Foods to eat diverticulitis

If you develop diverticulitis you need to see a doctor to make sure you recover completely and to avoid possible life-threatening complications. Diverticulitis is treated using diet modifications, antibiotics, and possibly surgery.

Mild diverticulitis infection may be treated with bed rest, stool softeners, a liquid diet, antibiotics to fight the infection, and possibly antispasmodic drugs.

However, if you have had a perforation or develop a more severe infection, you will probably be hospitalized so you can receive intravenous (through a vein) antibiotics. You may also be fed intravenously to give the colon time to recuperate. In addition, your doctor may want to drain infected abscesses and give the intestinal tract a rest by performing a temporary colostomy. A colostomy creates an opening (called a stoma) so your intestine will empty into a bag that is attached to the front of the abdomen. Depending on the success of recovery, this procedure may be reversed during a second operation.

If you have several attacks of acute diverticulitis, your doctor may want to remove the affected section of the intestine when you are free of symptoms. You may also need surgery if intravenous therapy does not effectively treat an acute attack of diverticulitis. Whatever the treatment, the chances for a full recovery are very good if you receive prompt medical attention.

You should drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily to prevent constipation. If you do become constipated, prunes or prune juice may serve as natural laxatives. Follow a low-fat diet; fat slows down the passage of food through the intestine.

During acute attacks of diverticulitis, stick to clear liquids or broths while diverticula are inflamed and sensitive.

During periods of remission, it may help to make the following foods, which are high in fiber, part of your diet: cooked vegetables, cooked fruits, and apples. Probiotics, found in yogurt, may also be helpful.

Foods to Avoid If You Have Diverticulitis

Because the exact root cause of diverticulitis isn’t yet known, there’s no list of foods that are known to ease symptoms of this condition. Also, the National Institutes of Health states that you don’t need to avoid certain foods if you have diverticulitis.

However, you may want to consider keeping certain foods to a minimum. Talk to your doctor about whether you should avoid the following foods or reduce the amounts you consume.

High-FODMAP foods

Research has found that a diet that limits foods that are high in FODMAPs — fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols — can benefit people with irritable bowel syndrome. Researchers have suggested people with diverticulitis may also benefit from this diet.

Some examples of foods high in FODMAPs include:

  • certain fruits, such as apples, pears, and plums
  • dairy foods, such as milk, yogurt, and ice cream
  • fermented foods, such as sauerkraut or kimchi
  • beans
  • cabbage
  • Brussels sprouts
  • onions and garlic

High-fiber foods

Foods that are high in fiber may be helpful for people with diverticulosis who aren’t having an acute flare up and may even help prevent diverticulitis in the first place.

A 2017 systematic review of studies on diverticulosis and the occurrence of acute diverticulitis showed a “reduction of abdominal symptoms and the prevention of acute diverticulitis” with the intake of fiber.

However, every individual is different, and your specific fiber needs will vary based on your condition and symptoms. If you’re having pain or other symptoms, your doctor may suggest that you limit your intake of these foods for a while.

Fiber adds bulk to stool and may increase peristalsis or colon contractions. This may be painful and uncomfortable if you’re having a flare up.

Avoiding high-fiber foods, particularly if you’re inflamed, may ease symptoms and give your system a temporary rest. In addition, whether including higher or lower amounts of fiber, you should also drink plenty of water.

Fiber-rich foods you might want to limit or avoid, especially during a flare up, include:

  • beans and legumes such as navy beans, chickpeas, lentils, and kidney beans
  • whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, amaranth, spelt, and bulgur
  • vegetables
  • fruits

Foods high in sugar and fat

A standard diet high in fat and sugar and low in fiber may be linked with an increased incidence of diverticulitis. Research suggests that avoiding the following foods may help prevent diverticulitis or reduce its symptoms:

  • red meat
  • refined grains
  • full-fat dairy
  • fried foods

Other foods to avoid

In the past, doctors recommended that people with diverticulitis avoid eating nuts, popcorn, and most seeds. It was thought that the tiny particles from these foods might get lodged in the pouches and lead to an infection.

