What to Eat
Food is one of life’s simplest pleasures, but with a condition like Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, eating can become an uncomfortable and sometimes overwhelming chore. Our Registered Dietitians have created an easy-to-use guide to nourish your body, no matter if you’ve just been diagnosed, are experiencing a flare-up, or are in remission. Use this downloadable tool as a starting point, or a refresher, on how to better control your symptoms through food, and feel like you again.
Download our "Nutrition Tool Kit" which includes helpful shopping lists, delicious recipes, and tools to help you manage and live a healthy lifestyle:Nutrition Tool Kit
When it comes to grocery shopping, our Registered Dietitians recommend considering a few helpful shopping tips. Before heading to the store, try one of the following suggestions to create a smoother shopping experience.
- Use the flare-friendly foods shopping list to plan meals and snacks for the week and create a shopping game plan.
- Look for on-sale foods to keep more money in your wallet.
- Bring the label-reading handout to the store with you to make reading food labels easier.
- Carry reusable grocery totes for an eco-friendly shopping trip.
- Bring a cooler or cooler bag to keep frozen and refrigerated items cold on the drive home.
Download these helpful tips before heading to the grocery store!Flare-Friendly Shopping ListReading a Food Label: Flare
A healthy, balanced diet is important for everyone, but when you’re experiencing a symptom flare-up your food choices may need to be a little different than what you normally eat. There is no one diet that is best for those with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, but below you will find some ideas for managing your flare.
- Eat small, “fist-sized” meals or snacks every 3 to 4 hours
- Stay away from greasy or fried food
- Eat in a relaxed atmosphere
- Drink a lot of fluids – aim for at least eight cups of water per day
- Limit foods with insoluble fiber (nuts, seeds, beans, green leafy vegetables, fruit with skins, and wheat bran)
- When you don’t have symptoms, include more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains in your diet. Start new foods slowly and in small amounts.
Trigger foods are different from person to person, but common triggers include:
- Common food allergens (eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish)
- Insoluble fiber (nuts, seeds, beans, green leafy vegetables, fruit with skins, and wheat bran)
- Lactose (milk sugar)
- Fatty foods
- Gluten (primarily found in foods made with wheat, rye, and barley)
- Sugar alcohols (often found in products labeled as “sugar free”, “no sugar added”, or “diet”)
- FODMAPS (Naturally occurring sugars that are hard for your body to break down)
Another promising area of research related to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis is the use of probiotics. Probiotics are living microorganisms that are used or taken for potential health benefits. Even though bacteria and other microorganisms are usually thought of as harmful “germs,” our bodies need certain microorganisms to function properly. For example, there are large amounts of bacteria in our digestive system that help us break down food, destroy disease-causing microorganisms, and make important vitamins.
Probiotics can be found in certain fermented foods like yogurt, or drinks like kefir and kombucha. You can also take supplements that contain probiotics. For more specific information about which probiotic supplement to choose, check out the US Probiotics Guide.
For help with creating more balanced meals, download Build A Better Plate.Build a Better Plate