Crohns disease diet recipes

7 Breakfast Recipes for People With Crohn’s

Pancake recipes can be easily modified for people who have Crohn’s. Julie Rideout/Stocksy

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For many people with Crohn’s, eating can be tricky — especially when it comes to breakfast, where trigger foods, like dairy, gluten, fiber, and raw fruits, reign. Skipping breakfast entirely may seem like the easiest way to avoid an upset stomach. But then you’ll deprive yourself of the important nutrition your body needs to start the day off feeling your best, says Kelly Kennedy, RD, nutritionist for Everyday Health.

Kennedy’s advice is to find breakfast foods that limit symptoms and maximize nutritional content. “Sugared cereal may sit well, but it’s not the best nutritional choice,” she says. “You need to choose foods that have a lot of vitamins and minerals.” An ideal breakfast is one that is high in calories, is limited in size, and breaks down easily.

While it’s hard to suggest specific eating plans because food tolerance in Crohn’s varies from one person to the next, Kennedy says that it helps to follow a few general rules:

  • Eat more frequent, smaller meals, which may mean splitting breakfast up into two separate snacks.
  • Eat foods that are very high in calories and nutritional content.
  • Avoid foods that are spicy, and those that are high in fat or fiber.
  • Experiment with and record what foods work for you and what don’t.

From quick pancakes to overnight oats, here are seven Crohn’s friendly breakfast recipes to start your day right:

1. Jim’s Fluffy Pancakes

Pancakes are not only a great weekend treat but can be whipped up in a few minutes on rushed weekday mornings, too, with these simple recipes. Many recipes don’t require gluten or dairy products, and if they do, you can try substituting with gluten-free flour or almond or coconut milk.

Ingredients

  • 1 ¼ cups almond flour
  • 4 medium eggs
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp vanilla (containing vanilla and alcohol only)
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp butter

The full recipe details can be found at the No More Crohn’s For Me! website.

2. Banana and Apple Pancakes

For a gluten-free and dairy-free option, try these delicious pancakes:

Ingredients

  • 1 apple
  • 6 small or 4 medium-sized eggs
  • 3 bananas
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • honey (optional)

For the full recipe details, visit the IBD Relief website. Note that the recipe doesn’t call for peeling the apple, although that might be easier on your GI tract.

3. Banana, Mango, and Kale Smoothie

The key to making good smoothies is to have a blender that can process frozen fruit. Fruits like mango and banana contain lots of vitamins and minerals and are easy to digest. Ripe bananas that have been frozen (with skins off) make a smoothie rich and creamy, while kale, spinach, and other vegetables add important nutrients. Protein powders may be added, although some are dairy-based and should be avoided if lactose is a problem. Coconut oil (dissolved in hot water first) is a good addition, as is coconut cream or milk. You can also thicken a smoothie with yogurt, which contains probiotics and plenty of protein.

Ingredients

  • 1 banana
  • ½ mango
  • A handful of kale
  • 3 oz coconut milk
  • 3 oz water

For the full recipe, visit IBD Relief.

4. Yogurt Parfait With Mixed Berries

Yogurt is a source of probiotics, or good bacteria, which can be especially helpful for someone with Crohn’s, as probiotics aid digestion and help to heal the gut. The bacteria also “eat” some of the lactose, which makes this a naturally lower-lactose food that is easier to digest for those with lactose intolerance. Yogurt is also a great source of protein, and provides calcium and potassium. Look for plain, unflavored yogurt that contains live, active cultures and no added sugars.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups organic yogurt*
  • ¼ cup strawberry fruit spread*
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries, unthawed
  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, sliced
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds (substitute with a well-tolerated breakfast cereal if nuts irritate your GI tract)
  • ¼ tsp lemon juice

*Both the yogurt and the fruit spread in this recipe are homemade, according to specifications in the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD). If you use store-bought ingredients, try to select a fruit spread that has no added sugar and is additive-free, and plain yogurt with active, live cultures. Visit Elizabeth M Jacob’s blog for the full recipe and more information.

5. Overnight Oats

Kennedy says oatmeal is a great breakfast option because oats are high in soluble fiber, which absorbs water and moves slowly through the digestive tract — unlike insoluble fiber, which is difficult to digest and can irritate the bowel. Gluten-free oats can also be used (look for the gluten-free label). Here’s a recipe from her that requires no cooking:

Ingredients

  • ½ cup old-fashioned oats
  • ½ cup your favorite milk
  • ¼ cup yogurt (optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp honey or maple syrup

Combine all the ingredients in a covered mason jar, mix, and refrigerate overnight.

