Part 2: Navigating gut-friendly food during the festive season – Rebecca Ponsford

How to Successfully Manage Christmas with IBS and FODMAP Sensitivities (Part 2)​

Chew your food

While it might seem like the most obvious thing to do when we eat, when you’re in a rush or not paying attention, it’s all too easy to scoff down food without chewing properly. Chewing food is an important part of the digestive process as it breaks down food particles and makes it easier for the rest of our digestive system to do the work.

Replicate ‘usual’ meals where you can

During the Christmas period, there’s often a lot more snacking, grazing and eating, in general, going on. It’s part of the enjoyment of the festive time of the year! The gut loves routine and the proper digestive process needs time between meals to allow food particles to move through the digestive tract. The name for this movement is called the migrating motor complex, which is sometimes referred to as a “housekeeping wave” which sweeps and clears food from the small intestine to the large intestine and only occurs between meals. A general aim is to allow 3-4 hours between meals for this process to occur naturally.

When eating at gatherings and parties, an idea is to fill up a plate with the appetizers, and later the main meal, that you intend to eat. This can help to be conscious of what you are eating and how much in total. For those with FODMAP sensitivities, it’s a good way to note if you are choosing a range of food from different food groups, which can help to prevent FODMAP levels accumulating in a meal (FODMAP stacking). Try to eat what is on your plate similar to how you would a usual meal, rather than continuously grazing for multiple hours, to prevent FODMAP stacking and support your digestion.

Bring a plate

If you are heading to a Christmas lunch, dinner or gathering and you’re not sure what food will be served, it’s a good idea to bring a plate of food you tolerate well. In the worst-case scenario and everything else is loading with onion and garlic, you’ll know there’s an option for you to enjoy.

Rebecca Ponsford

Rebecca Ponsford

Rebecca is an Accredited Practising Dietitian, graduated from Monash University in 2018. She works predominately in the space of gut health and digestive disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome. She has expertise in the practical implementation of the Low FODMAP Diet and also has a strong interest in the link between mental health and gastrointestinal health. Rebecca is passionate about supporting people to achieve their health goals and develop healthy relationships with food where they can eat with ease.

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