Various low residue foods depict a balanced diet

20 Low-Residue Food Ideas

Last updated: September 2022

A low-residue diet might be advised for a number of reasons. For example, it might benefit people with problematic diarrhoea, narrowing (strictures) in the intestine, or who those just underwent IBD surgery. A low-residue diet can be difficult to navigate and understand. But most annoyingly of all, it can be hard to make interesting!

Low-residue diet for IBD

Soup, noodles, crisps, biscuits, and sandwiches are common, easy snacks and meals. It’s important to remember that people's tolerances differ, so it’s about making it your own! Carefully using herbs and spices is usually fine, as long as you’re sensible and use them in moderation. Smoked paprika is one of my favourites for livening up roasted potatoes and squash.

All smooth condiments are allowed and can make a huge difference to a dish. I won’t have a ham sandwich without mustard or fries without mayonnaise!

I’m here to (hopefully) provide you with some ideas, if you’re trying to stick to a low-residue diet. It’s important to note that a low-residue diet can lead to some nutritional deficiencies. You should have your blood monitored regularly.

Low-residue foods list

Starches and carbs

Potatoes are fine (and so versatile), as long as they’re skin-free. Eat them boiled, mashed, roasted, as chips, waffles, or Hasselbacks. There’s no reason you can’t bake a potato and remove the skin, for a slightly different flavour and texture.

White bread, pitta, naan, cakes, scones, pasta, rice, noodles, etc. are all ok. And do not underestimate how much you can do with pasta! Avoid brown, wholemeal, granary options.

Cereals made from rice or corn are fine too, such as cornflakes, and puffed rice. Or, enjoy cooked rolled oats.

Fruit and vegetables

Root vegetables are often tolerated well when cooked until soft. I personally find squash and avocado easy to digest, too! It’s important that fruit and vegetables are soft when you eat them. Skins and seeds should always be removed. Well-cooked cauliflower and broccoli (florets only) are allowed, but I personally find these go straight through me.

Peeled and deseeded fruits such as melon, and some tinned fruits such as peaches and pears, are generally well-tolerated too. Ripe bananas are one of my personal favourites! If you have fruit juices, just makes sure there’s no pulp.

Blended soups and smoothies can be pushed through a fine sieve to remove the insoluble fibre.

Dairy and eggs

Cheese is my ultimate low res food! I will put it on everything! Mild, soft cheese, cottage cheese, and cream cheese might be easier to digest than some hard cheeses. Milk (including soy) is fine. A smooth yoghurt with some fruit can make a nice refreshing snack or breakfast. Butter, cream, and vegetable substitutes are all OK, but try to have fat in moderation.

Avoid frying eggs, but enjoy them in any other form!

Meat and fish

Tender,lean, well-cooked meats and fish are all allowed. Enjoy beef, lamb, pork, and poultry! Sausages (be mindful of tough casings), bacon, ham, and meat pies are all good, too! You can also eat fish in many forms: fresh, tinned, smoked, breaded, and battered. Also allowed are meat substitutes, such as soya, Quorn, and tofu.

Sugar

Enjoy ice-cream, custard, jelly, and seedless jams. Lemon curd and peel-free marmalade (which can make a fabulous tart)! Chocolate (but no nuts, raisins, etc.) and sweets are able to satisfy that sweet tooth. Don’t forget the biscuits – plain of course!

20 low-residue recipe ideas!

  1. Baked potato, or sweet potato (skin removed) with tuna and cheese
  2. Chips, sausage, and egg (preferably not fried)
  3. Toad in the hole with root vegetable mash
  4. Creamy pasta with easily digestible meats such as chicken and ham
  5. Pasta with smooth tomato sauces – add meatballs or lean meat if you're feeling fancy!
  6. Macaroni cheese – you could also add well-cooked broccoli florets
  7. Salmon, avocado and boiled potatoes. Fancy a poached egg? Throw one on!
  8. Pancakes or waffles with bacon or chicken
  9. Juicy roast pork, cauliflower mash, carrots, and broccoli
  10. Ham and cheese toasted sandwich
  11. Chicken, well-cooked cauliflower florets, and roasted squash with smoked paprika
  12. Gnocchi and avocado bake
  13. Herb-marinated tuna steak and spaghetti
  14. Lemon rice salad
  15. Turmeric fish with baked sweet potato and avocado
  16. Plain scones, with jam (seedless, of course) and cream are a favourite of mine!
  17. Pancakes with banana and maple syrup
  18. Waffles loaded with chocolate spread/sauce and cream, or syrup
  19. Lemon tart and cream
  20. Yoghurt with soft or stewed seed and skin-free fruits, such as peaches, pears, apples, apricots

Hopefully, that’s given you a little inspiration to work with and build on when following a low-residue diet!

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