The most common diets used for people with IBS and SIBO are the low FODMAP diet - developed by scientists at Monash university - and the SIBO Bi-Phasic diet, developed by Nirala Jacobi, ND (based on Alison Siebecker's diet and the SCD diet). The two diets are similar, although the Bi-Phasic diet is stricter, especially during Phase 1 - this can be more helpful for those with very sensitive guts and with the most severe symptoms.
You can read more about why the low FODMAP diet doesn't work for everyone. Hopefully the resources on my site will help you make an informed decision about which diet to choose.
Following a specific diet - such as the SIBO Bi-Phasic Diet or low FODMAP - can be challenging, so having a strategy before you start is imperative. Spending some time preparing/planning before the start of each week is also essential. Doing this will reduce your stress levels and increase the likelihood that the diet will help reduce your symptoms.
Here are options for meals and snacks on the SIBO diet - you can pick and choose depending on your individual needs, preferences and budget. You can add your own ideas to this list.
Since everyone is very individual, it helps to keep a food and symptom diary for a few weeks to see how you go with different foods. This is especially important when you get to the stage of re-introducing foods.
For the meal prep type ideas (#3- #5 below) you will need to buy some containers to freeze in or just ziplock bags - these take up less space if frozen flat. You can re-use them by turning them inside out, washing and drying them.
Options #1 and #2 are the most convenient for those who are time-poor. Although they are not as cheap as the other options, they will give you options to have some emergency meals ready to go. They may not be suitable if you are following the first phase of the SIBO BiPhasic Diet - always consult your practitioner if you need to clarify anything.
Please check labels if you need to be very strictly gluten and dairy free. Also if you are highly sensitive to any particular foods, please look out for those on labels.
There are going to be times when you may not be able to follow the diet strictly - please give yourself some grace and get back to it when you can. It’s not going to derail your progress. Unfortunately, our society isn’t geared to properly cater to people with specific dietary needs.
Note that references to rice and potatoes are in the suggestions below - these are usually included on a less strict version of the SIBO diet.
Jasmine and sushi rice ferment much less than basmati and brown rice - meaning less symptoms - so please use this or sushi rice. This is where my advice differs from what you might find on the low FODMAP app or
You can use the microwave packets if it helps, just be aware of the serving size according to the Bi Phasic PDF or the FODMAP app. OR you can cook a large amount of jasmine rice and then portion that into containers to freeze, just be aware of the serving sizes as per the PDF.
In most cases, rice noodles (the dried variety) are made with jasmine rice unless they are brown rice noodles. Fresh rice noodles often contain gluten in the form of “wheaten corn starch” - these are usually used at restaurants for example in Thai dishes. If you can tolerate some gluten, this option is OK however wheat contains fructans which are a FODMAP.
If you’re unsure of any details, check in first with your practitioner.
Meal delivery services
Please choose recipes without basmati or brown rice - choose jasmine or sushi rice.
- For Australia: Here are the GF, low FODMAP, onion and garlic free meal options from
We Feed You
- Also in Australia, Dineamic have great options
- In the US, Modify Health has a range of Low FODMAP meal options https://modifyhealth.com/collections/low-fodmap-diet-meal-delivery
If you live in another country, you will most likely find a similar service.
Paying someone to cook meals for you
Another option is to pay someone on Airtasker - or another service - to make you some meals from the SIBO cookbooks and then freeze those - you will need to make space in your freezer. You may only need someone a few hours each week or fortnight. You could also pay a friend or family member to help out, or do a swap/deal with them. You can give them the books from Rebecca Coombes or Phoebe Lapine with recipes.
Roast/Rotisserie Chicken from the supermarket can be made in to different meals
- Shred the chicken and add some cooked frozen veggies that are on the allowed list (page 5 of the PDF) eg. cauli, broccoli, green beans. You can also buy pre-cooked beetroot in plastic packets. Add in some olives too when serving. Serve with white rice or quinoa. See point 7 for sauce ideas – no need to cook the sauces, just pour on top of the portion before freezing. Microwave to reheat when ready to eat.
- Brush a wedge of Jap pumpkin (“Kabocha squash” for those in the US) with oil and roast without chopping the wedge (just eat the flesh not the skin); serve with roasted red-skin or white potatoes and other vegetables allowed on the diet
- Serve with FODMAPPED Pumpkin soup, sauteed red cabbage, and pumpkin seeds
- Serve with jasmine rice and sauteed red cabbage
- Shred the chicken and make it in to an Asian salad with a basic dressing of sesame oil, tamari and lime juice
Buy deli meats from the supermarket
These can also be frozen and defrosted (at room temp for a few hours for example) with no change to taste or texture. Serve with vegetables as above or salad greens along with jasmine rice or quinoa. The best deli meats are ham slices, roast beef, lived chicken, turkey slices, pastrami - caution there may be a bit of gluten on the pastrami. Choose ones without sugar, garlic and onion. Even though the Bi-Phasic diet recommends against deli meats,the ones I listed are tolerated well and are a good convenience option.
