The warmth and comfort of warm beverages are especially welcome during these cold winter months in the Northern hemisphere. Would your day be the same without a pre-dawn cup of coffee or your bedtime cup of herbal tea? Do you fortify yourself for difficult tasks during the afternoon with a bracing cup of tea? Is your favorite way to connect with friends or colleagues meeting at the neighborhood coffee shop? Beverages can be minefields of potential FODMAPs, but here are some “hot tips” to keep them low-FODMAP. Try these suggestions.
- Herbal teas made from fresh or dried mint, ginger, lemon or rooibos. Teas are prepared by steeping the leaves, stems, flowers, or roots of plants in boiling water. If the tea leaves, herbs or other ingredients are low in FODMAPs, like peppermint, ginger, lemon or rooibos, then the tea water will be low-FODMAP. To keep it low-FODMAP, avoid chicory root fillers in herbal tea bags; chicory root is high in FODMAPs.
- Traditional teas made from Camellia sinensis, especially green tea, white tea, and lightly steeped black tea. FODMAPs are water soluble. In other words, they soak out into the tea water. The longer the tea infuses, the stronger it gets, up to the point where all the available FODMAPs have leached out, along with other tea components such as those that contribute color, flavor and caffeine. Keep tea low-FODMAP by not over-steeping it. Chai-flavored tea bags are low-FODMAP, but chai tea mixes with dry milk in them are not.
- Espresso or coffee. Espresso is apparently low in FODMAPs, but less is known about the FODMAP status of American style brewed, drip or pour-over coffee. I’ve seen data that suggest brewed coffee contains some fructans (a type of FODMAP), so err on the side of caution and don't overdo coffee. To keep espresso and coffee low-FODMAP, drink your coffee black. If that’s out of the question, choose low-FODMAP sweeteners and whiteners; a little regular sugar or 100% pure maple syrup and some lactose-free milk or ½ and ½ work well here. Though its a little off-topic, its wise to remember that coffee (and Camellia sinensis tea) contain caffeine, which can affect some people with IBS negatively, another reason not to overdo.
- Homemade hot chocolate. You can easily make low-FODMAP hot chocolate at home from a few simple ingredients. Take a pass on pre-made hot chocolate mixes or packets. Because they contain nonfat dry milk, they are a source of lactose, a FODMAP, even if you make them up with water or lactose-free milk. Try this recipe for Italian Hot Chocolate, from my Flavor without FODMAPs cookbook.
Italian Hot Chocolate
The secret ingredient for Italian-style hot chocolate is cornstarch, which makes it thicker and creamier than regular hot chocolate. It can be omitted if you prefer.
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
pinch of salt
1 ½ cups lactose-free milk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Combine the dry ingredients in a 2-cup microwave-safe container such as a glass measuring cup. Add milk up to the 1 ½-cup mark, then stir in the vanilla extract.
- Microwave on high in one minute intervals for three minutes, stirring after each interval. Stop just before it comes to a boil.
- Pour into two small teacups and serve warm. Top with whipped cream if desired.