More recently, most doctors have moved away from this advice. Modern research has shown no evidence linking those foods with increased diverticular issues.

Some research has also suggested that people with diverticulitis avoid alcohol.

Ask the experts

I have diverticulosis. Is there anything that I should avoid eating?

Doctor’s response

Your diet does have an impact on your diverticulosis. Let me begin by briefly explaining what diverticulosis is and what the difference is between this and diverticulitis. Your colon is the final part of your digestive tract where your stool forms for elimination. As a person ages, pressure within the colon causes bulging pockets of tissue (sacs) that push out from the colon walls. A small bulging sac pushing outward from the colon wall is called a diverticulum. More than one bulging sac is referred to as diverticula. Diverticula can occur throughout the colon but are most common near the end of the left colon, which is called the sigmoid colon. The condition of having these diverticula in the colon is called diverticulosis.

It is possible to have diverticulosis and not know. Many people only find out that they have it when one or more of the pouches becomes inflamed or infected, a condition called diverticulitis. Once the inflammation or infection has been treated, the condition is back to being diverticulosis. While the medical and dietary treatments are different for each of these conditions, you may be able to prevent the pouches from becoming inflamed or infected (diverticulitis).

You asked what foods you should avoid eating and the answer lies in what foods you should be eating. The dietary treatment for diverticulosis is also one of the primary ways to prevent it, a high fiber diet. A low-fiber diet is linked to causing diverticulosis and also linked to the onset of diverticulitis. Your goal will be to cut back on the low fiber foods and increase the high fiber ones. The first thing to do is find out how many grams of fiber per day you need to consume. The Dietary Reference Intake for fiber is:

  • Males: 9 to 13 years old = 31 grams/day
  • Males: 14 to 50 years old = 38 grams/day
  • Males: 50+ years old = 30 grams/day
  • Females: 9 to 18 years old = 26 grams/day
  • Females: 19 to 50 years old = 25 grams/day
  • Females: 50-plus years old = 21 grams/day

High fiber foods are the ones with whole wheat, oat, bran, whole grain cereal, vegetables, fruit, and legumes. Incorporate these into your diet by:

  • Replacing your white bread, rice and pasta with whole wheat ones;
  • Having at least two meals a week where you have legumes in place of meat. Legumes include beans, including soy beans, peas and lentils;
  • Consuming cereal with more than five grams of fiber per serving;
  • Eating fruit with the seeds and/or skin;
  • Having vegetables with your meals and snacks. You can add vegetables to the foods that you are eating or have soup, salad or cooked vegetables on the side;
  • Increasing your fiber intake slowly;
  • And taking in enough fluids along with the high fiber foods. Go for water, seltzer, club soda, and herbal teas.

It took time to develop preferences for the foods that you eat. If these foods are not ones that you are used to eating, give yourself time to get used to the taste. Your health is worth the effort.

Eating, Diet, & Nutrition for Diverticular Disease

What should I eat if I have diverticulosis or diverticulitis?

If you have diverticulosis or if you have had diverticulitis in the past, your doctor may recommend eating more foods that are high in fiber.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015–2020, recommends a dietary fiber intake of 14 grams per 1,000 calories consumed. For example, for a 2,000-calorie diet, the fiber recommendation is 28 grams per day.

The amount of fiber in a food is listed on the food’s nutrition facts label. Some fiber-rich foods are listed in the table below.

Fiber-Rich Foods

Grains
Food and Portion Size Amount of Fiber
1⁄3-3⁄4 cup high-fiber bran ready-to-eat cereal 9.1–14.3 grams
1-11⁄4 cup of shredded wheat ready-to-eat cereal 5.0–9.0 grams
11⁄2 cup whole wheat spaghetti, cooked 3.2 grams
1 small oat bran muffin 3.0 grams
Fruits
Food and Portion Size Amount of Fiber
1 medium pear, with skin 5.5 grams
1 medium apple, with skin 4.4 grams
1⁄2 cup of raspberries 4.0 grams
1⁄2 cup of stewed prunes 3.8 grams
Vegetables
Food and Portion Size Amount of Fiber
1⁄2 cup of green peas, cooked 3.5–4.4 grams
1⁄2 cup of mixed vegetables, cooked from frozen 4.0 grams
1⁄2 cup of collards, cooked 3.8 grams
1 medium sweet potato, baked in skin 3.8 grams
1 medium potato, baked, with skin 3.6 grams
1⁄2 cup of winter squash, cooked 2.9 grams
Beans
Food and Portion Size Amount of Fiber
1⁄2 cup navy beans, cooked 9.6 grams
1⁄2 cup pinto beans, cooked 7.7 grams
1⁄2 kidney beans, cooked 5.7 grams

A doctor or dietitian can help you learn how to add more high-fiber foods to your diet.

