Low-Fiber Diet

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This information explains what a low-fiber diet is. It lists foods to include and avoid while you’re following a low-fiber diet. It also shares sample recipes.

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About Fiber

Fiber is the part of fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, nuts, and grains that your body does not digest (break down). There are 2 types of fiber:

  • Insoluble fiber is found mainly in whole-grain and bran products. Insoluble fiber does not break down in water and your body cannot break it down. It makes your stool (poop) bulkier (more formed).
  • Soluble fiber is found in foods such as oats, peas, beans, apples, citrus foods, and barley. Soluble fiber does break down in water to form a gel.

Talk with your healthcare provider or clinical dietitian nutritionist for more information about types of fiber.

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About the Low-Fiber Diet

A low-fiber diet is low in both insoluble and soluble fiber. You should have less than 2 grams (g) of fiber per serving of food or less than 3g of fiber per meal. You should have less than 10 total grams of fiber per day. Read the section “How to Find Fiber on a Nutrition Facts Label” to learn how to tell how much fiber is in a serving of food.

Following a low-fiber diet limits how much undigested food moves through your digestive tract (stomach and intestines). This means your body will make less stool. The stool that your body does make will move through your digestive tract more slowly.

There are many reasons your healthcare provider might recommend following a low-fiber diet. Some common reasons are:

  • If you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) flare-up. IBD includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Your bowel is also called your large intestine or colon.
  • If you’re getting radiation therapy to your pelvis and lower bowel.
  • If you’re having lots of diarrhea (loose, watery poop) or have diarrhea that is not getting better.
  • If you have a new colostomy or ileostomy.
  • If you’ve had recent gastrointestinal (GI) surgery.
  • If you have a bowel obstruction. A bowel obstruction is when something blocks food from moving through your bowels like it should. It can be caused by a tumor or scar tissue from a surgery.

For more information, read the section “Reasons You May Need to Follow a Low-Fiber Diet” at the end of this resource.

How long you follow a low-fiber diet depends on the reason you’re following it. Some people only follow it for a little while. Other people follow it for longer. Your healthcare provider will talk with you about what to expect.

Keep following a low-fiber diet until your healthcare provider or clinical dietitian nutritionist says it’s OK to stop.

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How to Find Fiber on a Nutrition Facts Label

All packaged foods and drinks have a Nutrition Facts label. The Nutrition Facts label has information about the amount of certain nutrients in the food or drink. The amount of fiber is listed in the “Dietary Fiber” row (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Where to find fiber on a Nutrition Facts label

Figure 1. Where to find fiber on a Nutrition Facts label

While you’re following a low-fiber diet, choose foods that have 2g of Dietary Fiber or less per serving. The label on the left is not a low-fiber food because it has 4g of fiber per serving. The label on the right is a low-fiber food because it has 2g of fiber per serving.

While you’re following a low-fiber diet, make sure to look at the serving size at the top of the Nutrition Facts label (see Figure 2). Only serve yourself that amount. Eating more or less than the recommended serving size will change the total fiber of your portion.

Figure 2. Where to find serving size and servings per container on a Nutrition Facts label

Figure 2. Where to find serving size and servings per container on a Nutrition Facts label

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Foods and Drinks to Include and Avoid While Following a Low-Fiber Diet

While you’re following a low-fiber diet:

  • Avoid raw fruits and vegetables. Choose cooked or canned fruits and vegetables instead.
  • Avoid whole wheat and whole grain products. Choose grains that are refined, a process that removes most of the fiber. Choose white bread products that do not have added whole grains, bran, or seeds.
    • Some foods and drinks have added fiber. This includes some highly refined foods (such as white bread) and non-plant foods, such as yogurt, ice cream, and energy bars. This is done to make the product seem healthier. But added fiber usually does not have the same health benefits as fiber found naturally in foods. It’s important to check the Nutrition Facts label on all the foods you eat. Added fiber is still a part of your daily total fiber intake.
  • Drink at least 8 to 10 (8-ounce) glasses of non-caffeinated liquids per day. This will help prevent constipation.

