- Bananas: On the BRAT diet you are supposed to eat bananas that are slightly more ripe because the unripe bananas have more of a fiber called “resistant starch”. This starch resists digestion in the small intestine, and then gets fermented in the colon. It’s typically fine to consume (in small amounts) on a low FODMAPs diet, but may cause further GI problems if eaten in excess while you’re having GI upset (hence the reason why the BRAT diet suggests eating them ripe!). I would be careful not to have more than 1/2-1 full banana (and make it small, and more ripe) per day when trying to give your GI tract a break, and following a low FODMAPs diet. Some people can handle more than others, so eat with caution.
- Rice: Rice is fine, but make sure it’s lower in fiber, because the purpose of the BRAT diet is to provide bland and lower fiber foods. Most likely white or brown rice would be fine (brown rice usually doesn’t have much fiber anyway). Also, do not season the rice with anything other than perhaps a dash of salt.
- Applesauce: Stay away. Loaded with FODMAPs.
- Toast: When I was sick I was seriously craving sourdough bread. According to the low FODMAPs app (from the Monash University), sourdough bread is only ok when it’s made from wheat-free grains. Ugh. That’s rare here in the states! Plus, when I sent Nick to the store to pick up some fresh sourdough bread, I had him read the ingredients to me and to my horror I found that all of them also had honey (not low FODMAPs)! Ugh again. I still ate it. But your best bet is a wheat-free bread (or just look for gluten-free, because that’s automatically going to be wheat-free) and be sure to read the ingredients and watch out for things like honey, HFCS, apple concentrates or pear concentrates (yes, I have found these in breads before, they are out there).
- Chicken: A bland, boiled chicken is fine, but be careful with chicken soup (see below)
I also enjoy popsicles and cold foods when I have stomach/GI issues. In fact, I like switching between hot soup and cold ices or popsicles. I don’t know why, but that’s my thing. I ate this Italian Ice on the day I was sick, and it really hit the spot. Notice the ingredients below, all fine on a low FODMAPs diet.
Simple ingredients! These are best. The guar gum and xanthan gums, which are used to bind ingredients together, may cause problems if eaten in excess ( I say “may” because I’m not 100% sure about these ingredients), but in this case I don’t see any issues.
|Source: iStock Photo|
- Popcicles/cold foods: I recommend a simple Italian Ice like the one pictured above. Or, if you can find a brand of popsicle that doesn’t contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, that would be great (they are hard to find!). Sometimes it’s best just to make your own (but, no one wants to do that when they have a cold and feel run down).
Sugar alcohols are a type of polyols. You need to really limit these on low FODMAPs
- Hot Soups: Good luck finding any soups that don’t contain onion or garlic. You’ll have to stick to simple broth. You’ll also have to give up your goals of eating “only natural foods” when you have a cold and you really crave some hot soup. Why? Because most of the broths that I have found on the market that are deemed “ok” for those following a low FODMAPs diet are also loaded with unnatural ingredients…..
|So natural and yummy, but….so many offenders on this list!|
- Hot Tea: Yes, yes, yes! Drink it up. Just make sure you aren’t buying a tea that is flavored with honey.
|Source: iStock Photo|
Other things to think about? Throat lozenges and cough drops. Many of them contain honey and/or pure fructose, just be aware (and they may not cause big problems if you are just doing 1 every couple hours). Something else I would recommend are citrus fruits, like clementines and oranges (but not orange juice, most are off-limits).
And my best advice? Drink plenty of water, and stay active. Yes, you read that right, stay active! Exercise boosts your immune system and if you can add some small amounts of activity and/or exercise into your routine, even if you have a cold, it may help reduce the duration. Take it from me, it works.