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Inflammatory Bowel Disease Health Center

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Should You Try a Low-Residue Diet?

Sample Menu continued...


  • Decaffeinated coffee with cream and sugar
  • Cup of juice, such as no-pulp orange juice, apple juice, or cranberry juice
  • Cream of wheat
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Waffles, French toast, or pancakes
  • White-bread toast with margarine and grape jelly (no seeds)


  • Baked chicken, white rice, canned carrots, or green beans
  • Salad with baked chicken, American cheese, smooth salad dressing, white dinner roll
  • Baked potato (no skin) with sour cream and butter or margarine
  • Hamburger with white seedless bun, ketchup, and mayonnaise -- lettuce if it doesn't worsen your symptoms


  • Tender roast beef, white rice, cooked carrots or spinach, white dinner roll with margarine or butter
  • Pasta with butter or olive oil, French bread, fruit cocktail
  • Baked chicken, white rice or baked potato without skin, and cooked green beans
  • Broiled fish, white rice, and canned green beans

How to Make It Work for You

Everyone is different. You may be OK with some foods listed under "foods to avoid," while other items on the "foods to enjoy" list may bother your gut. 

Keep a food diary for a few weeks. Track what you eat and how it makes you feel, so you know what works for you.

If you enjoy whole grains, nuts, and raw fruits and vegetables, shifting to a low-residue diet may be hard. But if you enjoy your white bread and pasta, don't mind canned fruits and vegetables, and are content to snack on saltines and vanilla wafers, a low-residue diet may come naturally. 

Remember, a low-residue diet is not a healthy way to eat for a long time, because it skips many important nutrients. If you need to stay on this diet, talk with your doctor and a registered dietitian to make sure you're getting all the nutrients you need to stay healthy. 

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on November 18, 2014
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