The following tables have more detailed guidelines about foods to include and avoid. You may have questions about foods not listed in these tables or want to schedule an appointment with a clinical dietitian nutritionist. If you do, call the outpatient clinical dietitian nutritionist office at 212-639-7312. You can reach a staff member Monday through Friday, from to

Grains

Grains to include Grains to avoid
  • Foods with less than 2g of fiber per serving
  • White flour
  • Bread, bagels, rolls, and crackers made from white or refined flour
  • Waffles, French toast, and pancakes made from white flour
  • White rice, noodles, and pasta
  • Cold or hot cereals made from white or refined flour, such as corn flakes, puffed rice, Cream of Wheat®, Cream of Rice®, and refined grits
  • Whole-wheat or whole-grain breads, rolls, crackers, and pasta
  • Brown and wild rice
  • Barley, oats, and other whole grains, such as quinoa
  • Cereals made from whole grain or bran, such as shredded wheat and bran flakes
  • Breads and cereals made with seeds, nuts, dried fruit, or coconut
  • Popcorn

Proteins

Proteins to include Proteins to avoid
  • Tender, well-cooked meats, such as beef, fish, lamb, pork, and skinless poultry
  • Lean deli meats, such as turkey or chicken breast
  • Well-cooked eggs
  • Tofu
  • Smooth nut butters, such as smooth almond, peanut, cashew, and sunflower butters
  • Fried meat, poultry, and fish
  • Deli meats, such as bologna or salami
  • Sausage and bacon
  • Hot dogs
  • Fatty meats, such as prime rib, pork rib, and lamb chops
  • Sushi
  • Dried beans, peas, and lentils
  • Hummus
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Crunchy nut butters, such as crunchy almond and peanut butters
  • Shrimp

Dairy

Dairy to include Dairy to avoid
Foods marked with an asterisk (*) have lactose. If you have lactose intolerance, drinking milk products from cows or goats may make diarrhea worse.
  • Buttermilk*
  • Fat-free, 1%, and 2% milk*
  • Lactose-free milk, such as Lactaid® milk
  • Powdered milk and evaporated milk*
  • Fortified non-dairy milks, such as almond, cashew, coconut, and rice milks
    • These milks are not good sources of protein. You’ll need to eat an additional protein food.
  • Fortified pea milk and soy milk
    • These milks may cause gas and bloating in some people.
  • Yogurt* with live active cultures without fruit, granola, or nuts
  • Lactose-free yogurt
  • Kefir (many are 99% lactose-free)
  • Cheese*, such as cheddar, Swiss, and Parmesan cheeses
    • Low-fat, block, hard, and aged cheeses are usually lower in lactose.
  • Lactose-free ice cream
  • Lactose-free cottage cheese
  • Whey protein isolate
  • Milk and foods made with milk (if you have lactose intolerance)
  • Yogurt with fruit, granola, or nuts

Vegetables

Vegetables to include Vegetables to avoid
  • Well-cooked (fork-tender) vegetables without seeds or skins, such as carrots and asparagus tips
    • Remember to avoid the vegetables on the “Vegetables to avoid” list.
  • Peeled potatoes, including white, red, sweet, and yellow potatoes
  • Strained vegetable juice
  • All raw or undercooked vegetables
  • Alfalfa or bean sprouts
  • Cooked greens or spinach
  • High-fiber vegetables (vegetables with more than 2g of fiber per serving), such as peas and corn
  • Avocado
  • Cooked vegetables that cause gas, such as beets, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, sauerkraut, cauliflower, lima beans, mushrooms, okra, onions, parsnips, peppers, and potato skins

Fruit

Fruits to include Fruits to avoid
  • Fruit juice (except prune juice)
  • Ripe bananas
  • Melons, such as cantaloupe, honeydew and seedless watermelon
  • Applesauce
  • Cooked fruits without skins or seeds
  • Canned soft fruits in juice (except pineapple)
  • Frozen fruit with less than 2g of fiber per serving
  • All fresh fruits except those on the “Fruits to include” list
  • All dried fruits, including prunes and raisins
  • Canned fruit in heavy syrup
  • Fruit juice with pulp
  • Fruits sweetened with sorbitol
    • Sorbitol is not a fiber, but it can have a laxative effect (make you poop).
  • Prune juice
  • Pineapple

Fats and oils

Fats and oils to include Fats and oils to avoid

If you’re having diarrhea, do not have more than 8 teaspoons of fats and oils per day.

