Many of my patients with digestive issues get frustrated during the holidays, because certain foods like dairy, gluten, garlic and onions seem to be in almost every dish. However, many traditional Thanksgiving foods are actually low FODMAP, meaning they are low in fermentable carbohydrates. Here are some tips to make your thanksgiving bloat-free, nutritious and delicious!
1. Turkey without gravy is usually low FODMAP- if you can, get a pasture raised bird from Whole Foods, a natural market or your local butcher shop.
2. Green beans! Making roasted or sautéed green beans with garlic-infused oil, fresh herbs and chopped toasted almonds is a classic! You can also make roasted carrots as a vegetable side.
3. Squash and Parsnips! Other than butternut squash and sweet potato, parsnip and most squashes like delicata, Hubbard, and acorn are low FODMAP! Roast itwith garlic infused oil instead of garlic, stuff it or make it into a mash with 100% coconut milk or grass fed ghee for creamy deliciousness. Check out my parsnip mash recipe- you can modify it depending on what squash you'd like to use.
4. Load up on salad and veggies first. Make this half your plate. This will give you antioxidants and fiber that add balance to your meal. Try this delicious harvest salad recipe- It goes well with either tahini dressing (less traditional) or a simple lemon and olive oil vinaigrette with fresh herbs.
6. Add nuts for some healthy fats that will balance your blood sugar. Since there are a lot of carbohydrate rich foods on the Thanksgiving menu, adding good fats and keeping your portions of squash, stuffing and dessert to 1/4 of your plate or less helps keep the balance and bloat in check. Try my Maple Rosemary Pecans recipe. You can make them without sweetener or use clover honey instead of maple syrup to keep the FODMAP load down. You can sprinkle it on your meal or serve as a pre-thanksgiving snack.
7. Decide on dessert. If you keep your main meal low in carbohydrate rich sides, you can make a healthy dessert or have a couple squares of high quality 85% dark chocolate. I love this pumpkin pie with ginger bread recipe, and you can use almond flour or chopped pecans as the crust (chopped pecans, egg, pumpkin spice) but use less maple syrup or honey than the recipe calls for to keep the total carbohydrates down.
Even if you are at a family member's house and have little control over the menu, making most of your meal vegetables and keeping the sources of carbs (stuffing, dessert, squashes, potato) to 1/4 of your plate will keep the overall bloating to a minimum.
Above all, enjoy your meal! One of the biggest themes of Thanksgiving is gratitude- and you can take even a few deep breaths before eating to appreciate the abundance of the food in front of you. You can also try mindful eating- eating slowly and feeling how the flavors on your plate blend together and change on different parts of your tongue. This will help you mechanically digest food better and get the digestive juices flowing!