13 Best Foods for Crohn’s Disease

What to eat if you have Crohn’s

If you’ve got inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), you need to make calories count.

Certain foods won’t speed gut healing, but there are plenty that can help you stay well-nourished without aggravating symptoms, says Tracie Dalessandro, RD, a nutritionist based in Briarcliff Manor, NY, who also has Crohn’s disease.

Here are 13 foods that should be easy on your digestion. However, the right Crohn’s diet is highly individual—so use trial and error to see what works for you.

1 Almond milk

Many people with Crohn’s are lactose intolerant. Luckily, there’s a great dairy alternative: almond milk, which is made from ground-up almonds and can be fortified to contain as much calcium as regular milk (check the label).

Almond milk also has vitamin D and E, but contains no cholesterol or saturated fat, and fewer calories than cow’s milk. Many varieties contain added sweetener; choosing an unsweetened product cuts about 20 calories per serving.

2 Eggs

Scrambled, hard-boiled, soft-cooked—any way you prepare them, eggs are an inexpensive source of easily digested protein.

Make sure you’ve always got some in the fridge.

Eggs and toast are a standby for Marge McDonald, 46, during a flare up, along with potatoes and egg noodles. “Anything non-greasy,” says McDonald, who directs the Burlington Senior Center in Massachusetts and has ulcerative colitis. “Honestly when I’m flaring I just end up eating carbs.”

3 Oatmeal

This comfort food is a great choice if you have Crohn’s. “Oatmeal is even OK when I’m flaring, if I’m not flaring too badly,” McDonald says.

Insoluble fiber—the kind in raw veggies, fruits, and nuts—draws water into the colon and can worsen diarrhea for those with IBD. But oatmeal has soluble fiber, which absorbs water and passes more slowly through your digestive tract, says Dalessandro, who is also a nutritional advisor to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America.

“If you have very soft-cooked oatmeal, that’s a great breakfast,” she says.

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