Cooking for someone with Ulcerative Colitis - Confessions of a Fitness Instructor Fitness | Nutrition | Recipes | Lifestyle (2024)

Ulcerative Colitis is one of those diseases that really depends on you eating the right types of food in order to find health and remission, but most people are given no guidelines at all when diagnosed.

With that in mind, I thought I’d share some tips on how Itryto cook healthy and tasty meals for my husbandand myself keeping in mind that he has ulcerative colitis and therefore is on a very restrictive diet.

For those of you not familiar with the disease, you can read up on ithere. In a nutshell, Ulcerative Colitis causes inflammation of the large intestines, that inflammation can lead to sores on the intestinal walls which can lead to internal bleeding. Fun times right?

Cooking for someone with Ulcerative Colitis

So to avoid that loveliness, we try to stick as closely to the recommended diet that was given to him by a dietitian specifically for people with Ulcerative Colitis which I’ve outlined below:

Foods to Avoid

  • brown or wild rice
  • granola, course bran cereal, and any other cereals with nuts or dried fruit
  • whole-grain, multigrain, cracked wheat bread & bread, muffins, and crackers containing nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
  • regular jam & marmalade (anything with seeds)
  • pickles, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce
  • popcorn, coconut, nuts
  • highly seasoned food, pepper, salsa
  • aged and strongly flavored cheeses
  • salted smoked meat (except ham), spiced meats, canned meat stews, corned beef, processed meats (i.e. hot dogs, pepperoni, sausages, chicken nuggets, etc.)
  • nuts, seeds, dried peas and beans, lentils, chunky peanut butter
  • raw fruits (except bananas) and veggies.
  • dried fruit
  • the following vegetables (regardless of if they are cooked or raw) barley, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, corn, cucumber, lettuce, lima beans, onions, peppers, radish, sprouts, sauerkraut, tomato, and turnip

Okay, I’ll let allthat sink in for a minute………….okay ready to move on? Here is what is on the “okay to eat” list:

Allowed Foods

  • white bread, muffins, waffles pancakes, biscuits, and crackerswith allowed ingredients
  • most cereals including oatmeal
  • white pasta and white rice
  • margarine, butter, cooking oils, mayonnaise
  • plain soup stock (made without onion powder)
  • jello, sherbet, fruit ices, fruit pudding (made with allowed ingredients)
  • white, brown, and icing sugar
  • maple syrup (natural – no Aunt Jemima), corn syrup, molasses, honey
  • plain candies
  • jelly & seedless jam
  • water, herbal tea
  • mild herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, cinnamon, chives)
  • milk, soft & mild to medium cheeses, yogurt, ice cream
  • white fish & salmon, beef, pork, ham, poultry (must be baked, broiled, roasted poached or stewed – no frying)
  • eggs, smooth nut spreads & tofu
  • fruit juices (no pulp) and vegetable juices
  • baked apples (peeled), applesauce, bananas,canned:apricots, cherries, peaches, pears, pineapple, mandarin oranges
  • well cooked & tender:asparagus, beans (green & waxed), beets, beet greens, carrots, peas, mushrooms, eggplant, parsnips, potatoes (white & sweet), squash, pumpkin, spinach, swiss chard, water chestnuts, tomato paste & plain tomato sauce.

Foods that should be avoided during a flare-up, but are usually ok otherwise in moderation

  • chocolate
  • carbonated beverages, coffee, tea

Most other itemsnotlisted in the “to be avoided” and “allowed” foods lists are okay too.

Everyone is different so this is only a guideline given to us to use, any foods on the “appropriate” list should be fine, but any of items not listed are sort of trial and error.

Honestly with the exception of a few things, unless it’s on that “allowed foods” list, we don’t chance it. So it’s been a few years since I’ve had to start being an ingredient list ninja (onion powder? no good.

Is there celery in that soup? Can’t have it. Coconut in those cookies? put them back. Seeds in the crackers? no good either…) and have found a number of items that we now consider staples around here that help to make eatingregularmeals a little bit easier.

Good quality protein powder with added greens

Vega One is my protein powder of choice, but there are lots of great quality options out there these days. Find one that has the benefit of added greens powder, or get a separate green supplement to help with micronutrition.

This and Vega Sport are the two protein powders that I swear by, theycontain so much nutrition including greens, vitamins and minerals – as well as protein. Vega One has been my savior for many years, and Vega Sport is my husband’s favorite.