Takeaway fish shops
Will happily grill some plain salmon for you to freeze in portions. You can then create meals as in point #3 above with frozen veggies and a sauce if you like. Squeeze some lemon over, serve with the veggies as above or fresh salad leaves (in packets at supermarket), along with quinoa or jasmine rice.
- Salmon fillet with jasmine rice and frozen veggies (microwave is totally fine)
- Tray bake with chicken (lots of recipes online, just ensure the veggies used are SIBO-friendly according to the list)
- Steak is also pretty quick to cook on the stove
- Frittata with allowed veg and hot smoked salmon or ham
- Smoothie bowl made with NuZest or egg protein powder, collagen powder, ripe sugar banana, cashew butter, blueberries
- Tinned fish* with olives, salad leaves, ¼ avocado, microwave rice and a drizzle of lemon juice and olive oil.
*minimise tuna - Alaskan salmon and mackerel are good options
Spend time on the weekend or during the week making meals and then freezing leftovers in portioned amounts. Refer to the SIBO Diet cookbooks provided for recipes.
Another way to meal prep is to prepare various proteins and veggies rather than actual recipes as such. Eg. cook salmon fillet, steak, meat patties. Vegetable additions you can use to create easy meals alongside protein: frozen edamame, red cabbage, olives, red-skin potato, white potato, Jap pumpkin wedges (roast whole to save chopping), leafy greens sauteed, canned beetroot.
You can then make up meals on the fly choosing whatever you feel like at the time. Having some sauce recipes is also helpful - sauces can be frozen in portions in silicon ice cube trays.
FODMAPPed products from the health food aisle of the supermarket are a great option - note, some of their products do contain chickpeas and brown rice which many people with SIBO don’t digest too well). The below list is suitable for the SIBO diet.
- Roasted Pumpkin soup (serve with roast chicken from supermarket or fish)
- Green curry simmer sauce – you could actually just use this to pour over your shredded chicken or cooked salmon fillet from the suggestions above. No need to cook the sauce.
- Sweet chilli, basil and lemongrass stir fry sauce - as above
- Teriyaki sir fry sauce – as above
- Slow roasted vegetables tomato sauce – as above
Eating out is definitely a challenge for many people but it can be done.
Good general advice: https://alittlebityummy.com/blog/how-to-eat-out-on-the-low-fodmap-diet/
The Monash Low FODMAP website also has articles covering various cuisines:
General eating out advice: https://www.monashfodmap.com/blog/eating-out-on-low-fodmap-diet/
Italian, Indian, Chinese and French: https://www.monashfodmap.com/blog/eating-out-on-low-fodmap-diet-italian/
- Look for low carb/keto meals that include protein plus allowed vegetables and you can add potatoes or rice if tolerated - pay attention to avoiding garlic and onion if necessary. Some examples include steak with salad, pan fried fish with potato or rice, roast chicken with potatoes.
- Sushi and sashimi are another option - sushi does have a small amount of sugar in the rice but it’s pretty minimal - just be aware the soy sauce is not gluten-free*.
- If eating at Thai restaurants, choose dishes served with jasmine rice (see the note at the end of the document about noodles). Note that soy sauce and oyster sauce-based recipes usually contain gluten.
*If sushi is a good option for you, you can carry some gluten-free tamari in a clean dropper bottle to use instead of soy sauce which contains gluten - if you don't need to avoid gluten, then a small amount of soy sauce might be fine.
- Fruit (these are fructose-friendly): green kiwi fruit, pineapple, oranges, papaya, imperial mandarin, ripe sugar banana
- Olives (can often be purchased in single serve packs)
- Nuts/seeds: macadamia, roasted chestnut, pecans, walnuts, pumpkin seed
- 1-2 squares of dark chocolate
- Plain sushi nori sheets - can be lightly toasted in a pan, sprayed with oil and sprinkled with sea salt and sesame seeds
- Seeded crackers with avocado (eg. Snackers brand)
- Carrots or celery with almond or other nut butter (not peanut)
- Hard-boiled eggs with plain or seaweed flavour rice crackers or seed crackers
- Unsweetened beef jerky (check ingredients - you may need to order online)
- Make your own trail-mix from oil-free nuts, seeds and shredded coconut
- Warm cup of bone broth
- Plain plantain crisps
- Tuna or salmon salad (made with sugar-free mayonnaise) served on nori
- Kale crisps
- Smoothie as per recipe book
- Carrot chips
- Homemade coconut yoghurt
- Steamed edamame with salt
STRUGGLING WITH THE DIET?
If you’re still struggling, a non-diet approach is the Nerva hypnotherapy app from Monash which has been shown to be just as effective as the low FODMAP diet. It is a 6 week program for less than the cost of one in-person hypnotherapy session. For people who want to go down this route, I do suggest still avoiding your big dietary triggers - for many, it’s onion and garlic - but avoiding a strict diet if you can, since this is the whole point of the hypnotherapy approach. I have started recommending this more and more for people who find the diet side of things challenging, if there has been a history of disordered eating or if someone has a very short list of foods they can tolerate.
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