  • Choose oils (such as olive or canola oil) more often than solid fats (such as butter or stick margarine)
  • Coconut oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Nut or sesame seed oils
  • Shredded or whole coconut
  • Avocado

Drinks

Drinks to include Drinks to avoid
Drink 8 to 10 (8-ounce) glasses of liquids every day. It’s best to drink mostly plain water. If you’re having diarrhea, you may need to drink more liquids to replace the fluids you’re losing.
  • Decaffeinated coffee
  • Caffeine-free teas
  • Rehydration drinks, such as unflavored Pedialyte®
  • Flavored water without artificial sugars or sugar alcohols, such as xylitol or sorbitol
Do not have more than 12 ounces per day of drinks with high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Drinks with caffeine, such as regular coffee, regular tea, soda, and energy drinks
    • Caffeine can make diarrhea worse.
  • Drinks sweetened with sorbitol or other sugar substitutes, such as sucralose
  • Alcoholic drinks

Oral nutritional supplements (nutritional supplements you swallow)

Oral nutritional supplements to include Oral nutritional supplements to avoid
Supplements with less than 2g of fiber per serving, such as:
  • Ensure® Original
  • Ensure Plus®
  • Ensure High Protein
  • Ensure Clear
  • BOOST High Protein
  • BOOST Breeze®
  • BOOST Pudding
  • Carnation Breakfast Essentials®
  • Premier Protein® Clear
  • Premier Protein Original
  • Orgain®
  • Scandishake®
  • Lactose-free Scandishake
Always check the amount of fiber on the Nutrition Facts label. Different flavors, even of the same supplement brand, can have different amounts of fiber.
Supplements with more than 2g of fiber per serving, such as:
  • BOOST® Original
  • BOOST Plus®
  • BOOST Glucose Control®
  • Glucerna®
  • Nepro®
  • Carnation Breakfast Essentials® Light Start®
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How to Handle Food Safely

It’s important to handle food safely when you’re making meals at home. This will lower your chances of getting a foodborne illness (food poisoning).

  • Clean your hands and cooking surfaces (including your blender) often.
  • Separate raw meats, poultry, and seafood from produce and other food in your refrigerator.
  • Use one cutting board for raw meat, poultry, and seafood and another cutting board for produce.
  • Use a food thermometer to make sure meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs are cooked to safe internal temperatures.
  • Refrigerate or freeze leftovers within 2 hours of cooking or buying them.
  • Avoid foods that are more likely to cause foodborne illnesses, such as:
    • Unpasteurized or raw milk, cheese, other dairy products, and honey
    • Unwashed fresh fruits and vegetables
    • Raw or uncooked sprouts (such as alfalfa and bean sprouts)
    • Cold or uncooked deli meats (cold cuts) and hot dogs

For more information, read the resource Food Safety During Cancer Treatment.

 
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Low-Fiber Recipes

Breakfast Egg Cups

Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 small russet potato, peeled
  • 8 large eggs
  • ½ cup 2% or fat-free cottage cheese
  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 small bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • Cooking spray

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (177 °C).
  2. Dice the potato and place it in a covered dish. Microwave it for 5 minutes, then let it sit for 5 minutes.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs. Add the cottage cheese, grated cheddar cheese, chopped bell pepper, ketchup, and diced potato.
  4. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin or line it with muffin cups or parchment paper. Divide the egg mixture evenly into the 12 sections.
  5. Bake until the tops of the egg cups are golden (about 15 to 18 minutes).

Per serving: 191 calories, 11g carbohydrate, 10g total fat, 2g fiber, 14g protein


 

Potato Frittata

Makes 2 servings.

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 medium potato (such as Yukon Gold or russet), peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 large eggs (1 whole egg and 3 egg whites)
  • ¼ cup lactose-free milk
  • Garlic powder, paprika, dried oregano, salt, and pepper (optional)
  • ¼ cup shredded soy cheese

Note: You can use ½ cup Egg Beaters® or liquid egg whites in place of the whole egg.

Instructions

  1. Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  2. Lightly coat the skillet with cooking spray. Add the sliced potato and cover the skillet. Let it cook until it’s tender (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk the whole egg and egg whites, milk, and any seasonings you’d like in a large bowl.
  4. Pour the egg mixture over the potato and sprinkle it with cheese. Reduce the heat to low, cover the skillet, and let it cook until the eggs are firm (about 5 to 8 minutes).

