How to manage a FODMAP diet at Christmas

Christmas is a time of year that is often focused around celebrations. Being on any kind of restrictive diet can make this a challenging time, the FODMAP diet being no exception. FODMAPs are fermentable carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that cause symptoms for some people due to being poorly absorbed. It is important to be aware that the FODMAP diet should be worked on with a dietitian trained in this area and is designed to be a short -term elimination diet.

One of my philosophies when working with clients is always centred around how to make food and eating as simple as possible. Food is there to be enjoyed and to provide nourishment to our bodies. Sometimes we do need to make adjustments due to food allergies or intolerances or other health requirements, but let’s make that as easy for you as possible, not as hard.

In this blog, I thought I would provide some information around helping navigate Christmas day while on the FODMAP diet – either in the elimination part of the diet or on an established regime.

If you are hosting Christmas, then a key factor is to ensure that you design the menu around foods that you will be able to eat. Many foods are naturally FODMAP friendly or can be swapped out for a FODMAP alternative. If you are taking food to someone else, a good idea is to offer to take foods that will contribute to the main part of the meal or dessert – that way you can ensure it is FODMAP friendly.

Christmas foods that are naturally FODMAP friendly or easy to amend


  • Chicken – add a variety of fresh or dried herbs for flavour.
  • Roast lamb – instead of adding garlic, use garlic infused olive oil mixed with rosemary, salt and pepper as a rub.
  • Salmon or any other fish
  • Beef – steak, roast
  • Glazed Ham – To make the glaze FODMAP friendly, replace the honey with golden syrup or brown sugar and make sure you use 100 percent orange juice (preferably not with bits, as this impacts the glaze).


  • Greek salad – remember feta is low in lactose, so is suitable on a FODMAP diet. Tip – a simple dressing can be made using extra virgin olive oil, a splash of balsamic drizzle, a bit of sugar to balance out the flavours and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Coleslaw – adding red cabbage will add a bit of colour variation.
  • Broccoli salad – this is an easy way to add a pop of colour to your table and ingredients can be added or deleted to make it your own. Ingredients – lightly blanched broccoli, diced capsicum, green part of spring onion, cooked bacon, chopped walnuts, dried cranberries, mayonnaise (I like to add a splash of balsamic vinegar and brown sugar).
  • Roasted vegetables – these can be hot or cold and most are fine.  Using a range will add colour and variety and make it a great accompaniment – capsicum, carrot, courgette, broccoli, golden kumara. Any FODMAP friendly ones.You can add smoked paprika, dried rosemary, salt and roast them in garlic infused olive oil to give them a delicious flavour.
  • Raw vegetables put onto a platter cut into a variety of shapes and served on a pretty platter.



  • Pavlova – you may need to scrape some of the cream off the top or take a Lacteeze tablet
    beforehand to digest the lactose
  • Gluten free brownies with sorbet and berry coulis
    Cheeseboard with rice crackers or FODMAP friendly crackers
  • Roulade – berry or passionfruit served with sorbet
  • Gluten free biscuits that you ice yourself with pretty decorations
  • Strawberries dipped in chocolate and then set in the fridge
  • Fruit cut up into different shapes and served on a nice platter or fruit on skewers – pineapple, rockmelon, berries
  • a bowl with nice chocolates – Scorched almonds, chocolate mints
  • Fruit Salad with a dollop of cream or yoghurt or ice cream and topped with a passionfruit swirl or berry coulis. Small amounts of lactose are usually tolerated, so keep the ice cream to 2 -3 spoonfuls.

A FODMAP diet is not used to manage allergy symptoms – it is designed for people who have symptoms of bloating, abdominal pain, excess flatulence, constipation or diarrhoea either due to no known reason or for those people who have another health condition and an associated irritable bowel syndrome with it.  As the FODMAPs are not damaging the gut, despite symptoms you may be experiencing, it may be an option for you  to choose to follow the FODMAP diet as best you can on Christmas day, accept that you may get symptoms by including some FODMAPs, and then resume the diet. (This does not include people with Coeliac disease who need to be 100% gluten free).

And remember to enjoy Christmas and not be stressed, as stress in itself can contribute to stomach symptoms….. but that is a topic for its own blog.

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