If you have diverticulosis or if you have had diverticulitis in the past, your doctor may recommend eating more foods that are high in fiber.

Should I avoid certain foods if I have diverticulosis or diverticulitis?

Experts now believe you do not need to avoid certain foods if you have diverticulosis or diverticulitis.

In the past, doctors might have asked you to avoid nuts; popcorn; and seeds such as sunflower, pumpkin, caraway, and sesame. Recent research suggests that these foods are not harmful to people with diverticulosis or diverticulitis. The seeds in tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, strawberries, and raspberries, as well as poppy seeds, are also fine to eat.

Even so, each person is different. You may find that certain types or amounts of foods worsen your symptoms.

Diverticulitis is an extremely unpleasant digestive disease.

Those diagnosed know it’s worth taking measures to avoid future episodes. Unfortunately, 1 in 5 will have another flare-up within 5 years (1).

This is a research-driven look at what diet changes may help treat diverticulitis, as well as some common myths about what foods to avoid with diverticulitis.

Note that each section in this article has a ‘summary’ box (like this one) to save time. Below this box is a contents menu to help you navigate directly to a particular section.

What is Diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis occurs when small pockets in the wall of the large intestine (colon) become inflamed or infected.

These small pockets or sacs – called diverticula – are formed when the muscles of the colon become too weak in certain areas. This causes them to push outward and form a “pocket,” which is common in the lower part of the colon.

Diverticulitis becomes extremely painful during a flare-up. Even immediate surgery can be required to treat a severe case.

Diverticulitis vs Diverticulosis

Diverticulosis refers to having diverticula that have not yet become infected and painful.

This means diverticulosis always occurs before diverticulitis.

‘Osis’ refers to a medical condition, while ‘itis’ typically refers to inflammation or infection.

The risk of diverticulosis increases as we grow older, to about 70% of people aged 80 and above. Fortunately, it only progresses to diverticulitis about 4% of the time (2, 3).

What is Diverticular Disease?

Together, diverticulitis and diverticulosis are often referred to as diverticular disease.

The cause of this disease is complex and still poorly understood. Researchers suspect it to be a combination of numerous dietary habits, aging and genetic predisposition (4).

Summary: Diverticulitis occurs when small pockets in the lining of the colon become irritated and inflamed. Diverticulosis is simply the presence of these small pockets. Diverticular disease refers to either condition.

Diverticulitis Symptoms

Most are unaware they have diverticulosis until it becomes infected and painful (diverticulitis).

Symptoms can vary between individuals, but the most common are:

  • Ongoing constipation
  • Ongoing diarrhea
  • Tender abdomen
  • Cramping or bloating
  • Fever
  • Extremely painful bowel movements
  • Blood in stool
  • Nausea and vomiting.

Diagnosis is based on a history of symptoms in addition to some medical tests.

This can include blood tests, a colonoscopy or radiology as determined by your doctor.

Summary: Diverticulosis is usually symptom-free, however diverticulitis symptoms are typically severe and painful.

Treating Diverticulitis Flare-Ups and Using Antibiotics

Diverticulitis typically occurs as a painful “flare-up” with sharp pain and digestive symptoms.

It’s not uncommon for treatment to require a hospital admission, where the diet is heavily modified to allow the digestive tract some time to heal and inflammation to subside.

This includes a clear fluids diet for several days followed by a short-term “low-residue” or low-fiber diet and eventually progressing to normal foods.

In severe cases of diverticulitis, surgery and regular antibiotic use (typically rifaximin) are required to overcome the infection. However, recent research suggests that aggressive antibiotic treatment is overused, particularly in less severe cases (5, 6).

