June 12, 2012

Low Residue Diet Food List

low residue diet food list
Do you need to reduce the amount and the frequency of your bowel movements? Then a low residue diet is exactly what you need. Low residue is just what the name suggests, the amount of waste left after the food you eat is absorbed by the small intestine. While this special diet is quite similar to a low fiber diet there are some key differences specifically as it relates to foods such as milk and milk products which would increase bowel activity rather than slow it down. Until you are suffering with some very specific ailments such as diverticulitis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), Crohn's disease or a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy this diet is not for you.

If you have been advised to go on a low residue diet your first question would be, what foods can I eat or not eat? The low residue diet food list (divided into categories) below would be a handy list to refer to when planning your meals.

Meat, Fish, Poultry and Cheese

At the first mention of any diet meat lovers freeze at the thought of having meat removed from the diet. They would be happy to know that meat is included in this low residue diet food list as long as the meats are broiled, roasted or steamed. In other words no fried or grilled meats! Meats (tender), seafood and cheeses allowed in this category include:

Swiss Cheese
American Cheese
Cheddar Cheese
Cottage Cheese

Dairy, Eggs, Fats and Oils

While milk and milk products are not usually advised for low residue diets they can be taken as long as the quantities are limited. Only 2 cups a day are allowed for milk and milk products.

Dairy milk
Almond milk
Lactose free milk
Rice milk
Soy milk
Ice cream
Vegetables oils

Breads and Cereals

Most diets restrict the use of refined cereals and breads but with the low residue diet lots of bread and cereal are allowed as long as they do not contain whole grains like bran, oats, dried fruits and nuts and granola.

Refined white bread
Light wheat bread
Rye bread
Soda crackers
Refined pasta
White rice
Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables are allowed to some extent. Vegetables that do not have skin or seeds can be eaten if they are cooked or canned. You can also consume cooked or canned fruits if they have the skin (all except for pineapples).

Cooked or canned vegetables without skin or seeds
Ripe bananas
Vegetable juice with no pulp or seeds
Fruit juices with no pulp
Desserts and Other Sweets

Low residue dieters can eat deserts and sweets if they pay attention to the content. The dishes should not contain fruits and nuts not allowed in the diet.

Plain puddings
Others Foods

This low residue diet list is a guide but is not all inclusive. Dieters should let common sense prevail if there are observed foods that are leading to increased bowel movement then stay away from them and record it on your personal list. Some other foods not listed above that are allowed include jellies, honey, syrups, gravies (as long as they are plain) and strained soups. Tea and coffee are also allowed although there has been some controversies about whether these are low residue foods.

Low Residue Diet Foods

low residue diet foods
The pain, cramps and diarrhea often associated with inflammatory diseases such as Crohns disease and diverticulitis is not something that patients want to endure. Doctors usually recommend a low residue diet which involves the consumption of foods which are more digestible that will reduce the frequency of bowel movements. In this type of diet the use of fiber is restricted so foods with whole grains, nuts, seeds and raw or dried fruits are automatically excluded from the diet.

The term residue refers to the food that are not digested and thus passed out into the stools. When intestinal walls are damaged it becomes harder to digest foods and absorb nutrients but a low residue diet makes this a lot easier to do. When intestinal walls are narrowed as is the case with Crohn’s disease the reduced volume of the bowel movement as allowed with a low residue diet will help to reduce the cramps, diarrhea and gas experienced by patients. Although the pain and symptoms is reduced the inflammation will not go away so the diet will not cure the disease itself.

Since low residue diet foods is completely the opposite of what nutritionists believe to be a healthy diet, the diet itself is recommended only short term when there is a flare up or to help with recovery after surgery has taken place. It should also be noted that you should not automatically switch to a low residue diet just because you have been diagnosed with some sort of irritable bowel disease. Always consult with a physician before starting a diet like this.

