When you are on a low-fiber diet, you will eat foods that do not have much fiber and are easy to digest. Eating these foods may slow down your bowel movements. This helps decrease:
This diet can include foods you are used to eating, like cooked vegetables, fruits, white breads, and meats. It does NOT include foods that make your bowels work more, such as:
- Beans and legumes
- Whole grains
- Many raw vegetables and fruits
- Fruit and vegetable skins
- Nuts and seeds
- The connective tissues of meats
Your goal is to eat less than 10 to 15 grams of fiber each day.
This diet provides your body's needed:
Because this diet does not have the variety of foods that your body normally needs to stay healthy, you may have to take supplements, such as a multi-vitamin. Check with your doctor.
Why You Need This Diet
You may need to be on a low-fiber diet if you have conditions such as:
- Crohn disease
- Ulcerative colitis
- Bowel inflammation
Sometimes people are put on this diet after certain kinds of surgery, such as an ileostomy or colostomy. You may need to follow this diet only for a short time or for the rest of your life. Your doctor may refer you to a dietitian for help with meal planning.
What You Can Eat and Drink
Here are some of the foods recommended for a low-fiber diet. It is still possible for some of these foods to upset your system. Talk to your doctor or dietitian about your diet and any signs that foods are making your problem worse.
- You may have up to 3 cups total of smooth milk products a day. This includes yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, pudding, creamy soup, or 1.5 ounces of hard cheese. If you are lactose intolerant, keep using lactose-free products.
- Avoid milk products with nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables, or granola added to them.
Breads and grains:
- You may have refined white breads, dry cereals (such as Special K, puffed rice, Corn Flakes, and Rice Krispies), white pasta, and crackers. Make sure these foods have less than 2 grams of fiber per serving.
- DO NOT eat whole-grain breads, crackers, cereals, whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, barley, oats, or popcorn.
Vegetables: You may eat these vegetables raw:
- Cucumbers (without seeds)
You can eat these vegetables if they are well-cooked or canned (without seeds). You can also drink juices made from them if they do not contain seeds or pulp:
- Yellow squash (without seeds)
- Potatoes, without skin
- Green beans
- Wax beans
DO NOT eat any vegetable that is not on the list above. DO NOT eat vegetables raw that are okay to eat cooked. DO NOT eat fried vegetables. Avoid vegetables and sauces with seeds, such as tomato sauce.
- You may have fruit juices without pulp and many canned fruits or fruit sauces, such as applesauce.
- Raw fruits you can have are very ripe apricots, bananas and cantaloupe, honeydew melon, watermelon, nectarines, papayas, peaches, and plums. Avoid all other raw fruit.
- Fruits to avoid are canned or raw pineapple, fresh figs, berries, all dried fruits, fruit seeds, and prunes and prune juice.
- You may eat cooked meat (including bacon), fish, poultry, eggs, smooth peanut butter, and tofu. Make sure your meats are tender and soft, not chewy with gristle.
- Avoid deli meats, hot dogs, crunchy peanut butter, nuts, beans, tempeh, and peas.
Fats, oils, and sauces:
- You may eat butter, margarine, oils, mayonnaise, whipped cream, and smooth sauces and dressings.
- Smooth condiments are ok.
- DO NOT eat very spicy foods and dressings.
- Avoid chunky relishes and pickles.
- DO NOT eat deep-fried foods.
Other foods and drinks:
- You may eat plain cakes, cookies, pies, Jell-O, sugar, and hard candies.
- DO NOT eat desserts that nuts, coconut, or fruits that are not ok to eat. Avoid chocolate that is made from cocoa powder.
- Avoid caffeine.
- Ask your doctor if alcohol is ok.
- Make sure you are drinking enough fluids, particularly if you are having diarrhea.
Fiber diet - low-residue; Low-fiber diet; Fiber restricted diet
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Nutrition Care Manual: Fiber-Restricted Nutrition Therapy. Available at: www.nutritioncaremanual.org. Accessed October 28, 2014.
Compass Group. Fiber-restricted diets. In: Morrison. Manual of Clinical Nutrition Management. Available at: bscn2k15.weebly.com/uploads/1/2/9/2/12924787/manual_of_clinical_nutrition2013.pdf. Accessed October 28, 2014.
- Crohn disease - discharge
- Diet - clear liquid
- Diet - full liquid
- Diverticulitis and diverticulosis - discharge
- Ileostomy and your child
- Ileostomy and your diet
- Ileostomy - discharge
- Intestinal or bowel obstruction - discharge
- Large bowel resection - discharge
- Small bowel resection - discharge
- Total colectomy or proctocolectomy - discharge
- Ulcerative colitis - discharge
Update Date 10/28/2014
Updated by: Emily Wax, RD, The Brooklyn Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.