This is why diet and nutrition are incredibly important for managing this disease, not only during a flare-up but afterwards as well.

The remainder of this article focuses on long-term dietary management of diverticulitis.

Summary: Acute flare-ups of diverticulitis are treated with a clear fluid and low-residue diet for several days to allow the gut time to heal. Antibiotics are definitely warranted in severe cases, but less so otherwise.

Diverticulitis and Probiotics

Probiotics are bacteria we eat for health benefits.

Studies show that a variety of different probiotic strains are effective in reducing symptoms of diverticulitis. Particularly those of Lactobacillus casei and Lactobacillus paracasei (7, 8, 9).

In this chart, you can see that a high-fiber diet plus the probiotic Flortec appeared especially useful for short-term abdominal pain (8):

Probiotics have also been successfully combined with the anti-inflammatory drug Mesalamine to help reduce symptoms of diverticulitis. However, it’s uncertain if they reduce the risk of recurrence (10, 11).

Probiotic Sources

The best food sources of probiotics are fermented foods, such as yogurt, quark, Yakult, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, tempeh, and miso.

Probiotic supplements are also a great option, but recommended strains and dosage have yet to be determined. Always buy probiotic supplements (as with any supplement) from a reputable and trusted source.

Summary: Research suggests a variety of probiotic strains are effective in managing diverticulitis symptoms. Both fermented foods and supplements are useful sources.

Is It Better to Follow a Low-Fiber or High-Fiber Diverticulitis Diet?

Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate we get from plant foods.

It was always thought that diverticulosis was caused by inadequate fiber intake. However, newer studies suggest it probably doesn’t prevent the diverticula forming in the first place (12, 13).

That said, it most likely does help prevent diverticula becoming symptomatic (diverticulitis).

One observational study found that those who ate 25 grams or more of fiber per day had a 41% lower risk of being hospitalized for diverticulitis compared to those who ate less than 14 grams per day (14).

Another study that followed more than 690,000 women without diverticular disease found that each additional 5 grams of fiber per day was associated with a 15% reduction in risk of diverticulitis (15).

Considering that fiber intake has other known health benefits, such as promoting regularity of bowel movements and maintaining a healthy gut bacteria, it makes sense to recommend a high-fiber diverticulitis diet.

Additionally, today most people only consume half of the recommended amount. Women should aim to get at least 25 grams per day, while the average man should have at least 38 grams per day (16, 17).

However, with that said, there is no reliable evidence that a high-fiber diet improves symptoms or prevents complications in diagnosed cases of diverticulitis.

A recent review of 19 studies (9 looking at dietary fiber, 10 at fiber supplements) was unable to make any firm conclusions because each study varied so greatly in how they were conducted, the type and amount of fiber used, among other things (27).

The authors’ conclusions were:

“The presence of substantial methodological limitations, the heterogeneity of the therapeutic regimens employed, and the lack of ad hoc designed studies, did not permit a summary of the outcome measure. Thus, the benefit of dietary or supplemental fiber in SUDD (symptomatic uncomplicated diverticular disease) patients still needs to be established.”

So there is no definite answer, which helps explain why the Danish and Polish guidelines recommend fiber supplements, whereas the Italian guidelines argue somewhat the opposite (28).

Basically fiber supplements are an option, as is a high-fiber diet, but unfortunately a bit of trial and error is the only way to see what sits better with you. Many people report doing better on a low fiber diverticulitis diet, which overlaps heavily with a low FODMAP diet (more on that below).

And as mentioned above, a low-fiber diet is definitely recommended following a flare-up. After a few days on a clear fluids diet, you can progress to boiled and soft foods, including cooked fruits and vegetables (without skins), as you slowly increase your fiber intake.

Summary: A high fiber diverticulitis diet is strongly associated with a reduced risk of developing diverticulitis. However, for those who already have diverticulitis and need to manage symptoms, it’s unclear whether a high or low fiber intake (supplements or food) is more beneficial.

Diverticulitis and Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a critical nutrient for human health, best known as the “sunshine vitamin.”