Low Residue Diet Foods

A low residue diet is similar to a low fiber diet and should not be followed for long periods since it will limit much needed fiber and nutrients from the diet. Some low residue diet foods are:


Only refined or enriched breads and crackers.
Cream of wheat, grits and other coked cereals.
Puffed rice, corn flakes and similar cold cereals.
Refined pasta and white rice.
Fruits and Vegetables

Skin and seeds should be removed from any fruit consumed due to the high fiber contained in these parts of the fruit.

Well cooked or well cooked fresh vegetables.
Potatoes without the skin.
Tomato sauce is fine as long as the seeds are removed.
Ripe bananas
Fruits which are canned or cooked without the seeds or skin.

Other low residue diet foods include meats such as tender cuts of pork, beef, poultry, fish, oysters, sweetbreads and more. Foods such as butter, margarine, vegetable oils, mayonnaise, honey, American cheese, Swiss cheese, creams, cottage cheese are also allowed. Milk can be consumed up to a maximum serving of 2 cups a day. Desserts are good on this diet as long as they are made from refined flour and do not contain fruits and nuts.

Low Residue Diet Recipes

low residue diet recipes
Low residue diets can be somewhat restrictive however patients who understand the basic principle behind the diet have less of a hard time preparing meals while on the diet. The purpose of a diet like this is to restrict the volume and frequency of stools passed. Some onlookers might ask but why would anyone want to do that? Well its simple, people suffering from some conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and even those suffering from specific cancers need to reduce their elimination of waste to limit discomfort, prepare for surgery and for other valid reasons. Since doing this is not recommended for long periods low residue diets are usually short term.

The fact that the diet itself may be just for a few weeks or months does not take away the frustration of what to eat and how to prepare meals. There are today an abundance of low residue diet recipes available on the internet, in magazines and even in published cookbooks. Truth be told a number of the foods that the average person consumes may already be low residue since the greater majority of the population limit fiber in the diet as it stands.

To make it simple you can start by putting together simple things for your meals as long as the foods are low in insoluble fiber. Refer to the low reside diet food list for a listing of foods that are allowed and not allowed. You can also use your normal recipes for breads, cakes, soups, entrees and others and replace any ingredients that are not allowed on the diet. Steer clear of meats that are fried and grilled and instead steam, broil or roast any meats that you consume. When making deserts and sweets such as baked pies you can use the same recipes but make sure to peel the skin off your vegetables and remember to remove the seeds! You can also replace any dairy ingredients with non dairy ingredients.

The great part of low residue diet recipes is that with the amount of flexibility allowed it is easy and convenient to prepare meals that are good and tasty, in fact so good that even people who are not on the diet would enjoy them.

Most patients suffering with abdominal ailments, who are on this diet, usually do not want to eat large meals due to the pain sometimes involved. For this reason they tend to snack on smaller meals all throughout the day. In this case breads and cakes can be eaten as long as they are made from white flour and do not contain fruits and nuts. Soup recipes that call for the use of pumpkin, squash and carrots are all good options but make sure to remove any skin or seeds beforehand.

It is not specifically a requirement to purchase a cookbook if you want to get some low residue diet recipes but if you are having a hard time replacing ingredients in normal recipes to follow your diet then you should consider getting one.

An Example of a Low Residue Diet Menu

low residue diet menu
Meal planning of itself can be very difficult for the average person but when you enter a low residue diet it becomes a huge source of frustration. With some planning and a low residue diet menu it will be easy to stay on top of your diet. The following is just an example of what your breakfast, lunch and dinner will look like for your typical day on the diet. If you want to try something new and break from the monotony you can also purchase a few cookbooks to get a few low residue diet recipes.


Start the day with your favorite cup of decaf coffee and include your sugar and cream if that takes your fancy. Follow that with a cup of apple, cranberry or orange juice (no pulp), a bowl of cream of wheat and scrambled eggs on toast, pancakes or waffles (no whole grain). This is as simple as it gets for breakfast. This important thing is to leave out whole grain foods like whole wheat breads, brands and fruits with skin and seeds.