6. Eggs, Salmon, and Avocado

This quick and easy breakfast recipe from Kennedy is a great source of protein and healthy fats. Both eggs and salmon are high in protein, and the salmon and avocado are high in healthy fats.

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 scrambled eggs
  • 2 oz salmon, canned in water and drained
  • 1/3 of an avocado cubed, for topping

Scramble eggs then top with pieces of salmon and avocado cubes.

7. Baked Apple

Cooked fruit is easier to digest for people with Crohn’s than raw fruit. Here’s a baked apple recipe from Kennedy:

Ingredients

  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 2 tbsp old-fashioned oats
  • 1 tsp brown sugar (if it doesn’t irritate your GI tract)
  • 1 apple, cored

Mix together cinnamon, oil, oats, and sugar. Stuff into cored apple and bake in a preheated 350 degree F oven until cooked through, about 45 minutes. Eat everything except the skin.

Knowing what to eat when you have Crohn’s disease can be confusing. And what ingredients can you cook with? To answer that question, here are some recipes for foods that are gut-friendly, delicious, and easy to prepare.

But first, a little info about eating well with Crohn’s.

What you should eat

If you can, eat as many whole foods as possible. Premade and prepackaged foods are filled with preservatives, unhealthy fats and oils, and more salt in one serving than most of us will need in a day. So cooking and eating foods that you make yourself is a very healthy and meal-for-meal less expensive way to eat.

Second, buying locally grown foods is freshest (and often, cheapest). Or, if you can, grow your own. Or when foods are in season at your farmers market, freeze food to have on hand throughout the winter months.

Third, organic fruits and veggies and pastured and grass-fed animals are healthier and better for us to eat than those that are raised on antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides. All of these things affect the flora in your gut and can allow bad bacteria to overtake the good bacteria, which can lead to further inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) symptoms and problems.

I know that organic and pasture-raised food can be expensive, but you can do your research on which foods to buy organic (and which not) by checking out the “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen” at the Environmental Working Group’s website. Even if you can’t buy all organic groceries, decide how much you can afford to spend and start with just a few organic or grass-fed items. Every little bit helps.

To get you started, here’s a list of fruits and veggies and how to buy them:

Best bought organically grown: Can be bought conventionally grown (i.e., not certified organic):
Peaches Onions
Nectarines Avocados
Apples Sweet Corn
Strawberries Pineapple
Blueberries Mangos
Cherries Sweet Peas
Pears Asparagus
Grapes Kiwi
Celery Cabbage
Bell peppers Eggplant
Spinach Watermelon
Kale Honeydew melon
Lettuce Cantaloupe
Potatoes Grapefruit

Gut-friendly recipes

Below are four easy-to-make recipes that are also full of nutrients and should be easy on the gut. If you see an ingredient that you know you can’t or shouldn’t eat, then make a substitution with something you know you can eat safely. I like to look at most recipes as suggestions or a place for me to start making up my own recipe.

Squash Veggie Hash With Poached Egg

Note: This is a delicious breakfast that I make at least three times a week.

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 tablespoons tea seed oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 cups Swiss chard or spinach, cleaned and chopped
  • 2 cups previously roasted butternut squash chunks
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons chives, chopped finely

Directions:

  1. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add oil. When warm, add onions and sauté 3-5 minutes.
  2. Lower heat to medium and add bell pepper, garlic, and chard or spinach. Sauté until chard/spinach is wilted and bell pepper is slightly softened. Add roasted butternut squash and warm through.
  3. Poach eggs.
  4. Plate hash and top with one poached egg. Garnish with chopped chives.

Baked Salmon With Garlic Lemon Marinade

Note: This makes a yummy salmon recipe for dinner or Sunday lunch.

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 2 salmon fillets, 3 ounces each
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon Celtic sea salt, black pepper, to taste
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, combine minced garlic, thyme, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, pepper, and sea salt. Stir well.
  2. Place salmon fillets, skin-side down, into a glass dish with sides. Spoon marinade evenly over both fillets. Cover and refrigerate for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. After oven is preheated, heat an oven-proof stainless steel skillet and ½ teaspoon olive oil over medium heat on the stove top.
  5. When skillet is hot, place salmon fillets skin-side down in pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then transfer skillet to oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes until fish flakes easily with fork. Cooking time may vary depending on thickness of fish.
  6. Be sure that the handle of your skillet is oven-proof and not plastic or silicone.

Berry Smoothie With Nut Milk

Note: Here’s a basic smoothie recipe that you can vary depending on your available fruits and tastes. If you make your own nut milk, you can cut down on the added sugar and additives store-bought varieties often contain. But if you’re short on time, store-bought works just fine. Make sure to buy the “plain” variety with the least amount of added ingredients.