There is increasing evidence that our vitamin D status may influence risk of gastrointestinal diseases such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease (including Crohn’s disease) and diverticulitis (18).

A recent study in those with diverticulosis found those with the lowest vitamin D levels were significantly more likely to experience a diverticulitis flare up (19).

So it’s important to have your vitamin D levels checked with your doctor, particularly if you don’t get much regular sunlight exposure.

Unfortunately, natural food sources of vitamin D are not very useful if you have a deficiency. This is one of the few instances where supplementation is far superior to food.

Summary: Low vitamin D levels are linked to increased risk of diverticulitis. Get screened for a deficiency with your doctor.

Are Nuts and Seeds Really Diverticulitis Foods to Avoid?

A simple search for “foods to avoid with diverticulitis” or “what not to eat for diverticulitis” will show you nuts and seeds, corn and popcorn.

You will also find recommendations to avoid seeds in fruits and vegetables like tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, strawberries and raspberries.

In fact, for years we’ve been taught these foods can literally get stuck in diverticula, causing irritation and eventually diverticulitis.

But this theory has never been proven, and research actually shows no link.

A large study in 47,228 men found no associations with nut, corn, or popcorn consumption and diverticulitis, after 18 years of follow-up (20, 21).

In saying that, anecdotal evidence (patient reports) consistently suggests that seeds are an issue, such as sesame seeds on a bread roll.

So evidence is really a mixed bag, it might be better to err on the side of caution and avoid seeds at least. I wish I could give a more concrete recommendation but there really is no consensus at this stage.

Summary: Nuts, seeds, corn, popcorn and fruits and vegetables with seeds may be safe to eat with diverticular disease, but the current scientific evidence clashes with patient reports. It might be a good idea to avoid seeds just in case.

What About Red Meat on a Diverticulitis Diet?

The idea that red meat intake increases diverticulitis risk is unproven.

It was formed on the back of observational studies that found vegetarians were much less likely to develop diverticular disease than the average person.

A recent study also found that a “Western” dietary pattern (including red meat, refined grains and high-fat dairy) was associated with an increased risk of diverticulitis versus a “prudent” diet high in fruits, vegetables and whole grains (22).

But the reason vegetarian and vegan diets are advantageous is because they’re almost always higher in fiber than the typical Western diet. Additionally, non-meat eaters tend to be more health-conscious than the average person (23, 24, 25).

So it’s considerably more likely the benefits lie in eating more fiber, rather than cutting meat or animal foods.

That means you should follow whatever eating pattern will help you eat more vegetables, nuts and other high-fiber foods. If going vegetarian will help you achieve this, and is something you can do long-term, then do that.

Summary: The idea that red meat increases risk is unproven. Vegetarian diets appear protective because they are typically higher in fiber.

Can a Low FODMAP Diet Help Prevent Diverticulitis?

Newer research is finding that a low FODMAP diet may help prevent recurrence of diverticulitis.

In fact, researchers believe that a high-fiber diet (basically high in FODMAPs) may be linked with IBS symptoms. Because of this, some recommend a low FODMAP diet for people with diverticulitis as well (26).

This makes sense given that the literature around benefits of a high fiber diet in diverticulitis is severely lacking (discussed in a section above).

Some high FODMAP foods to avoid include:

  • Wheat
  • Onions and garlic
  • Certain fruits, such as apples, peaches and pears
  • Certain vegetables, such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower
  • Dairy foods
  • Legumes

If you would like more information on which foods you can eat on a low FODMAP diet, click the button below to download a full list of low FODMAP foods. It’s free!

SEND ME THE LIST

See this Beginner’s Guide to the low FODMAP diet to learn more about this fascinating diet.

Summary: New research shows that following a low FODMAP diet may help prevent recurrence of diverticulitis.

Diet Plan (Menu) For Diverticulitis and Diverticulosis

This is a sample 4-day meal plan or menu for diverticulitis diet based on recommendations outlined in this article.

But it’s certainly also appropriate for the average person with diverticulosis who wants to minimize the risk of getting diverticulitis.

