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Looking for milk alternatives suitable for your child following the low FODMAP diet?
In this article, we’ll cover whether oat milk is low fodmap and explore a breakdown of the various low FODMAP milk alternatives.
We’ll also cover other kid-friendly low FODMAP milk alternatives so that you always have a few easy to digest options up your sleeve.
What milk is low FODMAP?
If you are wondering what is the best milk for IBS sufferers, keep reading to find out.
Toddlers, school-aged children and teenagers are more likely to drink a cup of milk in one sitting than adults.
So if your child has been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), then it’s important to choose a low FODMAP milk.
The FODMAP milk alternative should ideally be fortified with calcium, iodine and vitamin B12.
These nutrients are particularly important for children following a plant-based diet with irritable bowel syndrome.
What is low FODMAP food?
When a food is described as being low FODMAP, this refers to the level of fermentable carbohydrates present in the food.
Reducing intake of high FODMAP foods for a short time can help alleviate symptoms of bloating, tummy pain, loose stools or constipation.
This strategy can particularly be helpful during irritable bowel syndrome flares, but it’s important to know what are your child’s specific food triggers.
A low FODMAP diet isn’t recommended as a diet for life.
Instead, it’s a short term therapeutic diet to manage gut-related digestive symptoms when your child experiences acute episodes of IBS flares.
Is oat milk low FODMAP?
When referenced against the Monash University low FODMAP recommendations, a low FODMAP serving size for oat milk is approximately ½ cup.
So if your school-aged child or adolescent child uses roughly ½ cup of oat milk in their breakfast cereal, this serving size is a low FODMAP portion.
Note that Oatly are in the process of analysing the FODMAP levels of their oat drinks. Until we have the full analysis, stick to the recommended portion sizes of oat milk.
Outside of the United Kingdom, recommendations can vary.
It’s therefore a good idea to consult with your paediatric dietitian about recommended portion sizes of oat milk if your child is following the low FODMAP diet.
Are oats low FODMAP?
Oats are indeed a low FODMAP food.
It doesn’t contain any of the six carbohydrates that can trigger symptoms of constipation or loose stools in children.
Do check ready-made oats to make sure that other high FODMAP foods have not been added to the oat recipe.
How to choose your child’s low FODMAP oat milk
When it comes to selecting low FODMAP oat milk, pick a brand of oat milk that ticks the boxes for important nutrients that will support their normal growth and development.
Key nutrients that you should look out for are protein, vitamin D, iodine and calcium to list a few.
Learn more in Best Plant-Based Milk Alternatives For Toddlers.
Other low FODMAP milk alternatives
- Lactose-free milk
- Is Soy milk low FODMAP?
- Is Alpro soya low FODMAP?
- Coconut milk – is coconut FODMAP friendly?
- Rice milk
- Oat milk
- Is almond milk low FODMAP?
If your child experiences loose stools or diarrhoea after drinking cow’s milk, they most likely have trouble digesting lactose.
Lactose is the carbohydrate in dairy that’s commonly referred to as milk sugar.
An easy hack is to switch to lactose-free milk.
Lactose-free milk is one of the low FODMAP milk alternatives that I suggest you try first.
Note that it won’t be suitable for children diagnosed with a cow’s milk protein allergy.
If your child is a baby or toddler under 2 years of age, rule out an underlying cow’s milk protein allergy first before seeking a diagnosis of IBS.
See my Nail Milk Allergy Programme for more details.
For school-aged children and adolescents, lactose free milk is a fantastic low FODMAP milk alternative.
It naturally contains protein, calcium, iodine and other fat-soluble vitamins.
As it’s virtually like for like (without the lactose), you won’t need to consider a separate vitamin and mineral supplement.
Is soy milk low FODMAP?
Soy milk is a little more complicated for children starting the restriction phase of my IBS Kids Mastery Method.
Let’s have a look at the various soy milk and whether soy milk is low FODMAP.
Soy milk (soy protein based)
Soy milk made from soy protein powder is a low FODMAP drink for children (but I warn you, it’s hard to find).
Soy milk is also a nutritious choice for children following plant-based diets as it is a complete protein source with all of the essential amino acids.
Remember to read the ingredients list to verify that the soy milk has been made from soy protein versus hulled soy beans.
The good news is that it is comparable to lactose free milk in terms of protein and calcium.
