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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Health Center

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Should You Try a Low-Residue Diet?

What You Can Eat continued...

Milk and Dairy

Milk products are OK to eat in moderation. Milk has no fiber, but it may trigger symptoms such as diarrhea and cramping if you have lactose intolerance. You could use lactase supplements or eat lactose-free products.


Animal products don't have fiber. You can eat beef, lamb, chicken, fish (no bones), and pork, as long as they're lean, tender, and soft. Eggs are also OK to eat.

Fats, Sauces, and Condiments

All of the following are fine to eat on a low-residue diet:

  • Margarine, butter, and oils
  • Mayonnaise and ketchup
  • Sour cream
  • Smooth sauces and salad dressing
  • Soy sauce
  • Clear jelly, honey, and syrup

Sweets and Snacks

You can still satisfy your sweet tooth on a low-residue diet. These desserts and snacks are OK to eat in moderation:

  • Plain cakes and cookies
  • Gelatin, plain puddings, custard, and sherbet
  • Ice cream and ice pops
  • Hard candy
  • Pretzels
  • Vanilla wafers


Safe drinks to enjoy include:

  • Decaffeinated coffee, tea, and carbonated beverages (caffeine can irritate the stomach)
  • Milk
  • Juices made without seeds or pulp, such as apple juice, no-pulp orange juice, and cranberry juice
  • Strained vegetable juices

Foods to Avoid

While on a low-residue diet, you should avoid:

  • Seeds, nuts, or coconut, including those found in bread, cereal, desserts, and candy
  • Whole-grain products, including whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta, rice, and kasha
  • Raw or dried fruits, such as prunes, berries, raisins, figs, and pineapple
  • Most raw vegetables
  • Certain cooked vegetables, including peas, broccoli, winter squash, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, corn (and corn bread), onions, cauliflower, potatoes with skin, and baked beans
  • Beans, lentils, or tofu
  • Tough meats with gristle and smoked or cured deli meats
  • Cheese with seeds, nuts, or fruit
  • Crunchy peanut butter, jam, marmalade, or preserves
  • Pickles, olives, relish, sauerkraut, and horseradish
  • Popcorn
  • Fruit juices with pulp or seeds, prune juice, or pear nectar

Sample Menu

As long as you follow the general guidelines for the diet, you can mix and match as you like. There are many meal options to choose from on a low-residue diet, such as these: 

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