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How to give your gut happy holidays

For those living with IBS, preparing a holiday meal can be tricky. Will any of the food make my tummy hurt? What can I eat? What should I make?

The editors at IBS Life can understand these concerns. As such, we have looked for low-FODMAP holiday foods that can help the gut, and those that you may want to avoid. We have also included some recipes to try out.

What can I eat?

When people think of holiday dinners, they often think of rich, buttery foods. But as people with IBS can attest to, those may not be the best for our guts.

Here is a list of popular foods seen during the holidays that may not be the best for IBS, and some that may work:


Try Out

​Marbled beef (prime rib, ribeye, etc.)

Chicken or turkey dark meat

Fatty pork products (i.e. bacon or salami)

Most dairy (butter, milk, and cream)









Wheat breads (made with refined white flour)

Honey and artificial sweeteners

​Lean beef (sirloin, top round, etc.)

Chicken or turkey white meat

Lean cuts of pork

Seafood (especially salmon)

Olive oil

Certain cheeses (hard cheeses, brie, camembert, feta)

Green beans


Bell peppers


Orange and mandarins


Maple syrup

Dark chocolate

Table sugar

With this list of items in mind, here are a few recipes from registered dietician Klara Knezevic that could work for the IBS tummy – and impress everyone else!

Low-FODMAP Turkey Breast

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil

  • 2 tsp paprika

  • 2 tsp dried oregano

  • 2 tsp dried rosemary

  • 2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp dried thyme

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 3 lb turkey breast

  • 2 carrots chopped

  • 1 parsnip chopped

  • 1 leek green part only, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.

  2. In a small bowl, stir together olive oil, paprika, oregano, rosemary, salt, thyme, and black pepper to form a paste.

  3. Loosen the skin with your fingers and rub some of the spice mixture underneath the turkey skin. Rub the remaining spice mixture on all sides of the turkey breast.

  4. Place the turkey breast skin side up in a lightly greased pan and add carrots, parsnips and leeks around the turkey. Add some salt and pepper to the vegetables.

  5. Roast in a preheated oven for about an hour, until the turkey reaches an internal temperature of160°F (check the temperature in the center of the thickest part of the breast).

  6. Remove from the oven and cover loosely with aluminum foil. Let rest for 15 minutes, until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Then slice and serve.

Save the juices from the turkey breast! We can use those for an IBS-friendly gravy.

Low-FODMAP gravy

  • 2 cups liquid (turkey drippings, low FODMAP broth, or combo of both)

  • 3 Tbsp corn starch

  • 1/4 cup butter (unsalted)

  • Sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper to taste

  1. Place the ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk over medium heat.

  2. When your gravy starts to boil, whisk until all the ingredients are combined and your gravy is smooth. If the gravy gets too thick, add water until you get a better consistency.

  3. Remove from heat. Cool to desired temperature before serving.

Let’s make some mashed potatoes to serve with the gravy!

Low-FODMAP Mashed Potatoes

  • 3 pounds yellow potatoes

  • 24 oz low FODMAP chicken broth or Fody chicken soup base

  • 3 Tbsp butter

  • 1/4 cup milk (lactose-free)

  • 1/4 cup low FODMAP chicken broth or Fody chicken soup base (reserved)

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  1. Peel the potatoes and cut into large chunks.

  2. Place in a slow cooker and pour the broth over the potatoes.

  3. Cook on high for 3-4 hours, stirring occasionally.

  4. Drain the potatoes over a large bowl and save the broth.

  5. Put the potatoes back into the slow cooker and add the butter and the 1/4 cup reserved vegetable broth.

  6. Use a hand masher to mash the potatoes, add milk, salt, and pepper, then use a spatula to whip them to a desired consistency. If dry, add 1-2 Tbsp more milk or broth.

  7. When ready to serve, stir. If it seems to have thickened, add some more of the reserved broth and mix well.

Need to clean the palate after dinner? Peppermint bark is a holiday classic, and the dark chocolate variety is perfect for a low-FODMAP sweet. If it does not have artificial sweeteners or high-fructose corn syrup, it will be perfect. Ghirardelli, the famous chocolatier, offers a delectable bark in different sizes – perfect for sharing!

Looking for drink ideas? Check out these spirit-free cocktails that mixologist David Mor made exclusively for IBS Life last year.


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