Since he can’t eat many vegetables in their standard form, I’ve got my husband use to having these protein shakes which really help him feel better overall. He usually combines one of these protein powders with greek yogurt, kefir, aloe vera juice, fruit juice, and water.

Hunt’s Plain Tomato Sauce

For the first few years, we used only tomato paste in pasta and pizza, and to be honest, it’s a little tart. Not so enjoyable. Then I discovered Hunt’sOriginalTomato Sauce.

This is the only pasta sauce we use (well we will get the Hunt’s Original Tomato Sauce that is salt-free if this isn’t available) because it really has next to nothing in it. The tricky bit is on the label one of the ingredients is “spice.” Does that mean there is onion powder in it? Possibly, but in this case, I don’t think it does as it really tastes like a straight-up cooked tomato.

I would be surprised if their “spice” was much more than some salt. There is no basil/oregano/parsley in it so you have to add that yourself, but it is real tomato sauce! The day I found this in the store I did a happy dance!

Update April 2018 – We now purchase the “no salt added” version of this sauce as we find it is less tart and is even more tolerable.

Greek Yogurt

Prior to his diagnosis, my husband was not a yogurt eater. At first, I got him eating it by giving him Activia, but then as I learned more about nutrition I started looking at food labels and quite frankly, Activia has a lot of crap in it.

These days he gets vanilla Liberte Greek Yogurt – 2% or 5% (depending on what is available in-store). Greek yogurt is higher in protein than regular yogurt, and being on a high protein diet means adding in the extra protein where ever you can!

Beef/Chicken/Vegetable Broth

Pre-packaged broths are another tricky one. How was it made? Does it have onion powder in it? Probably. But we’ve used it without any issues for a few years now so I’m going to say for us anyway, whatever “spices” are in there are in a small enough quantity that it is okay at least for him.

The broth really adds a lot of flavour to meals that might otherwise taste bland, and you can “fry” your meats and veggies in a frying pan adding nothing more than broth.


and LOTS of it. Especially if eating more questionable food, drink a lot of water with it to help dilute the food and hopefully minimize any damage it may cause.

Keep in mind though, that drinking a lot of water just before, during, and after eating actually shuts down the release of hydrochloric acid in your stomach making it harder for you to digest food. So it’s best to drink a lot of water throughout the day.

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint is already known as a natural remedy for indigestion, but it also helps relieve many intestinal disturbances and is an excellent drink for anyone suffering from nausea, IBS, diarrhea, and aids digestion.


Turmeric is an amazing spice that really battles inflammation. Its effectiveness is increased something like 200% when eaten with black pepper, but of course, folks with Ulcerative Colitis can’t have black pepper.

Even still, adding a bit to your meals can go a long way to soothing inflammation.

Please remember, these things have worked for our family, but every case is different so what my husband may be able to eat without a problem may not hold true for all patients with Ulcerative Colitis.I particularly wanted to write this post as when he was diagnosed nobody told us anything he should or shouldn’t eat.

It wasn’t until a month later when he was admitted to the hospital did we finally get some direction as to what he could and couldn’t eat. Unfortunately, I think this happens more often than not so if you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed these guidelines should be a safe starting pointbut I beg and urge you to get an appointment with a dietitian to get a personalized evaluation of what you should and shouldn’t be eating.

I truly believe that a large part of staying well with Ulcerative Colitis is a result of your dietary habits.

Cooking for someone with Ulcerative Colitis - Confessions of a Fitness Instructor Fitness | Nutrition | Recipes | Lifestyle (2024)


What is the best food to eat when you have ulcerative colitis? ›

Some types of food, such as lean proteins, peeled fruits, and cooked vegetables, may help reduce ulcerative colitis symptoms. High fiber, highly processed, and spicy foods may trigger symptoms.

Can I eat spaghetti sauce with colitis? ›

A person with ulcerative colitis may be able to eat tomato sauce in moderation. However, it may be best to avoid eating whole tomatoes as the skin can be difficult to digest.

What pasta can I eat with ulcerative colitis? ›

The following foods are usually tolerated well in patients with ulcerative colitis (UC) and can be consumed provided the patients do not have any allergies or intolerance to them: White bread, noodles, and pasta made from refined white flour.

What chef has ulcerative colitis? ›

SUNNY ANDERSON: As a cooking show host, I have an amazing job. I also have Ulcerative Colitis.

Is Hamburger OK with ulcerative colitis? ›

Red meat and processed meats

The IOIBD recommends people with ulcerative colitis limit their intake of these foods to help avoid worsening symptoms.