The bad news is that it can be short on other important nutrients like iodine.
Only a few brands are fortified with iodine.
Soy milk (soybeans)
Soy milk produced by soaking soybeans in water and then grinding and boiling is a high FODMAP food.
As most children (both toddlers, school-aged children and toddlers) need at least 100ml or more of soy milk to cover breakfast cereals or as a drink, it’s best to avoid soy milk from soybeans.
This is correct for both unsweetened and sweetened varieties of soy milk.
Is Alpro Soy low FODMAP?
Alpro has a wide range of soy drinks so it’s important to check the source of the proteins.
For example, Alpro Soy chilled is made from hulled soy proteins.
This particular type of soy milk is a high FODMAP milk and will not be suitable in phase one for some children following the IBS Kids Mastery Method.
This is the same for Alpro Soy Growing Up Drink.
Although it’s one of the best plant-based milk alternatives for children, it’s not suitable for a low FODMAP diet.
It’s therefore important to be clear about your child’s true food triggers so you only need to limit high FODMAP foods that can trigger constipation or diarrhoea for your child.
Is coconut milk FODMAP friendly?
There is a variety of coconut-based plant drink alternatives that are suitable for children with both milk and soy allergies.
Coconut milk is also suitable for children living with coeliac disease who need a gluten free low FODMAP milk alternative.
A word of caution. The serving size is important.
Coconut milk is a high FODMAP food when the serving size is more than ½ cup or 125ml of milk.
As long as your child is willing and happy to drink no more than ½ cup at a time, at this volume, coconut milk is an appropriate low FODMAP alternative.
Remember to pick a brand fortified with important nutrients to replace what’s provided in cow’s milk.
Is rice milk low FODMAP?
Yes, rice milk is a low FODMAP milk alternative.
Unfortunately, despite its low FODMAP status, it is not suitable for babies and children under the age of 5 years.
This is due to the levels of organic arsenic that are naturally present in rice.
The Food Standards Authority recommend choosing another suitable drink for children unable to drink cow’s milk based drinks like lactose free milk.
For older children and adolescents, rice milk can be a low FODMAP milk alternative.
Always make sure that the rice milk of choice has been fortified with at least calcium.
Rice milk is also often low in protein and other nutrients so it may not be the best choice for some children.
Is almond milk low FODMAP?
The good news is almond milk is low in fermentable carbohydrates making this a low FODMAP milk.
It’s an easy swap to cook porridge with or to use as low FODMAP milk over breakfast cereals.
The downside is that it’s low in protein (despite nuts being rich in protein)!
Many brands of almond milk are also rarely fortified with nutrients like calcium, iodine and vitamin B12.
As already mentioned earlier, the nutrients above are crucial for normal growth and development.
You may want to spend some time choosing the best low FODMAP milk alternatives for your child.
Is hemp milk low FODMAP?
Hemp milk is a low FODMAP serving at 125ml.
Most varieties of hemp milk are unfortified with important nutrients like calcium and iodine.
This makes it an unattractive option for meeting the requirements of growing children.
You can use hemp milk to prepare white sauces or to prepare desserts.
But pick a fortified low FODMAP milk if you are looking for a dairy alternative for children following a low FODMAP diet trial.
Is goat milk low FODMAP?
Like cow’s milk, goat milk is a source of lactose and will not be suitable for children following a low lactose diet.
As it contains lactose it is also not recommended for children following phase one of the IBS Kids Mastery Method.
What is a FODMAP serving size for low FODMAP milk alternatives?
- coconut milk: ½ cup or 125ml
- Soy milk (soy protein): 1 cup
- Soy milk (hulled beans): 40ml
- Coconut milk: ½ cup or 125ml
- Rice milk: ¾ cup or 200ml
- Hemp milk: ½ cup or 125ml
What is the best milk for ibs suffers that’s also kid-friendly?
The best option not surprisingly is lactose free milk!
This may come as a surprise if you’ve been mis-led into believing that your child needs to follow a dairy free diet to manage diarrhoea or constipation.
If your child has been diagnosed with cow’s milk protein allergy then you are right to exclude all dairy and dairy products from their diet
But if your child has been diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome or is recommended to try the low FODMAP diet, then the best milk for the low FODMAP diet is lactose-free milk and any of the other milk alternatives listed above in its correct low FODMAP serving size.
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