From The Nutritionist

Lindsay Watts, RDN
Author:
Lindsay Watts, RDN

Going Low FODMAP: A Dietitian’s Marketing Research Experience





Every year, professional organizations release their annual predictions on food and nutrition trends. Gut health and digestive wellness rose in popularity over the last couple of years and will likely show up again this year. More than ever, people want to promote a healthy gut and manage food sensitivities with foods that fit their lifestyle.1 Along with general gut health, awareness of specialty diets, like the low FODMAP diet for people struggling with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), are also gaining more attention. According to the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders, IBS is one of the most common digestive issues, affecting 25-45 million Americans.2 The low FODMAP diet is one possible option for many people suffering with IBS.3 So, what is a low FODMAP diet and how can food and nutrition professionals learn more?


Low FODMAP Diet Basics
Under the guidance of a health professional, the low FODMAP diet can help people manage symptoms of IBS and has three phases. The first phase is a short-term Elimination diet, about 6 weeks, that removes sources of fermentable carbohydrates (FODMAPs) to relieve symptoms associated with IBS, like bloating, gas, and pain. In the Challenge phase, the IBS patient slowly adds foods back, one at a time, by FODMAP subgroup, to help identify what triggers symptoms for them. The third phase is a maintenance phase or Modified Low FODMAP diet where each person follows an eating pattern that only excludes the foods that cause symptoms for them.3


Going Low FODMAP-

When I learned about the growth of low FODMAP diet and that Prego® would be launching Prego® Sensitive Recipe, a FODMAP-Friendly Italian sauce, I knew I needed to learn more. I no longer counsel patients, so I took direction from our marketing and consumer insights department to do a consumer immersion experience. As part of this experience, I created a mock order from a restaurant menu that would be compliant with the diet, prepared low FODMAP recipes, and ate a low FODMAP diet for three days. I found the consumer immersion experience to be more effective than dietary assessment methods at building empathy for people struggling with IBS. Throughout my experience, I went through three distinct stages of emotion:

  1. Overwhelmed: I have a pretty good understanding of food and even I found this diet confusing. I understand the basics of FODMAPs, but the foods that contain them felt mostly unpredictable and random. If it weren’t for resources like Kate Scarlata RDN’s grocery list and high/low FODMAP diet checklist, or FODMAPs Friendly certified products, this diet would have been even more overwhelming. This experience helped me learn what types of resources are most helpful when first starting a diet and better relate to the initial shock of following a restrictive diet.
  2. Annoyed: I love cooking, but sometimes my Monday through Friday gets a little hectic and I need more convenient meals. I felt irritated by the amount of time I had to prep food, especially on weeknights. I craved the convenience of having meal solutions I could pull from my pantry in a pinch. At the time, there were some convenience products in the market, but they were not available at my regular grocery store and were expensive. These were minor inconveniences for a couple of days, but for someone following this diet longer, it would be very challenging.
  3. Non-Compliance: I would have been in trouble if I really needed to follow this diet. I caught myself mindlessly munching on foods that would not have been safe for the elimination phase of the FODMAP diet several times throughout the three days. I also couldn’t resist an impromptu date night out with my husband for Italian food. This was the most eye-opening part of my experience. Eating a restrictive diet can be isolating and requires people to think about every morsel they put in their mouth.


Consumer Immersion-A Teaching Tool for Health Professionals
Since this experience, Prego® released their new Sensitive Recipe Traditional Italian Sauce. It is FODMAP Friendly certified and made without garlic or onions which are common triggers for many people with digestive issues. Prego® Sensitive Recipe is also priced similarly to their other products, making it more affordable and accessible than many other options. I enjoyed combining my expertise as a dietitian and my consumer immersion experience to work with Prego® on developing new recipes and communications around the product.


This immersion experience taught me that health professionals need to understand consumer lifestyles, challenges, emotions, and motivations in order to truly understand their food choices. If you’ve never tried this approach or if you have not done it since your internship, I recommend you give it a try. Regardless of whether or not a diet is medically necessary or just a trend, it is helpful to understand how it could impact your patients’ lives. Remember to shop within your clients’ budgets, live within the constraints of their lifestyle, and try to eat the types of foods they like to eat. Immersion experiences like this can help us understand patients’ points of view, experiences, and challenges so that we can be better partners in health.



Live it to learn it,

Lindsay


Lindsay's Bio

Lindsay is a nutrition communications analyst at the Campbell Soup Company where she coordinates health professional and consumer communications. She also works with internal and external partners on retail health and wellness programs. Prior to her role at Campbell, Lindsay worked as an in-store retail dietitian. She received her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from West Chester University and completed her dietetic internship with Pennsylvania State University. Currently, Lindsay is studying for her Master of Science in Health Communications and Marketing with Boston University. 



References

  1. International Food Information Council. 2018 Food & Health Survey. Published May 2018. Available at: https://www.foodinsight.org/2018-food-and-health-survey Accessed December 2018 2018.
  2. International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders. Facts About IBS. Published November 2016. Available at: https://www.aboutibs.org/facts-about-ibs.html. Accessed December 2018.
  3. http://fodmapfriendly.com/what-are-fodmaps/



Upcoming Events

 

FODMAP Friendly Certification >

FODMAP Friendly’s globally registered certification trademark helps consumers who are following a Low FODMAP diet easily identify and select foods suitable for them to eat. Learn more about the organization here.

Prego® Sensitive Recipe Traditional Italian Sauce >

Savor the Italian flavors you love, even if you're avoiding onions or garlic with our new Prego® Sensitive Recipe. Enjoy the naturally sweet flavor of vine-ripened tomatoes balanced with classic seasonings.

Well Yes! Steps: Goal Setting Resources>

Use these resources to help your clients set positive health goals this year. These free education materials take a small steps approach to making lasting health changes.

 
CLOSE

Suggest A Topic

Enter a topic here

50 characters remaining

Star your favorite topics below:

  • Organic

  • Genetically Modified Products

  • New Dietary Guidelines

  • Protein

  • Diabetes

  • Pediatric Nutrition

  • Sports Nutrition

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup

CLOSE

Suggest A Topic

Enter a topic here

50 characters remaining

Star your favorite topics below:

  • Organic

  • Genetically Modified Products

  • New Dietary Guidelines

  • Protein

  • Diabetes

  • Pediatric Nutrition

  • Sports Nutrition

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup

CLOSE

Suggest A Topic

Enter a topic here

50 characters remaining

Star your favorite topics below:

  • Organic

  • Genetically Modified Products

  • New Dietary Guidelines

  • Protein

  • Diabetes

  • Pediatric Nutrition

  • Sports Nutrition

  • High Fructose Corn Syrup

CLOSE

En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

CLOSE

Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.