What are the 10 worst inflammatory foods? ›

Here are the top ten worst offending foods that can trigger or cause inflammation:
  • Dairy Products. ...
  • Wheat, Rye, and Barley. ...
  • Fried Foods. ...
  • Refined Flour. ...
  • Red Meat. ...
  • Processed Corn. ...
  • Artificial Chemicals and Additives. ...
  • Trans Fats. Trans fats, aside from causing cancer, also create low-density lipoproteins, which feed inflammation.
Dec 9, 2023

Can you eat salad with colitis? ›

While leafy greens that have been cooked until soft (and possibly blended or pureed) may be tolerable for some, the rough texture of the raw greens can be irritating, Warren notes. “But again, this will all depend on the patient,” she says. Salads don't have to be entirely off limits, Warren and Leben say.

What foods do not irritate colitis? ›

These include plant- and meat-based proteins like:
  • Canned tuna (packed in water)
  • Cottage cheese (low-fat)
  • Eggs (not fried)
  • Fish (skinless)
  • Hummus.
  • Peanut butter powder.
  • Pork (lean and trimmed)
  • Poultry (without skin)
Mar 2, 2024

Can I eat a baked potato with colitis? ›

What vegetables are good for ulcerative colitis? Non-cruciferous vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, and rutabaga may be good to eat during a UC flare-up. However, avoid raw vegetables, especially their peels. Peeled, steamed, and cooked vegetables are soft and easier to digest.

Can you eat potato chips with colitis? ›

The authors of a 2021 review state that eating highly processed foods such as store-bought potato chips can increase the risk of IBD. But the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation has a recipe for homemade chips that can be a great snack option if you have UC.

What are the worst foods for ulcerative colitis? ›

Foods To Avoid
  • Caffeine. ...
  • Dairy Products. ...
  • Fatty Foods. ...
  • High-Fiber Fruits and Vegetables. ...
  • Nuts and Seeds. ...
  • Red Meat. ...
  • Spicy Foods. You may need to avoid spicy foods, including chili powder and sriracha. ...
  • Sugar Alcohols. Sugar alcohols, including mannitol, sorbitol, and xylitol, are sweeteners in many sugar-free products.
Mar 24, 2024

Is tomato sauce OK with colitis? ›

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation includes tomato sauce as a source of vitamins A and C in their Diet, Nutrition, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease guide. However, they also recommend limiting your intake of sauces and spices.

Can I eat chicken noodle soup with ulcerative colitis? ›

Broth-based soups (like chicken noodle) are another good option, as are plain sandwiches like turkey or chicken breast on white bread.

How can I help my friend with ulcerative colitis? ›

  1. Make sure they're taking their medication. ...
  2. Be a good listener. ...
  3. Look for ways to ward off a flare. ...
  4. Do a little research before leaving home. ...
  5. Learn to spot non-GI symptoms of UC. ...
  6. Know that your loved one may be at risk for colon cancer. ...
  7. Don't forget to take care of yourself.
Aug 19, 2020

What seasonings can I have with colitis? ›

Used in moderation, healthful herbs and spices such as ginger, oregano, turmeric, and cumin might not irritate your GI tract. Although they may not provide the “spicy” flavor that you might crave, they can boost the flavor and nutrition of an otherwise bland meal.

What not to say to someone with ulcerative colitis? ›

11 things not to say to people with Crohn's or colitis
  • istockphoto. ...
  • You don't look sick. ...
  • I know what you're going through. ...
  • You've lost weight! ...
  • Come on, try a bite! ...
  • You're so lucky - you can eat anything and stay skinny. ...
  • You must have a lot of stress in your life. ...
  • Can you wait until the next exit?
Oct 18, 2011

Can you eat tomato sauce with ulcerative colitis? ›

The Crohn's & Colitis Foundation includes tomato sauce as a source of vitamins A and C in their Diet, Nutrition, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease guide. However, they also recommend limiting your intake of sauces and spices.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Tish Haag

Last Updated:

Views: 6181

Rating: 4.7 / 5 (67 voted)

Reviews: 90% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Tish Haag

Birthday: 1999-11-18

Address: 30256 Tara Expressway, Kutchburgh, VT 92892-0078

Phone: +4215847628708

Job: Internal Consulting Engineer

Hobby: Roller skating, Roller skating, Kayaking, Flying, Graffiti, Ghost hunting, scrapbook

Introduction: My name is Tish Haag, I am a excited, delightful, curious, beautiful, agreeable, enchanting, fancy person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.