Per serving: 170 calories, 23g carbohydrate, 4g total fat, 2g fiber, 14g protein


 

Baked French Toast Casserole

Makes 8 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 6 large eggs, beaten
  • 1½ cups whole milk
  • 15 ounces (2 cups) whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 (15-ounce) baguette, white bread, Brioche, or challah loaf, sliced
  • ¾ cup (12 tablespoons) of apricot preserves, peach preserves, or apple jelly
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • Powdered sugar and maple syrup, for serving

Instructions

  1. Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with the melted butter or coconut oil.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, milk, 1 cup of ricotta cheese, vanilla extract, and salt.
  3. Spread one side of the bread with the preserves or jelly. Arrange the bread in 2 layers, preserves or jelly side up, in the baking dish.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients over the bread.
  5. Cover and refrigerate the casserole overnight.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (177 °C).
  7. Take the casserole out of the fridge. Place it in the preheated oven.
    • Bake for 45 minutes for a softer texture, like the texture of bread pudding.
    • Bake for 1 hour or more for a firmer, crisper texture.
    • If the top starts browning too quickly, loosely cover it with aluminum foil.
  8. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the remaining 1 cup of ricotta cheese. Stir in 1 tablespoon of powdered sugar, if you’d like.
  9. Serve the French toast warm with the whipped ricotta cheese mixture and maple syrup.

Per serving: 480 calories, 60g carbohydrate, 17g total fat, 2g fiber, 20g protein


 

Banana Bread Muffins

Makes 12 servings.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup (1 whole stick) butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup mashed overripe banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (177 °C).
  2. Whisk together the butter, brown sugar, Greek yogurt, eggs, banana, and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and ground ginger.
  4. Whisk the banana mixture into the bowl with the dry ingredients.
  5. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin cups or parchment paper. Divide the batter evenly into the 12 compartments.
  6. Bake until the tops are golden and a toothpick stuck in the center of a muffin comes out clean (about 20 to 25 minutes).

Per serving: 210 calories, 29g carbohydrate, 9g total fat, 1g fiber, 4g protein


 

Easy Potato Soup

Makes 2 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 baking potato, such as Russet or Yukon Gold
  • 2 cups bone broth

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F (204 °C).
  2. Bake the potato until the flesh gives slightly when you squeeze it (about 30 minutes). Be careful not to burn yourself.
  3. Let the potato cool. Remove and throw away the skin.
  4. Bring the bone broth to a boil.
  5. Carefully combine the potato and bone broth in a blender. Purée until smooth.
  6. Serve warm.

Per serving: 91 calories, 13g carbohydrate, 0g total fat, 1g fiber, 10g protein


 

Watermelon and Mint Gazpacho

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds watermelon, seeded and chopped
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh well-washed cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons pasteurized lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh well-washed mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large well-washed tomato, seeded and chopped
  • 1 large well-washed cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a blender, combine the watermelon, cilantro, lime juice, mint leaves, olive oil, tomato, and cucumber. Purée until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Pour the gazpacho into a container. Cover the container. Refrigerate it until the soup is chilled.
  3. Garnish each bowl with cilantro and mint leaves before serving.

Per serving: 120 calories, 13g carbohydrate, 7g total fat, 2g fiber, 2g protein


 

Chicken Tamale Pie

Makes 6 servings.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup cornmeal
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 to 2 cups of shredded baked chicken
  • 1 cup low-sodium tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ cup grated low-fat cheddar cheese
  • Fresh cilantro (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (177 °C).
  2. Combine the cornmeal and chicken broth in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, until the mixture thickens (about 10 to 20 minutes). Let it cool for 5 minutes.
  3. Lightly coat a small casserole dish with cooking spray.
  4. Spread the cornmeal mixture on the bottom of the casserole dish.
  5. Spread the shredded chicken on top of the cornmeal mixture.
  6. Place the tomato sauce in a small bowl. Stir in the garlic powder, oregano, and thyme. Evenly spread the tomato sauce over the chicken, then sprinkle it with the grated cheese.
  7. Bake until the cheese melts (about 30 minutes).
  8. Garnish with fresh cilantro before serving, if you’d like.

Per serving: 227 calories, 15g carbohydrate, 4g total fat, 1g fiber, 9g protein


 

Rolled Chicken Tacos

Makes 1 serving.

Ingredients

  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup white rice
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 (6-inch) flour tortillas
  • ¼ cup shredded soy cheese
  • ½ cup shredded or cubed grilled or rotisserie chicken breast, skin removed
  • Mild chili powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper (optional)

Instructions

  1. In a saucepan over high heat, bring water to a boil. Add the rice and reduce the heat to low. Cover the saucepan and let it simmer until the rice is tender (about 40 to 50 minutes).
  2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
  3. Lightly coat the skillet with cooking spray. Place the tortillas on the skillet over medium heat. Sprinkle them with cheese, then top the cheese evenly with the cooked rice and rotisserie chicken. Sprinkle the seasonings over the rice and chicken, if you’d like.
  4. Cook the tacos until the filling is warm and the tortillas start to brown (about 3 minutes).
  5. Move the tacos to a plate. Roll them and serve them.

