IBS Sufferers: How to Increase Nutrition and Flavor of Food

When you're experiencing an active flare-up of IBS, you should limit your food choices to those you deem safe. This often means a bland diet that's less nutritious than what you would like. Here are some ideas to zing up the taste and increase the nutrition of the foods you're eating. Please ignore any tips that might incorporate foods on your trigger list.

(c) Copyright Kathy Steinemann

How to Increase the Flavor in Your Diet

• When boiling potatoes, add some sliced onions or garlic cloves and IBS-friendly spices to the water. The potatoes will absorb the flavor. Discard the garlic and onions if you can't tolerate them, or blend well to use for soup stock.

• Try sprinkling a bit of low-fat Parmesan cheese on an occasional entree.

• A tiny bit of mustard added to some dishes will improve the flavor considerably.

• Employ the same technique as above with finely chopped onions, chives, or garlic.

• Marinate meat, poultry, or fish in a tasty marinade sauce. Place in the fridge for several hours or overnight before cooking.

• Add a little wine to foods that are simmered for a long time. Most of the alcohol disappears during cooking, leaving behind a distinctive flavor.

• Try bumping up the flavor of dishes like fish with a dash of lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, or your favorite balsamic vinegar.

• Add low-salt powdered chicken or beef stock to gravies, stews, and cooked spinach.

• Experiment with low-sodium soya sauce. It isn't just for Chinese food. Be aware, however, that some soya sauce is made with wheat.

• Try adding natural butter flavor to an occasional dish.

• Don't discount the flavor of pure vanilla extract. A little goes a long way, and it can turn a humdrum creation into something that delights the palate.

• Judicious use of maple syrup or molasses in very small quantities will improve the taste of many recipes.

How to Improve Your Diet's Nutritional Value

• Save cooking liquid from potatoes, vegetables, and poached meats to use in soups.

• Use waterless cookware, if you have it, with a minimal amount of water.

• Add pureed turnips, carrots, or parsnips to mashed potatoes.

• Substitute unsweetened applesauce for butter or oil in your favorite recipes.

• Steam or microwave vegetables when feasible.

• If a recipe requires white flour, try an unbleached, stone-ground variety.

• Use frozen or fresh ingredients rather than canned. You'll reduce sodium intake and exposure to bisphenol A. Some preserved products are available in glass containers, which are preferable to tin cans.

• When sauteing, use low-sodium broth instead of cooking oil.

• If you must use cooking oil in a recipe, stick with one that has a high smoke point, like grapeseed or almond oil. When cooking oil begins to turn color or smoke, it is already in the process of breaking down to form free radicals and other unhealthy compounds.

• To increase protein, add egg whites to suitable recipes.

• Switch to lean, tender cuts of meat.

For even more tips to increase nutrition and taste in your IBS diet, read Kathy's book, The IBS Compass. She also offers several more articles about irritable bowel syndrome on her website.

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