Makes: 2

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 medium banana, peeled
  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ cup fresh raspberries or strawberries
  • 1 cup nut milk (see recipe below)
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey

Directions

  1. Grind flax seeds. Put into blender container with 3 tablespoons of water and allow to sit 10 mins.
  2. Break banana into two or three pieces and add to blender with blueberries, raspberries, nut milk, and maple syrup.
  3. Blend all ingredients until smooth.
  4. If too thick, add a little more nut milk and blend to combine. Serve immediately.

Nut or Seed Milk

Note: This recipe works well with many different kinds of raw nuts and seeds including, but not limited to, almonds, walnuts, cashews, filberts, sesame seeds, or pumpkin seeds.

Makes: 2 cups

Ingredients

  • ½ cup raw nuts or seeds, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
  • 2 cups filtered water

Directions

  1. Put strained nuts or seeds into blender.
  2. Add ½ cup of water and begin blending on low speed. Then, add rest of water and blend 2-3 minutes until smooth.
  3. Strain milk through a nut bag or cheese cloth into a clean container.
  4. Store unused milk in refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Crohn’s Friendly Recipes

Not everyone with Crohn’s can eat the same foods symptom free, but good nutrition is important for everyone, especially Crohn’s patients.

The following recipes have been designed for Crohn’s patients who are looking for healthy, nutritious meals but don’t want monotony on their plate.

Crohn’s 7-Day Meal Plan

Day 1

Breakfast: Banana, Peanut Butter and Chocolate Shake

Lunch: Potato Soup with Bacon, Cheese and Scallions

Dinner: Crispy Catfish and Smokey Collard Greens with a Kick

Day 2

Breakfast: Greek-style Omelet

Lunch: Pink Salmon Salad with Carrots and Dill

Dinner: Lemony Mashed Potatoes

Day 3

Breakfast: PB&J French Toast

Lunch: Carrot and Sweet Potato Bisque with Maple Syrup

Dinner: Simple Herb Roasted Chicken

Day 4

Breakfast: Orange Muffins with Orange Butter

Lunch: Chipotle-Peanut Butter Hummus

Dinner: Coffee-kissed Steak

Day 5

Breakfast: Blueberry Muffins with Lemon Glaze

Lunch: Gnocchi with Spinach, Tomato, Basil and Romano

Dinner: Turkey and Sweet Pepper Patties with Creamy Curry Slaw

Day 6

Breakfast: Creamy Scrambled Eggs

Lunch: Cool and Creamy Veggie Soup

Dinner: Peach-Glazed Chicken Thighs

Day 7

Breakfast: Tropical Breakfast Smoothie

Lunch: Indian-Inspired Lentils

Dinner: Havarti and Caramelized Onion-stuffed Burgers with Molasses-Balsamic Ketchup

Happy eating!

Diet

Most people with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis tolerate all types of food and don’t require any dietary restrictions. In fact, avoiding certain foods or eliminating an entire food group can contribute to nutritional deficiencies.

During flare-ups of disease, some people find that a bland, low-fibre diet is easier to tolerate than one that contains high-fibre or spicy foods. Low fibre diets are those that restrict the harsh skins and seeds found in some fruits, vegetables and dried fruit, in addition to nuts, seeds and wholegrains.” These diets tend to stimulate less secretion of intestinal fluids and cause less contraction in the small and large intestines and may help to control symptoms such as abdominal cramps and diarrhoea.

Achieving and maintaining overall good nutrition far outweighs any sort of blanket recommendations about diet

In cases of Crohn’s disease when an area of the small intestines has become narrowed (i.e. a ‘stricture’ has developed), a very low-fibre or even a liquid diet may be necessary to minimise the discomfort of abdominal cramping.

For each and every person with IBD, individual experience is the most useful guide to selecting the types of food that can or cannot be tolerated. Foods that cause problems for one person with IBD may not affect you at all. If you follow the ‘foods to avoid’ advice of others with IBD or from internet sources, you may find yourself eating a highly-restricted diet unnecessarily and increasing your risk of malnutrition. Remember, too, that foods you have to avoid during flare-ups may not be a problem when you’re well.

In general, achieving and maintaining overall good nutrition far outweighs any sort of blanket recommendations about diet. If you have a particular liking for a specific type of food, you’re in the best position to decide whether the enjoyment of eating it from time-to-time is worth the possible symptoms such as pain, cramping and bloating.

For more information, see The Inside Story: A Toolkit for Living Well with IBD in the Member’s Only section of this website.

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