Per serving: 510 calories, 60g carbohydrate, 13g total fat, 3g fiber, 34g protein

Note: This recipe has 3 grams of fiber. It should be counted as a meal.


 

Turkey Sage Meatloaf

Makes 12 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • ½ cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 3 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 3 pounds lean ground turkey
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1⅓ cups panko breadcrumbs
  • 16 ounces low-sodium gravy of choice

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 °F (191 °C).
  2. Heat the grapeseed oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the mixture is soft but not browned (about 5 to 7 minutes).
  3. Remove the pan from heat. Let it cool.
  4. Transfer the mixture to an extra-large bowl. Stir in the parsley and sage. Add the ground turkey, eggs, salt, pepper, and panko breadcrumbs. Mix to combine.
  5. Place the mixture in a baking dish. Form into a loaf with wet hands. Bake until the internal temperature reaches 165 °F (74 °C), about 60 to 65 minutes.
  6. Warm the gravy following the instructions on the packaging. Serve the meatloaf with the warmed gravy.

Per serving: 210 calories, 12g carbohydrate, 12g total fat, 1g fiber, 25g protein


 

Thai Turkey Meatballs with Coconut Rice

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

Turkey meatballs
  • Cooking spray or oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon Thai chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon Thai curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon finely-grated peeled ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 scallion, finely chopped
Coconut rice
  • 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • ½ cup full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 pinch salt
For serving
  • 1 cup frozen mango
  • 1 lime, juiced or 2 tablespoons pasteurized lime juice
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh well-washed cilantro

Note: To keep the fiber low, do not use more than ¼ cup of mango per serving.

Instructions

  1. Defrost the mango in the refrigerator overnight or heat it in the microwave for 1 minute. Divide it into 4 (¼ cup) portions for garnish.
  2. Prepare the rice. In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk, water, salt, and rice. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to low, and let it simmer until the rice is tender (about 20 minutes).
  3. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (177 °C). Grease a metal baking sheet with oil or cooking spray.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg, chili paste, curry paste, ginger, garlic, cayenne pepper, and soy sauce. Add the turkey, panko breadcrumbs, and scallion. Stir well to combine.
  5. Roll the mixture into 1-inch balls, packing them firmly (you should have about 30). Move the meatballs to the prepared baking sheet.
  6. Roast the meatballs, turning them once halfway through, until a food thermometer stuck in the center of a meatball registers 165 °F (74 °C), about 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Serve the meatballs with the rice. Garnish with lime, cilantro, and mango.

Per serving: 480 calories, 53g carbohydrate, 17g total fat, 1g fiber, 28g protein


 

Lime and Coconut chicken

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 lime, including zest
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1½ teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • 4 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

Instructions

  1. Using a meat tenderizer, pound chicken breasts between sheets of wax paper so they’re about ⅛ inch thick.
  2. Place breasts in a bowl and toss with oil, lime zest, cumin, coriander, soy sauce, salt, sugar, curry powder, and coconut milk.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours.
  4. Separate chicken from marinade and reserve both.
  5. Using a hot sauté pan, grill pan, or cast-iron skillet, brown chicken on both sides until a food thermometer inserted measures an internal temperature of 165 °F (74 °C).
  6. Pour the marinade into a saucepan and heat until boiling. Reduce heat and let simmer for 2 minutes, stirring to prevent burning.
  7. Serve sauce over and garnish with cilantro and lime wedges.

Per serving: 330 calories, 10g carbohydrate, 20g total fat, 1g fiber, 28g protein


 

Salmon Filet with Yogurt Avocado Sauce

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • ½ avocado (about 3.5 ounces or 100 grams)
  • ½ cup Greek yogurt
  • 3 tablespoons chopped dill
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon water, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 (3-ounce) salmon filets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Note: Only a small amount of avocado is used to keep the fiber content low.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 °F (204 °C).
  2. Blend yogurt sauce by combining avocado, Greek yogurt, dill, garlic, lemon juice, water, and salt and pepper to taste in a food processor until smooth. If needed, add more water 1 tablespoon at a time until it reaches the desired consistency.
  3. Cook fish fillet skin side down on a foil-lined baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and brush with olive oil. Bake fish until just cooked through, about 8 to 10 minutes. (Thicker center-cut fillets will take longer, while thinner fillets cut from the tail section will cook faster.)
  4. Serve warm topped with ¼ cup or less of avocado-dill yogurt.

