Snacks and SIBO are a tricky combination. So I thought it might be helpful to share this post with my ideas for 5 SIBO-friendly snacks to provide some inspiration.
While not all of these snacks will necessarily work for everyone with SIBO, I hope this list provides a good starting place for those struggling to find things to eat that will not aggravate their symptoms.
Since I know I will inevitably get the question: “I thought we weren’t supposed to snack with SIBO?” I figured it might help to answer that question in advance. So here it goes…
It has been recommended by experts in the SIBO field that snacking between meals should be avoided to allow the migrating motor complex (MMC) of the small intestine to function most effectively.
The migrating motor complex (MMC) is responsible for sweeping bacteria from the small intestine to the large intestine, thus preventing bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine. It is able to function when the body is in a fasting state (such as while sleeping or during breaks between meals).
So several SIBO experts recommend spacing meals 3-4 hours apart to allow the MMC to function most optimally.
But this does not mean you won’t need any snacks. Let’s say you eat breakfast at 8 AM and lunch at noon. Waiting until 6 or 7 PM to eat dinner could be mighty challenging and probably pretty stressful on your adrenal glands and energy levels. You might be ale to do it every now and then without a problem, but I don’t know many people who would feel well doing so on a daily basis. An afternoon snack around 3 or 4 PM might be ideal.
Keep in mind that the recommendation to space meals is not appropriate for everyone. Conditions in which extended meal spacing may be inappropriate include:
- Those trying to gain weight (the fewer meals you eat, the harder it is to consume enough calories)
- Those with hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
- Those with adrenal fatigue (because starvation is stressful)
SIBO-Friendly Snack List
Are you ready to see the list?
Now, let me remind you that these ideas won’t necessarily work for everyone, but I hope many of them work for you!
They do not all fall under a specific diet, but most are low FODMAP and a few follow Dr. Siebecker’s SIBO Food Guide which is a combination of the low FODMAP diet, the specific carbohydrate diet (SCD), and her clinical expertise.
So here’s the list…
1) Sophia’s Survival Food Grass-Fed Jerky Chews (Original Flavor)
Ingredients: 100% grass-fed beef, Redmond unrefined sea salt, vinegar
My recommended serving size: a couple to a few slices (about 0.5 ounces)
Approximate cost per serving: $ 2.00
This grass-fed, hormone-free jerky is the simplest dried jerky I have ever encountered. It has no added sweeteners, but is still super satisfying and makes a great portable protein-rich snack.
When enjoying as a snack, I like to add some sort of carbohydrate for an energy boost. I’ll maybe have a couple slices of jerky with a small piece of fruit or a couple handfuls of homemade trail mix. Or if that sounds like too much effort, you could enjoy it along with snack suggestion #2!
Ingredients: pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut chips, dried cranberries, roasted pecans, hazelnuts, cane sugar, sunflower oil
My recommended serving size: 1 packet
Approximate cost per serving: $ 2.50 USD
These handy little trail mix packets have been certified low FODMAP by Monash University. They contain a variety of nuts & seeds to supply you with protein and healthy fats. This is important because these two nutrients can help you to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Some of you way be wondering why I am suggesting a food with added sugar. Aren’t we supposed to avoid sugar with SIBO?
Yes, in an ideal world, we wouldn’t eat much sugar. But the key word there is much.
By the way, I 100% support eating cake on your birthday…and I totally understand if you need to make it a gluten-free, dairy-free cake to avoid too much symptom exacerbation! I do too.
It isn’t realistic to 100% avoid sugar and it is not very enjoyable either. Life’s all about balance.
For those who like numbers, the American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar (that means it comes from sweeteners, not fruits or other carbohydrates) consumption to 24 grams per day for women and 36 grams per day for men. That’s 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
When choosing sweeteners that are low FODMAP (and therefore least likely to cause digestive upset), the idea is that those sweeteners that have a favorable ratio of glucose to fructose will be better absorbed. That’s because glucose is a handy little sugar that increases the amount of fructose transporters available in your intestines. The result- less sugar is malabsorbed which means there’s less fermentation by your bacteria.
Sugars that are low FODMAP (and therefore have a favorable glucose to fructose ratio) include cane sugar, brown sugar, palm sugar, maple syrup, and rice malt syrup.
3) Mediterranean Organic Pitted Snack Olives– Kalamata with Cumin
Ingredients: Organic pitted kalamata olives, salt, organic extra virgin olive oil, organic red wine vinegar, organic sunflower oil, organic herbs and organic spices (organic mild red pepper powder, organic oregano, organic thyme, organic cumin), lactic acid
My recommended serving size: 1 packet
Approximate cost per serving: $3.22
Olives are an important component of the Mediterranean diet. This dietary approach has been shown in research to help with a wide variety of health conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to autoimmune diseases.
These olives are available in another flavor as well, but I’m a big fan of kalamata olives so for simplicity sake, I just listed this flavor. But feel free to also check out the green olives with herbs.
4) COYO Coconut Yogurt– Natural
Ingredients: Coconut cream, tapioca, pectin, and probiotic cultures
My recommended serving size: 1/3 of a small (5.3 ounce) container
Approximate cost per serving: $ 1.66
To me, this product resembles whipping cream with a hint of coconut.
If you eat an entire carton of this yogurt as a serving, it will get pricey real fast. But I find it is so decadent that you really only need about 1/3 of a small container for a snack.
I do find that some individuals with SIBO have issues with coconut milk or related products, especially if consumed in large quantities. It is possible that the fat content is too high for some individuals.
Additionally, canned coconut milk was recently re-tested by Monash University and found to be low FODMAP at 1/3 cup serving sizes, but not 1/2 cup. How exactly that translates to coconut cream is a bit uncertain. But if you stick to 1/3 of a small carton, mix in some fresh berries, and perhaps a little bit of low FODMAP granola, you should have a delicious, symptom-free snack.
Ingredients: Organic seaweed, organic extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, organic ground chipotle
My recommended serving size: 1 packet
Approximate cost per serving: $ 1.50
The company’s slogan is “strangely addictive” and that is absolutely the case with this snack!
Plus, did you know that seaweed contains a variety of nutrients including iodine, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and iron? Several of these nutrients help support a healthy immune system.
It’s also super tasty! Especially this chipotle flavor. If you aren’t into spicy, there are a variety of other flavors available as well.
There are other seaweed snacks on the market too, but I like this one because it is made with olive oil rather than more processed oils like sunflower and safflower oil…or cringe…soybean oil.
Have you tried any of these snacks? How did they work for you? What else do you like to snack on? What questions do you have? I’d love to hear from you!