Note that I’ve modified this to be low FODMAP, as the new evidence strongly indicates minimizing problem FODMAPs is beneficial for diverticulitis patients. Check out the full list of FODMAP foods and drinks, plus their recommended portion sizes.

Portion sizes of low FODMAP foods is extremely important for a diverticulitis diet, so please make sure you are not exceeding the recommendations. You can also find additional low FODMAP recipe ideas here.

Diverticulitis Recipe Ideas

  • Breakfast: Quinoa Porridge with Berries and Cinnamon
  • Lunch: Tuna salad with baby spinach, rocket, tomato and cucumber dressed with olive oil and apple cider vinegar
  • Dinner: Tempeh stir fry with veggies (carrot/broccoli heads/Asian greens/veggies working well in stir fries)
  • Snacks: Carrot sticks with cottage cheese

Day 2

  • Breakfast: 2 eggs (made any way you prefer) on 2 x plain white gluten-free bread + 1 cup of spinach/aragula/rocket drizzled with olive oil and salt.
  • Lunch: Last night’s leftovers
  • Dinner: Baked or pan fried chicken with low FODMAP roasted veggies
  • Snacks: 10 almonds/pecans/walnuts or 20 macadamias

Day 3

  • Breakfast: Gluten-free bread topped with cottage cheese and smoked salmon
  • Lunch: Low-FODMAP Tomato and Leek Frittata
  • Dinner: Chicken/beef/fish (any quantity) +1 tbsp ketchup/BBQ sauce/mustard + 2 small boiled potatoes + ½ cup broccoli.
  • Snacks: 1 orange or 2 small kiwi fruit

Day 4

  • Breakfast: ½ cup of oats + 10 raspberries/strawberries/blueberries. Add water and microwave to make warm porridge, or just add lactose-free milk/almond milk for cereal
  • Lunch: Low FODMAP Minestrone
  • Dinner: Salmon baked in foil in the oven with sliced lime and chilli on top, served with 1/2 cup steamed zucchini and squash, and boiled basmati rice.
  • Snacks: 2 rice cakes topped with peanut butter and 1/2 banana

Remember that you may also want to consider vitamin D and/or probiotic supplementation alongside a health eating pattern.

Summary: Treating Diverticulitis with a Diverticulitis Diet and Food

There is no doubt that fiber is good for you, and that a high-fiber eating pattern may help prevent diverticulitis occurring in the first place

However, there is very little evidence it helps minimize symptoms in those who have already been diagnosed.

In fact, newer research suggests that following a low FODMAP diet may be the most beneficial in preventing diverticulitis from recurring.

There is also some evidence that probiotics (particularly some strains of lactobacilli) are useful for treating symptoms. However, researchers are unsure they help prevent recurrence.

Also consider vitamin D supplementation if you have low levels.

Lastly, there is little evidence that cutting meat or nuts and seeds from your diet is beneficial. If anything, nuts are more likely protective, while seeds are still a bit of a mystery.

Still, each person’s experience is different. You may find that certain foods worsen your symptoms and are best avoided.

Remember that diverticulitis is a disease influenced by many other factors too, including obesity, stress, physical activity levels and smoking status.

I hope this article cleared up some of the confusion for you. Let me know what helps or aggravates your symptoms in the comments.

Were you recommended a low FODMAP diet?

I’ve created a 14-day Digestive Health Reboot plan that includes:

  • 7-day low FODMAP meal plan
  • Shopping list
  • Snacks cheat-sheet
  • Facebook group for support
  • Tutorials videos and loads more.

To learn more about it

Gastrointestinal Soft Diet Overview

G.I. Soft Diet

What is a gastrointestinal (G.I.) soft diet?

A G.I. soft diet is soft in texture, low in fiber, and easy to digest.

Guidelines for a G.I. Soft Diet

Unless directed differently by your dietitian or physician, follow these guidelines for the next 2-3 weeks. If you continue to have difficulty eating once you are at home, contact your dietitian or physician.

Some people may continue to have food sensitivities and may need to continue to avoid certain foods. If you cannot tolerate a food, avoid that food for a few weeks before you try it again.

