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Whether you’re getting ready for a run, sports practice, or fitness class, having a pre-workout snack is a great way to top off your energy stores and provide fuel for your soon-to-be working muscles. Our clients with IBS, however, are often unsure what to eat before workouts without triggering their GI symptoms. If this sounds like you, it’s possible that you’ll tolerate low FODMAP pre-workout snacks, such as low FODMAP bars or energy bites, better than other common pre-workout snack options.
FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols) are a class of carbohydrates that are poorly absorbed and can contribute to GI symptoms such as bloating, gas, and altered bowel habits in some individuals. A low FODMAP diet consists of a phase that eliminates high FODMAP foods, followed by targeted reintroductions to help determine which foods you tolerate best. It has been shown to improve symptoms in 50-80% of individuals with IBS! Given the complexity of the low FODMAP diet, it’s highly recommended that you work 1-1 with a Registered Dietitian to navigate the diet and personalize it to your tolerances, preferences, and needs for performance.
For those needing low FODMAP pre-workout options either during the low FODMAP elimination phase or based on your personal FODMAP tolerance, we’ve compiled a list of our favorite low FODMAP pre-workout snacks including low FODMAP bars, crackers, energy bites, and more!
10 Low FODMAP Pre-Workout Snack Ideas
1. Low FODMAP Bars
Low FODMAP bars are an easy shelf-stable option to fuel your workouts when you’re on the go. While many bars contain high FODMAP ingredients such as inulin, honey, and cashews, there are plenty of delicious low FODMAP bars to choose from, including:
- Fody Foods Snack Bars – all flavors
- Belliwelli – all flavors
- Happy Bars – all flavors
- 88 Acres – double dark chocolate sea salt seed + oat, dark chocolate seed + oat bar, cinnamon maple seed + oat bars
- Bobo’s Oat Bars – all flavors likely low FODMAP at a ½ bar or “bite” serving
- Annie’s – chewy chocolate chip & peanut butter chocolate chip granola bars
- Kashi – dark mocha almond, chocolate almond sea salt, and chocolate peanut butter granola bars
- Nature Valley – crunchy peanut butter, crunchy pecan, crunchy cinnamon, and crunchy maple brown sugar
- GoMacro – all flavors listed here are low FODMAP
- Aloha Bars – peanut butter cup flavor
If you’re only 30-60 minutes from the start of your workout, choose one of the higher carbohydrate bars from this list such as 88 Acres, Belliwelli, Bobo’s, Annie’s, Kashi, or Nature Valley. If you have 1-2 hours, try GoMacro Bars, Aloha Bars, or FODY bars which offer a bit more protein and/or fat. When you’re in a pinch and in need of recovery nutrients post-workout, some GoMacro bars have 12 grams of protein per serving while Aloha offers 14 grams.
2. Low FODMAP Crackers + Peanut Butter
Crackers with peanut butter provide easy to digest carbs plus a bit of protein and fat. This is a great low FODMAP pre-workout snack for 1-2 hours before exercise. Low FODMAP cracker options include:
3. Low FODMAP Fruit + Handful of Peanuts
Pairing peanuts with a low FODMAP fruit from the list below is another low FODMAP pre-workout option for 1-2 hours before exercise. If you only have 30-45 minutes, grab some fruit on its own.
- Firm banana
4. Low FODMAP Bread + Peanut Butter + Strawberry Jam
PB&J is a classic and satisfying snack that can easily be made low FODMAP. Choose from the low FODMAP bread and jams below along with any variety of peanut butter and enjoy 1-2 hours before a workout.
Low FODMAP bread
- Slow-fermented sourdough bread, such as San Louis brand
- Canyon Bakehouse Gluten Free White Bread
- Schar Gluten Free Deli Style Bread
- Trader Joe’s Gluten Free White Sandwich Bread
Low FODMAP jam – look for brands sweetened with sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup, such as:
- Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves
- Smucker’s Natural Strawberry Jam
- Crofter’s Strawberry Jam
- Trader Joe’s Strawberry preserves
5. Low FODMAP Cereal + Lactose Free Milk
Cereal with milk is an easy low FODMAP pre-workout option for 1-2 hours before exercise. Keep it low FODMAP by choosing a lactose free milk or a low FODMAP milk alternative and a cereal made with low FODMAP ingredients (see examples below).
Low FODMAP cereals
- Corn flakes
- Rice chex
- Rice Krispies
- Peanut Butter Puffins
Lactose free milk brands
- Horizon lactose free
- Organic valley lactose free
Other low FODMAP milks
- Ripple pea protein milk
- Almond milk (choose a pea protein fortified option such as Orgain for more protein)
6. Firm Banana + Peanut Butter
Bananas are low FODMAP as long as they’re firm and not fully ripened. Have one on its own if you’ve only got 30-45 minutes, or pair with peanut butter 1+ hours before a workout for increased satisfaction.
7. Oatmeal + Walnuts + Drizzle of Maple Syrup
Walnuts, oatmeal, and maple syrup are a delicious low FODMAP pre-workout pairing for 1-2 hours before exercise.
8. Low FODMAP Energy Bites
If you’re tired of low FODMAP bars, low FODMAP energy bites are another fantastic option. Try making our Banana Peanut Butter Snack Bites with maple syrup instead of honey for a homemade low FODMAP energy bite, or try Enjoy Life’s premade protein bites which are low FODMAP and allergen friendly.
9. Low FODMAP Yogurt + Handful of Blueberries or Raspberries + Pepitas
Choose from the low FODMAP yogurts below and pair with blueberries, raspberries, and pepitas for an energizing low FODMAP pre-workout snack 1-2 hours before exercise.
- Green Valley Organic Lactose Free Yogurt
- Yoplait Lactose Free Yogurt
- Siggi’s Plant-based Yogurt
- Silk Greek-Style Coconut Yogurt
- Kitehill Almond Milk Yogurt
- Silk Almond Milk Yogurt
10. Low FODMAP Muffins
A low FODMAP muffin recipe such as these Blender Oat + Pumpkin Muffins from Kate Scarlata is a great source of quick energy to fuel your workout. Make a couple of batches to freeze and you’ll have low FODMAP pre-workout snacks for the weeks to come!
Additional Support for Athletes with IBS
If you’re an athlete struggling with IBS, check out our Guide to Exercising with IBS for more strategies to keep symptoms at bay during workouts. If you’re looking for individualized support with GI symptoms and sports nutrition, consider applying to our 1-1 Nutrition Coaching Program here!