Per serving: 280 calories, 6g carbohydrate, 18g total fat, 3g fiber, 24g protein

Note: This recipe has 3 grams of fiber. It should be counted as a meal.


 
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Puréed Recipes

Fruit Smoothie

Makes 1 serving.

Ingredients

  • ⅔ cup non-fat vanilla yogurt
  • ½ cup pasteurized fruit nectar
  • ⅔ cup well-washed chilled or frozen fruit of your choice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 4 ice cubes

Note: To keep the amount of fiber low, do not use more than ⅔ cup of fruit.

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until the mixture is smooth.

Per serving: 270 calories, 49g carbohydrate, 0g total fat, 2g fiber, 16g protein


 

Carrot Banana Smoothie

Makes 1 serving.

Ingredients

  • ½ small banana
  • ¼ cup chopped well-washed carrot
  • ½ cup pasteurized orange juice
  • 1 cup ice cubes

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until the mixture is smooth.

Per serving: 113 calories, 27g carbohydrate, 0g total fat, 2g fiber, 1.5g protein


Spinach Smoothie

Makes 1 serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup well-washed spinach
  • ½ cup pasteurized orange juice
  • ½ cup mango sorbet
  • 1 tablespoon pasteurized lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon mint

Note: Only a small amount of spinach is used to keep the amount of fiber low.

Instructions

  1. Put all the ingredients in a blender.
  2. Blend until the mixture is smooth.

Per serving: 170 calories, 42g carbohydrate, 0g total fat, 0.5g fiber, 2g protein


Winter Squash and Carrot Purée

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 butternut squash (3 pounds or less, cut in half lengthwise, with the seeds removed)
  • 3 small carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon of thyme
  • 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 cups of water
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 °F (177 °C).
  2. Set the squash, cut side down, on a lightly-oiled baking sheet.
  3. Bake the squash for 45 minutes or until soft.
  4. Combine the carrots, garlic, thyme, and water in a saucepan.
  5. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes or until the carrots are tender.
  6. Transfer the contents from the pan to a food processor and purée.
  7. Scoop the squash out of its skin and purée it with the carrots.
  8. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Spread the purée on a buttered, shallow baking dish.
  10. Dot with the butter.
  11. Bake for 20 minutes or until hot and serve.

Per serving: 70 calories, 10g carbohydrate, 3g total fat, 2g fiber, 1g protein


 

Creamy Soup

Makes 2 servings.

This is a recipe for a basic creamy soup. Add whichever vegetables, spices, and dried herbs you like.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Basic White Sauce (see recipe below)
  • ½ cup puréed vegetables or baby food vegetables (such as green beans, squash, mushrooms, or asparagus)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Herbs, such as dill, garlic, or thyme, to taste (optional)

Note: To keep the amount of fiber low, do not use more than ½ cup of vegetables.

Instructions

  1. Follow the recipe for Basic White Sauce.
  2. Mix in the vegetables. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Add herbs, if you’d like.

 

Basic White Sauce

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk (such as skim, 1%, whole, lactose-free, or fortified non-dairy milk
  • 2 tablespoons any kind of oil or butter
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons flour

Note: You can make a basic brown sauce by using ⅔ cup of low-sodium beef or chicken broth instead of milk.

Instructions

  1. Mix the flour and oil or butter in a saucepan. The more flour you use, the thicker the sauce will be.
  2. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture is smooth and bubbly.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in the milk.
  4. Return to low heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
  5. After 2 to 3 minutes, the sauce will start to thicken and you can remove it from heat.

Per serving: 200 calories, 17g carbohydrate, 11g total fat, 2g fiber, 6g protein


 

Ricotta Cherry Mousse

Makes 4 servings.

