Low-FODMAP Diet for Vegetarians and Vegans

Although it can be quite effective, the low-FODMAP diet for IBS can be challenging to follow. This is particularly true for people who are vegetarians or vegans. If this is you, you may have noticed that many of your staple foods show up on the list of high-FODMAP foods. But this does not mean that you can't be successful on the diet. Let's talk about some tips for successfully following the diet while still being true to your own values.

vegan food
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Work With a Trained Professional

One of the basic tenets of the diet is the recommendation to work with a dietary professional. Given that you eat differently than the majority of the population, you already know how difficult it can sometimes be to access food that works for you. With the low-FODMAP diet, you now have another whole set of restrictions to be concerned about. But, you don't have to do it alone! Working side-by-side with someone who has deep knowledge of the diet can help you to figure out what to eat in all of the various situations you may find yourself in. A dietary professional can also help you to ensure that you are eating a well-rounded diet and not missing out on any essential nutrients.

The Monash University Low-FODMAP Diet app is the most up-to-date source for information as to the FODMAP content of food. New foods are continually being tested. The app can help guide you to the widest variety of vegetables that are allowed during the elimination phase of the diet.

Remember to Keep Re-Testing

The low-FODMAP diet is not intended to be a long-term diet. Once you have been on the elimination phase for a period of approximately four weeks, you will begin the process of introducing your old foods to your diet to assess your ability to tolerate them. This means that you may find that you are able to enjoy some of your preferred staple foods even if they are high in FODMAPs.

Pay Attention to Protein

With the restriction of many legumes, the low-FODMAP diet can make it challenging to meet your protein needs. Lacto-Ovo vegetarians have more low-FODMAP options than vegans. Eggs, lactose-free milk, and many kinds of cheese are considered to be low in FODMAPs. Here are some plant-based protein sources that are classified as low-FODMAP:

Soy products: Soybeans, soy flour, and soy milk are all high-FODMAP foods, but tofu, tempeh, and seitan (non-celiacs only) are all allowed during the elimination phase. You can enjoy milk made with soy protein if you have access to it.

Other legumes: Like soybeans, most legumes are high in FODMAPs. However, small amounts of canned butter beans (1/4 cup), chickpeas (1/4 cup), lentils (1/2 cup), and lima beans (1/4 cup), are allowed if they are well-rinsed. It turns out that FODMAPs are drawn out of these legumes when canned. Draining and rinsing them washes away enough of the troublesome FODMAP so they can be enjoyed even when you are in the elimination phase of the diet.

Milk substitutes: In addition to the soy protein milk referenced above, your best non-dairy milk substitute for protein may be hemp milk, found to be low in FODMAPs. Almond milk was tested and found to be low-FODMAP but is not necessarily a good source of protein.

Grains: Quinoa may just become your go-to grain as it is a good source of protein and is considered low in FODMAPs.

Nuts: Nuts are an easy source of plant-based protein. You can enjoy them whole or in small amounts as nut butters (as long as there are no other high-FODMAP ingredients). Here are some low-FODMAP options:

  • Almonds (limit 10)
  • Brazil nuts
  • Hazelnuts (limit 10)
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Walnuts

Cashew nuts and pistachios are high in FODMAPs and should be avoided.

Seeds: Seeds can also contain varying levels of protein. The following are considered to be low-FODMAP:

  • Chia seeds
  • Poppy seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

In addition to protein, vegetarians and vegans are also at risk of not getting enough iron, zinc, vitamin B12, calcium, and omega-3 fatty acids in their diets. A low FODMAP vitamin and mineral supplement may be warranted in some cases to ensure that nutritional needs are being met. Always speak with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian before starting any supplements. 

4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Harvard Health. Try a FODMAPs diet to manage irritable bowel syndrome.

  2. Hill P, Muir JG, Gibson PR. Controversies and Recent Developments of the Low-FODMAP Diet. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2017;13(1):36-45.

  3. Hill P, Muir JG, Gibson PR. Controversies and Recent Developments of the Low-FODMAP Diet. Gastroenterol Hepatol (N Y). 2017;13(1):36-45. PMID: 28420945

  4. Stanford Health Care. Low FODMAP Diet.

Additional Reading

By Barbara Bolen, PhD
Barbara Bolen, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist and health coach. She has written multiple books focused on living with irritable bowel syndrome.