Food Group Foods Allowed Foods to Avoid
Meats and meat substitutes Chicken, turkey, fish, tender cuts of beef and pork, ground meats, eggs, creamy nut butters, tofu, skinless hot dogs, sausage patties without whole spices Tough fibrous meats with gristle, meat with casings (hot dogs, sausage, kielbasa), lunch meats with whole spices, shellfish, beans, chunky peanut butter, nuts
Fruits and juices Fruit juices without pulp, banana, avocado, applesauce, canned peaches and pears, cooked fruit without skin/seeds Juices with pulp, fresh fruit (except banana and avocado), dried fruits, canned fruit cocktail and pineapple, coconut, frozen/ thawed berries
Vegetables Well-cooked or canned vegetables, potatoes without skin, tomato sauces, vegetable juice Raw vegetables, all corn, all mushrooms, stewed tomatoes, potato skins, stir-fry vegetables, sauerkraut, pickles, olives, all dried beans, peas, and legumes
Cereals and grains Low-fiber dry or cooked cereals (less than 2 grams fiber per serving), white rice, pasta, macaroni, or noodles Cereals with nuts, berries, dried fruits, whole grain cereals, bran cereals, granola, brown or wild rice, whole grain pasta
Breads and crackers White/refined breads and rolls, plain bagel, toast, plain crackers, graham crackers Whole grain breads, bread/rolls with raisins, nuts or seeds, multigrain crackers
Dairy Milk, cheese, yogurt, milkshakes, pudding, ice cream, cottage cheese, sherbet Dairy product mixed with fresh fruit (except banana), berries, nuts, or seeds
Desserts Plain cake, pudding, custard, ice cream, sherbet, gelatin, fruit whips Any dessert that contains nuts, dried fruits, coconut, or fruits with seeds
Herbs and spices All ground spices or herbs, salt Whole spices like peppercorns, whole cloves, anise seeds, celery seeds, rosemary, caraway seeds, and fresh herbs
Snacks/other foods Sugar, honey, jelly, mayonnaise, mustard, soy sauce, oil, butter, margarine, marshmallows, cookies, without dried fruits or nuts, snack chips, and pretzels using refined flours Carbonated beverages, jams, or jellies with seeds, popcorn

Special instructions:

  1. Chew all foods slowly and thoroughly to a mashed potato consistency. The more you chew your food, the easier it will be for your body to digest the food.
  2. Try to eat meals at regular intervals, i.e., eat every 3-4 hours. You should eat at least 3 meals a day. After surgery, you may find it easier to eat 5-6 small meals daily.
  3. Drink at least 8 cups of fluid every day. Pudding, ice cream, sherbet, popsicles, soup, gelatin, and yogurt all should be counted as fluids.
  4. Some people may continue to experience food sensitivities and may need to continue to avoid certain foods. If you cannot tolerate a food, avoid that food for a few weeks before you try it again.
  5. Eating a variety of foods is important for good health. Listed below is a sample 1-day menu that should not cause you any distress and is suitable to enjoy during the first 2-3 weeks after surgery.
Breakfast

Option 1:

cheddar cheese omelet

1 croissant or English muffin 2 teaspoons grape jelly

8 ounces 2% milk

Option 2:

3/4 cup vanilla Greek yogurt 1 banana

1 slice white toast with butter or peanut butter 1 cup tea (hot or cold)

Lunch

Option 1:

4 ounces grilled chicken

1/2 cup mashed potatoes with brown gravy 1/2 cup cooked canned green beans

1/2 cup applesauce

1 chocolate chip cookie 1 cup lemonade

Option 2:

turkey and Swiss sandwich on 2 slices seedless rye bread with mayo and mustard as desired

1/2 cup applesauce

3/4-1 ounce bag baked potato chips 1 cup lemonade

Afternoon Snack

mozzarella string cheese

4-6 saltine crackers or 1 snack-size package of pretzels 1 cup water

Dinner

1 serving penne pasta with meat sauce Parmesan cheese, olive oil, or butter as desired 1 slice seedless Italian bread

1 cup well-cooked carrots 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream 1 cup iced tea

Evening Snack

1/2 cup cottage cheese, pudding, or jello 1/2 cup canned peaches

1 cup water

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