Incorporating healthy snacks into their diet can help people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) manage their symptoms. Doctors may suggest a person with IBS follow a low FODMAP diet.

A low FODMAP diet can benefit people with IBS by reducing their symptoms and helping them identify which foods trigger their symptoms. A person can reintroduce foods gradually to understand which food is causing the symptoms. Portion size may affect the FODMAP of foods.

Learn more about the low FODMAP diet here.

There is no single known cause of IBS. However, doctors suspect that causes may include bacterial infections or even stressful life experiences. Certain diet choices can reduce symptoms so that people with IBS can keep living life to the fullest.

Read on to learn more about healthy snacks for IBS.

Males eating gluten-free bread, which is good for IBSShare on Pinterest
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According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a person with IBS may wish to avoid gluten in their diet. Gluten is in products that contain wheat, barley, and rye. People may wish to eliminate gluten from their diet to see if their symptoms improve.

Ideas for gluten-free toast include topping it with:

Another type of bread that may be easier for people with IBS to tolerate is cornbread.

According to the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), a person on a low FODMAP diet can consume the following fruits:

Some fruits may be high in polyols or fructose, and they recommend avoiding those. Such fruits include apples, cherries, and dates.

To make this snack more balanced, pair the fruit with 1–2 tablespoons of peanut butter or a small serving of brazil nuts, pecans, or walnuts.

Learn more about fructose here.

Lactose is a type of disaccharide, which the D in FODMAP stands for.

People with IBS should avoid products containing lactose, but can purchase a range of yogurts that do not contain it.

A person should choose plain, unsweetened yogurt. They could pair it with a low FODMAP fruit for a more balanced snack.

A person with IBS can enjoy a bowl of gluten-free cereal with lactose-free milk as a snack.

The ACG lists corn flakes as a suitable choice for people following the low FODMAP diet.

If a person wishes to have a cooling snack, they can try a bowl of fruit sorbet.

However, they should be aware of the fructose content in these products. Honeydew melon and mango are both examples of fruit with a high fructose content.

According to the ACG, aged, hard cheese may be easier for a person following a low FODMAP diet.

Cheeses suitable for a person with IBS to eat may include:

A person could enjoy the cheese with a honey substitute, such as a small amount of maple syrup.

Porridge made with dairy-free milk could be a simple and filling way for a person with IBS to enjoy a snack.

Porridge oats contain a high amount of soluble fiber, which could help relieve IBS symptoms, according to the NIDDK.

A person could add fiber to their diet gradually to avoid triggering gas.

A person should opt for baked potato chips over fried chips. Plain or salted popcorn is best for a regular snack.

A person with IBS should choose products with lower amounts of fat and salt.

Rice cakes can be a tasty and simple snack for a person with IBS.

The National Health Service (NHS) suggests topping rice cakes or crackers with cheese and tomato or peanut butter.

Every case of IBS is unique, so people will likely react differently to various foods. However, certain foods are known to cause particular symptoms in many people with IBS.

Some foods, for example, make the body produce excess gas. Eating these foods can cause unpleasant gaseousness and bloating for people with IBS. Examples of these foods include:

Other food types can lead to diarrhea and cramping, common complaints from people with IBS. Some of these foods include:

Caffeinated foods and beverages like coffee increase stomach acid. For many people, this can lead to pain and loose stools.

Fatty dishes, such as french fries or fried chicken slow down the transport of gas within the intestines. These foods can also reduce bowel function. For people with IBS, consuming fatty foods can lead to a flare-up that may include constipation.

No two people with IBS will have the same experience with trigger foods. People dealing with IBS flare-ups should consult with a doctor to figure out which foods are causing them the most discomfort.

Common FODMAP-containing foods that a person with IBS may wish to avoid include:

People with IBS may find relief from avoiding foods, candies, or beverages with low calorie sweeteners. Diet sodas, sugar-free chewing gum, and sugar-free ice cream are a few examples of this category.

Many foods contain high fructose corn syrup, particularly processed snacks like chips or cookies. But dried fruits and apples also contain high amounts of fructose. It is best for people with IBS to avoid them.

It takes time for people with IBS to figure out which snacks are safe and which they should avoid. Keeping a food diary can be a great way to track any symptoms that may come up after eating a particular snack.

Even with the most careful planning, IBS flare-ups do happen at times. Careful food choices during a flare-up can help minimize the worst of symptoms.

Whole food options

Certain whole foods can help reduce discomfort during a flare-up. To reduce gas and bloating, try eating oats on a regular basis. Focus on foods that are easy to digest, such as cucumbers and sweet potatoes.

Individuals experiencing diarrhea may find relief by following a low FODMAP diet.

Finally, people dealing with IBS-related constipation should work on getting plenty of fruits and vegetables during a flare-up. Root vegetables, oats, and quinoa can all help soften stools to relieve symptoms.

Focus on hydration

IBS-related diarrhea can lead to dehydration. Getting plenty of fluids can help keep this dehydration from becoming serious. Staying hydrated can also help soften stools and reduce constipation symptoms.

Many people with IBS also find relief from drinking herbal tea during a flare-up. This, along with regular exercise and consistent sleep, can reduce stress and speed recovery.

Every person with IBS has a different experience. Regular visits with a medical professional can help identify the best foods to eat during a flare-up.

Although there is no single IBS diet, researchers have found that certain diet plans can support people who have IBS. Three of the most common diet plans are detailed further below.


The FODMAP diet has been a leading IBS diet for over a decade. People following the FODMAP diet limit certain foods like cow’s milk, wheat, soy, and certain sweeteners.

The small intestine has a hard time absorbing FODMAP foods. Limiting intake of such foods has helped many people reduce their IBS symptoms.

Gluten-free diet

Many people with IBS have also found relief when following a gluten-free diet. In one study, patients with IBS saw significant improvement in their condition when eating gluten-free, and 72% of these people stayed on a long-term gluten-free diet plan.

Research has shown that gluten can change intestinal function, but more studies are needed to determine why this diet has been effective in IBS.

Exclusion diets

An exclusion diet involves eliminating or excluding certain foods or food groups at a time. Following this method, people with IBS can determine which foods trigger their symptoms through the process of elimination.

Through careful observation with a medical professional, an exclusion diet can help people determine which foods trigger their IBS symptoms.

Of course, no single diet works for everyone who has IBS. Finding the right diet is a process that requires the help of a medical professional.

People with IBS often find that certain foods can trigger their IBS symptoms. Incorporating healthy snacks into their daily meal plan can reduce symptoms and even prevent flare-ups.

Avoiding processed foods and emphasizing certain whole food options can also speed the process of recovery from an IBS flare-up. Focusing on hydration and exercise can help people navigate the IBS journey.

By working closely with their doctor, people with IBS can come up with the most effective diet plan to support their unique experience.