An appetizing lunch of white rice prepared anyway you want, baked chicken and a side of green beans can be prepared. Other lunch options include a tossed salad made from baked chicken, lettuce, cheese (American or Swiss) and a rich salad dressing without seeds or perhaps a hamburger made from a plain white bun, roast beef and dressed with mayonnaise, ketchup and tomatoes without the seeds.


How does pork tenderloin over white rice with sides of baked potatoes (sans skin), cooked carrots and a hot roll dripping with butter sound? It sure does not sound like a diet but you can certainly enjoy this meal guilt free while on your low residue diet. If you’re in the mood for seafood you can opt for broiled fish with white rice and spinach, yummy!

Making Your Low Residue Diet Menu Personal

There are many foods that are on the “foods to avoid” list that may not be particularly irritating to you. Try using a little at a time and see if there are any adverse reactions. If not you can continue using those foods in small amounts. What may affect one person may not affect another and it is up to you to discover what your triggers are in order to make your diet and menu personal for you. This will help you to keep track to have a better idea of what works so you are using a personalized list rather than the one size fit all solution.

Since the majority of people do not normally eat high fiber foods a low residue diet can be quite simple to adopt. In contract it can be quite difficult for someone who naturally gravitates to high fiber foods. All in all you should try to restrict the amount of time you spend on this diet so that you can return to giving your body the nutrients and fiber that it needs.

June 11, 2012

Low Residue Diet - How Important to Your Health?

low residue diet
Whether you are suffering from a bowel inflammation, preparing for a colonoscopy or somewhere in between your doctor may have brought up the idea of a low residue diet to you. In a nutshell, these low fiber diets are designed so that the frequency of your visits to the bathroom are reduced and the transit time in your intestinal passages is increased.

Whilst you can lose weight with the low residue diet it is actually designed to help people with stomach conditions. Essentially the low residue diet removes a lot of indigestible foods from your diet so your body doesn’t have to work as hard to process it.

Because of this diet design there is some pretty strict guidelines of what you can and can’t eat. It is always best to consult with your doctor first but in general here are the foods that are ok to consume.

Foods you can eat on a Low residue diet

  • Clear juices (make sure they are pulp free and strained)
  • Fresh fruits (in moderation) that contain no seeds or peels.
  • Well ground up meets, eggs, chicken or fish
  • Mayonnaise, vegetable oils, butter and margarine as well as some dressings and (plain) gravies
  • White rice and pasta, some cereals and white bread.
  • Strained soups and broth from the above foods.

More important than the foods you can eat is the…

Foods to avoid during a Low Residue Diet

  • Yogurts that contain the skin or seeds of fruit, most cheeses
  • Popcorn
  • Peanut Butter
  • Raw veggies (except for lettuce)
  • Any tough meat
  • Oatmeal, millet, flax and buckwheat
  • Peas, dried beans and other legumes.
  • Whole grain pasta and bread or any products containing whole grains
  • Corn bread and muffins
  • Coco Powder (this includes chocolate)
  • Seeds and Nuts
  • Spicy food

As mentioned, your doctor may have his or her own personal plan for you so be sure to double check before you reach for the pantry.

So who is this diet for?

The low residue diet is aimed at a lot of different people such as

Bowel inflammation sufferers - If you have been recently ill or gone through surgery you may have been experiencing inflammation and pains in your stomach. A low fiber diet helps the body rest by not working as hard and giving it time to reduce the inflammation.

Pregnant women – Women in late stages of pregnancy are sometimes recommended to try this diet because it can reduce some of the stomach pain associated with pregnancy.

Radiotherapy patients – Some patients who have radiation treatment in their pelvis and stomach area can develop diarrhea. If the diarrhea continues it can be a serious medical issue! The low residue diet addresses these concerns by re-hydrating the person whilst stopping the diarrhea and preventing malnutrition.

Many other people also use the low residue diet to help them such as Crohn’s disease sufferers, patients after abdominal surgery, those inflicted with ulcerative colitis and even astronauts in space!