Meal Planning for Breakfast

I’ve been doing some thinking on how far I’ve come from when I first figured out I had IBS and discovered the FODMAP diet.  Besides the constant threat of diarrhea and the pain associated with it, what I remember clearly is the panic I felt around the question ‘what can I eat today?’. I didn’t start out consciously meal planning for breakfast, but I do have a small list of go-to menu items that make it easy for me to start my day AND to grocery shop for.

I can readily admit that I’m not a health nut.  I try to eat balanced, nutritious meals, but I don’t calorie count.  Maybe I’ll get there, but for now, I’m mostly just concerned about the basics about feeding myself.  I love eating for pleasure (having candles on the table makes food taste better, somehow), and can’t see myself gulping down a kale smoothie just ‘because it’s good for me’.  Maybe someday, but not today.

If anyone reads this and is starting out on their FODMAP journey, I hope you can get some inspiration from this post.  I shop at two stores: Safeway and Planet Organic.  Hopefully the ideas will make life just a teeny bit easier for you…. I’ll include recipes in later posts…

Granola Breakfast

toast

 

 

 

 

Breakfast – Weekdays

I tend to alternate between two menus during the week.  Easier to buy groceries for, easy to prepare on mornings when I need to eat before I’m fully woken up.

  • allergen free (gluten, egg, dairy, FODMAP free) bread, toasted, spread with organic crunchy peanut butter and topped with slices of bananas.
  • a dollop of goats-milk yogurt (for some reason my body can handle milk from goats but not a cow), granola (either a low-FODMAP kind from the store or home-made), and fresh berries sprinkled on top (I alternate between raspberries and blueberries, and have discovered that I can tolerate a small amount of blackberries (high on Polyols on the Monash FODMAP app).

scones baked

Breakfast – Weekends

If I’m lazy, I stick to the above.  But I do enjoy baking, and preparing foods with my family so will have one of the following for a special breakfast on a weekend.

Pancakes

  • Oat scones topped with marmalade.
  • Allergen free pancakes, with fruit salad (made with whatever I have on hand that’s got a green light from the Monash FODMAP app), and bacon. Served with pure maple syrup.

Breakfast – on the road

  • Travelling can be a real challenge for someone with IBS.  If I’m staying in a hotel, I make sure I have my rice cakes and organic peanut butter with me.  I’ve found that as long as I’m at a table of people who are ordering off the menu, my bringing food doesn’t cause much of a stir (I do try to be a little discreet, though). If I get an odd look, I’ll order a side of bacon off the menu and that seems to make everything OK.  On the bonus side, crispy bacon on a peanut butter slathered rice cake is incredibly yummy.

And those are about it.  I’ve experimented with other options, but these seem to be my go-to menu items.  At first, deciding what to eat can be daunting, but I’ve discovered that meal planning for breakfast doesn’t have to be a mind-bending, expensive or earth shifting experience.  Good luck to your own breakfast plans!

Eating out for Lunch

Happy New Year!

It looks like we’ve successfully rang in the new year… I had a great Christmas, quiet but not boring, wintery but not too frigid, and most importantly, everyone came down with the flu AFTER Boxing day (actually, I haven’t gotten it yet – thank you thank you thank you).

The Husband surprised me this year by wrapping a couple of gifts for me that were a nod to  my ongoing efforts to follow a low FODMAP diet.

The Mother-In-Law lives in a Seniors residence, and the family often takes her out for lunch.  We go to a typical pancake house, which makes it a challenge for me to select something that’s gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free and low FODMAP.  I don’t want to make a spectacle out of ordering, so I managed to come up with something that’s become ‘the usual’ for me.

My 'usual' for lunch out with the family.  I bring my own dressing!
My ‘usual’ for lunch out with the family. I bring my own dressing!

I order a side salad (often a regular salad is entire head of lettuce and that’s just crazy), checking to see that no shredded cheese or onion is added.  Usually, a side salad at these places is pretty predictable: head lettuce, grated carrot, tomato, maybe some shredded red cabbage.  All ok.   For protein, I ask for a side of bacon.  Hold the dressing.

I bring my own dressing – I make it up at home and bring it with me.  A real challenge to get it there without marinating the inside of my purse!

I picked up a ‘Dressing to Go’ container at my local grocery store – it works pretty well, but is a pain to put the top on – the container itself is soft silicone so pressing down on the lid results in a geyser of the contents…

 

Handy, but be careful getting the lid on!
Handy, but be careful getting the lid on!

The Husband, bless him, has been paying attention to my cursing and picked these travel containers up at a shop that specializes in camping/backpacking gear.  They aren’t supposed to leak, and will carry just enough dressing for a lunch-sized salad.

Travel Containers - from a backpacking specialty store.
Travel Containers – from a backpacking specialty store.

The dressing I make is typically (and these measurements are approximate, I just eyeball it):

Gutsy Broad’s Dressing To Go

  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2-4 Tbsp orange juice
  • salt and pepper to taste

It’s incredibly yummy over the bacon and greens, and also works well over tuna on the salad (I admit to bringing a small pop-top tin of tuna to a restaurant if I’m looking for a change).

It’s always a relief to figure out another piece of the ‘living with IBS’ puzzle.  Eating out for lunch – my solution isn’t a fancy solution, but it’s doable, stress free and lets me join in on family time.