it.
So whether you’re hosting, attending a party where the host cooks most, or having a potluck, communication in advance helps everyone to be able to safely enjoy the most foods.
If you’re attending a potluck where you don’t know everyone, it might be helpful to bring or suggest to the host to have food labels for each dish. That way you know what is in a dish and who made it, in case you have any follow up questions.
Have a backup plan, too.
Everyone means well, but sometimes things go awry. Best not to arrive at the party hungry in case there is a delay on foods being ready or there aren’t as many options as you were expecting.
It is always a good idea to have backup foods, too, in case they’re needed. A few of your favorite energy bars, low FODMAP fruits and nuts will be a welcome sight in your purse if your hunger levels are rising. You might not end up needing those peanuts or fresh clementines, but you’ll be glad to have them on hand if you do.
And, just in case, be prepared with any remedies that help you to feel better if you do become symptomatic.
Don’t let folks get nosy
Sometimes people get far too nosy about what you’re eating and why. If you’re interested in talking about your journey to understanding your own gut health, feel free to do so. But also remember that you don’t owe anyone any information if you’re not wanting to share.
If the spotlight is suddenly on you at the dinner table, feel free to deflect and then change the subject.
“Great question – I’d be happy to talk about that after the meal a bit. In the meantime, have I told you the latest funny thing that my dog did?”
If you decide you’d rather not delve in later, keep it short and sweet, and then change the subject again.
“I’m doing what is helping me to feel better than I have in a long time. If you’d like more information about it, I recommend you check out Belly Bliss Nutrition – they have so much information and have really helped me to become more knowledgeable about what my body needs to feel best. For now, do you want to play a card game?
Low-FODMAP Thanksgiving Menu
If this is your first Thanksgiving following an elimination protocol, you might be feeling a bit (or a lot) overwhelmed. We’ve been there! While things get easier with practice, do your best to keep things as simple as possible and to plan in advance as much as possible. It is harder to make informed decisions on the fly.
Low-FODMAP Thanksgiving appetizer ideas
- Low FODMAP ranch dressing dip
- Sweet and spicy mixed nuts (can be made ahead)
- Spinach dip mini pepper poppers
Low FODMAP Thanksgiving dish ideas
- Homemade cranberry sauce
- Turkey Roulade
- Roasted chicken with maple and rosemary
- Low FODMAP stuffing
- Low FODMAP mashed potatoes and gravy
- Cranberry and quinoa salad – a great main dish for vegetarian guests
- Green beans with lemon and pine nuts
- Creamy green bean casserole with potato chip crust
- Roasted carrots with homemade everything but the bagel seasoning
- Cornbread muffins slathered with Pumpkin Butter
Low-FODMAP Thanksgiving dessert ideas
Not seeing what you’re looking for? We have a few more Thanksgiving menu ideas on this blog post.
Make time to move and play
Eating for several hours straight can be a recipe for disaster for anyone. But for you and your IBS? Things could be even tougher on your digestion.
Opt for a walk, a mini dance party in the kitchen, toss around the football in the back yard or start your day with a turkey trot 5 or 10k race. Most races will be virtual this year, which is a great opportunity to connect with friends and family who you won’t see in person. No matter how you choose to weave it in, some joyful movement throughout the day can improve digestion as well as diffuse tension with challenging family members.
If you’ll be spending a long day with your Thanksgiving crowd, you might also be interested in a few card games or board games between dinner and dessert. Not only is this fun, it also gives your belly a break before you load up on seconds or dessert. I have been enjoying Quixx, Boggle and Bananagrams.
2020 has been a challenging year in so many ways. Holidays can sometimes become contentious as we come together after an election. Keep the conversation constructive with conversation ice-breaker cards, movies and games. Less stress is better for everyone, especially your digestion.
IBS friendly drink ideas
Having a drink or two sounds like fun in the moment (and your fellow diners might be pressuring you to drink) but unfortunately, alcohol is a gut irritant. If you can tolerate a small amount, we recommend you stick with white wine or vodka to minimize other potential irritants beyond the alcohol – beer and many liquors contain gluten; red wine causes a histamine reaction in folks who are sensitive to it.
One option for a low FODMAP cocktail is this Twisted Tom Collins recipe. Tasty mocktail options are available, too. From a warm Mock Mulled Wine to a refreshing Strawberry Sparkling Mocktail, you have options to get excited about and enjoy.
A warm mug of mint, ginger or green tea might be delicious and also help to soothe your belly after a large meal.
Virtual Thanksgiving ideas
This year will be far different from any other. With the COVID pandemic on top of your gut health issues, we have to be flexible and nimble to do our best to honor traditions in the safest ways.
For many of us, that is going to include changes. Not only to menu items and ingredients but also to the ways in which we celebrate the holidays.
This year might involve eating Thanksgiving outside, instead of in your usual cozy dining room. There will likely be far fewer people gathering and things might be 100% virtual. Preserve what gatherings and traditions you can, in as safe of a way as possible.
If your family usually dresses up for Thanksgiving, be sure to do so still, even if you’re meeting on Zoom. If you usually make holiday ornaments or play games, do so virtually via Zoom or Houseparty. If everyone is enjoying the same warm drink and has candles lit, it can evoke a cozy mood, even if you’re apart.
If you’re having trouble nailing down what foods do help you to be free of digestive issues – we can help. We are excited to help you to feel better than you have in a long time. We offer free 15-minute strategy calls to get started. We can’t wait to meet with you – you deserve to be symptom free.