Ingredients

  • 15 ounces (2 cups) ricotta cheese
  • 3 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups canned cherries
  • ½ cup semisweet chocolate chips, ground to a coarse meal in a blender

Instructions

  1. Put the ricotta cheese in a medium-size mixing bowl.
  2. Beat the ricotta cheese with an electric mixer at high speed until it’s smooth (about 3 minutes). While beating the cheese, slowly add the powdered sugar.
  3. Stir in the almond and vanilla extracts.
  4. Cover the mousse. Refrigerate it until it’s chilled.
  5. 15 minutes before you serve the mousse, take it out of the refrigerator and fold in the cherries. Place it back in the refrigerator until you’re ready to serve it.
  6. Serve the mousse topped with the ground chocolate.

Per serving: 300 calories, 30g carbohydrate, 17g total fat, 2g fiber, 10g protein


 
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Reasons You May Need to Follow a Low-Fiber Diet

This section has information about why your healthcare provider might recommend following a low-fiber diet.

IBD (Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis) flare-ups

IBD happens when your immune system attacks part of your GI tract. Your GI tract is pathway food travels through after you swallow it. It’s made up of your mouth, esophagus (food pipe), stomach, small intestine, large intestine, and anus. IBD most often affects your small or large intestine.

When your immune system attacks your GI tract, it causes symptoms such as:

  • Diarrhea that does not go away
  • Abdominal (belly) pain
  • Bloody stool
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue (feeling very tired or having less energy than usual)

IBD is a chronic (lifelong) condition, but you will not have symptoms all the time. When you do have symptoms, it’s called a flare-up.

Having too much fiber can cause diarrhea and abdominal pain or make these symptoms worse. Eating foods with little or no fiber can help prevent or lessen your symptoms. Once your flare-up gets better, it’s important to contact your doctor or clinical dietitian nutritionist. They’ll help you safely add foods with fiber back into your diet.

Radiation therapy to your pelvis and lower bowel

Radiation therapy to your pelvis and lower bowel can cause side effects such as:

  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation (having fewer bowel movements than usual)
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gas

Eating foods with little or no fiber may help lessen these side effects.

Lots of diarrhea or diarrhea that is not getting better

Many things can cause diarrhea, such as medications, infections, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or disease. The treatment for diarrhea depends on what’s causing it. Following a low-fiber diet is just one part of treatment. If you’re having lots of diarrhea or your diarrhea is not getting better, tell your healthcare provider. Follow their instructions for managing it.

Foods with lots of fiber make your foods and drinks move through your GI tract more quickly. This is especially true for foods with insoluble fiber, such as whole grains, wheat bran, and nuts. When food moves through your GI tract too quickly, it can make diarrhea happen more often. High-fiber foods can also cause gas and discomfort.

Following a low-fiber diet can help manage diarrhea. It’s best if the little fiber you eat while following this diet is soluble fiber. Soluble fiber helps make your stool bulkier. Foods made with whole grains or bran have soluble fiber.

New colostomy or ileostomy

After surgery on your colon or rectum, you may need a new way for stool to leave your body. If you do, your surgeon will make an opening on your belly. They’ll connect your ileum (the last part of your small intestine) or colon to the opening. If they use your ileum, it’s called an ileostomy. If they use your colon, it’s called a colostomy. The part of your ileum or colon that’s outside your body is called a stoma. You’ll wear a pouch over your stoma to collect your stool.

After your surgery, your bowel will be swollen and need time to recover. High-fiber foods are harder for your body to digest and can cause gas. They’re also more likely to block your new ileostomy or colostomy. Following a low-fiber diet can help your body heal. Your care team will tell you how long to follow it. They’ll also tell you if you need to make any other changes to your diet after surgery.

For more information about your diet while you have a new colostomy or ileostomy, read the resource Diet Guidelines for People With a Colostomy or Diet Guidelines for People With an Ileostomy.

Recent GI surgery

Depending on the specific GI surgery you had, you may have abdominal pain and diarrhea after surgery. Following a low-fiber diet can help lessen these side effects.

Bowel obstruction and narrowing of the bowel

A bowel obstruction is when something completely or partly blocks food from moving through your bowels. A tumor or scar tissue from a surgery can cause a bowel obstruction.

It’s harder for high-fiber foods to pass through your bowels. Your healthcare provider might recommend a low-fiber diet if you:

  • Are at risk for a bowel obstruction.
  • Have a partial bowel obstruction.
  • Recently had a bowel obstruction.

Be sure to follow their instructions.

It’s also important to chew your foods well and eat meals slowly. Your healthcare provider might also tell you to liquify foods with fiber before eating them. When you liquify a food, you blend it until it’s a consistency (texture) you can suck through a straw. This makes these foods easier to digest and helps them move through your bowels.

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