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7-Day Meal Plan For Ulcerative Colitis

Published on
Updated on
7-Day Meal Plan For Ulcerative Colitis

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Inflammatory bowel disease includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • Optimizing food intake can help reduce inflammation and improve ulcerative colitis.
  • If you want support, meet with a dietitian for individualized meal planning.

Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is used to describe two conditions—Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

A key feature is chronic gastrointestinal (GI) tract inflammation, which can damage the gut overtime. 

Crohn’s disease can affect any part of the GI tract but typically starts in the small intestine.

Ulcerative colitis is contained in the large intestine and rectum.

Common symptoms include diarrhea, stomach pain, bloody stools, weight loss, and fatigue.

When a person with IBD has a flare-up, their nutrition intake sharply declines.

Unfortunately, the cause is unknown, but genetics and an overactive immune system lead to inflammation of the GI tract. 

Treatment involves medicines, surgical treatment for inflamed portions of the GI tract, and optimizing nutrition intake. 

Following a modified Mediterranean Diet (an anti-inflammatory diet) has shown the most promising results for people with ulcerative colitis.

This eating style helps reduce inflammation in the body. 

Try this delicious seven-day anti-inflammatory meal plan for ulcerative colitis. 

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Dietary Basics for Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis

There is no specific diet that will prevent or treat IBD.

However, there are eating patterns that help to reduce inflammation and flare-ups while optimizing nutrition. 

During a Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis flare-up, most people don’t eat enough due to pain and diarrhea.

Frequent or prolonged flare-ups can lead to nutrient deficiencies and malnutrition. 

The main goals for managing IBD are to resolve flare-ups quickly and then to prevent flare-ups and IBD symptoms. 

During a flare-up, a low-fiber diet and small, frequent meals and nutrition shakes are often recommended. 

Research shows you don’t need to avoid certain foods and maintain a low-fiber diet after resolving a flare-up. 

In fact, the high-fiber Mediterranean Diet is recommended with a slight modification.

Individuals should choose fruits and vegetables with more soluble fiber than insoluble fiber or cooked forms.

Soluble fiber dissolves in water, slows how fast food moves through the intestines, and helps reduce diarrhea. 

Examples include:

  • Beets.
  • Potatoes.
  • Carrots.
  • Zucchini.
  • Boiled and blended broccoli and peppers.
  • Bananas.
  • Apples.
  • Applesauce.
  • Avocado.
  • Legumes (beans and lentils).
  • Freshly squeezed vegetable and fruit juices.

However, some people find certain foods problematic. If you find a triggering food, avoid it. 

Day 1

Breakfast 

Microwaved old-fashioned oats with lactose-free milk (or a low-fat dairy alternative), cinnamon, and topped with cooked diced apples.

Lunch 

Baked chicken seasoned with your favorite spices.

Serve with roasted carrots drizzled with olive oil and steamed rice. 

Dinner 

Baked salmon seasoned with lemon juice, garlic, and pepper.

Serve with peeled and baked summer squash and green beans seasoned with olive oil, garlic, and pepper. 

Snacks 

Small tuna packet and peaches canned in water or juice; applesauce and hard-boiled egg.

Day 2

Breakfast

Plain lactose-free, nonfat Greek yogurt topped with melted creamy nut butter.

Fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juice (use favorites).  

Lunch 

Leftover cooked salmon served cold. Reheat sweet potatoes and green beans. 

Dinner  

Harvest soup made with pureed, roasted red peppers, sweet potatoes, apples and carrots.

Served with toasted bread and baked chicken. 

Snacks 

Hard-boiled egg with pears canned in juice or water; raspberries and lactose-free plain yogurt.

Day 3

Breakfast 

Sweet potato toast topped with scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese. Add a banana. 

Lunch 

Tuna salad made with lactose-free, nonfat Greek yogurt and hard-boiled egg served on whole grain crackers or bread.

Add applesauce sprinkled with cinnamon. 

Dinner  

Salmon cakes served with mashed potatoes and roasted carrots.

Use olive oil for salmon cakes and carrots. 

Snacks 

Overnight chia pudding with almond milk and cinnamon; banana with warmed peanut butter. 

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Day 4

Breakfast 

Smoothie made with lactose-free milk or a dairy alternative like almond milk.

Add a medium banana, two tablespoons of peanut or almond butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, and ground flax seed.

Lunch 

Quinoa salad made from pre-cooked and cooled quinoa.

Add chopped cucumbers, tomatoes, bell pepper, feta cheese, and olives.

Make a dressing with olive oil, lemon juice, basil, salt, and pepper. Add cooked chicken for additional protein. 

Dinner 

Three-bean chili made with black beans, red kidney beans, pinto beans, diced tomatoes, garlic, and tomato paste.

Serve with homemade cornbread. 

Snacks 

Hummus and crackers; walnuts and pear applesauce.

Day 5

Breakfast 

Bean-based muffins: use navy beans added to a banana muffin recipe.

Pair with scrambled eggs and fresh squeezed fruit and vegetable juice. 

Lunch 

Leftover three-bean chili served over a small baked potato.

Top with shredded cheddar cheese if there are no lactose intolerance issues. 

Dinner 

Baked cod, flounder, or salmon served with rice and cooked vegetables (green beans or zucchini).

Season with olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.

Snacks 

 Plain lactose-free nonfat yogurt; hard-boiled egg and crackers. 

Day 6

Breakfast  

Energy bites pre-made with old-fashioned oats, chia seeds, peanut butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, pure maple syrup, and a sprinkling of mini dark chocolate chips.

Pair with your choice of fruit (small banana or raspberries). 

Lunch 

Green smoothie made with avocado, lactose-free milk (or dairy alternative), frozen banana, ground flaxseed, cannellini, or navy beans. 

Be careful adding spinach or kale as they are high in insoluble fiber.

Some individuals can tolerate small amounts when their IBD is well-managed. 

Prepare ahead of time in an ice cube tray.

Then, pop the desired amount of cubes in a cup with a lid.

Once thawed in the refrigerator, you can shake it up to blend before drinking. 

Dinner 

One-pot slow cooker chicken served with slow-cooked carrots and potatoes.

Seasoned with oregano, black pepper, salt, and parsley. 

Snacks 

Baked apples and energy bites; Colby cheese and crackers.

Day 7

Breakfast  

Microwaved old-fashioned oats with lactose-free milk (or dairy alternative), ground flax seed, cinnamon, chopped walnuts, and cooked apples. 

Lunch 

Grown-up charcuterie board: water-packed tuna, hummus, crackers, black and green olives.

Add pears or peaches canned in water or fruit juice. 

Dinner 

Mashed potato bowls topped with tender slow-cooked chicken or turkey (use leftover chicken from the night before).

Serve with cooked garlic, green beans, and baked pears.

Snacks 

Popsicles made from smoothie leftovers; peanut butter mixed into unsweetened Greek yogurt topped with a few dark chocolate chips (if tolerated) 

Inflammatory vs. Anti-inflammatory Foods

Research continues to support that the components of the Mediterranean diet are anti-inflammatory.

These components are fruits, vegetables, legumes, olive oil, fermented, low-lactose dairy products, omega-3 fat foods like salmon and tuna, and spices like oregano, cinnamon, and turmeric. 

The exclusion of inflammatory foods on a Mediterranean diet, like processed meat and red meat, alcohol, processed items, and sugary foods, also helps to reduce inflammation. 

Research from 2021, on 142 IBD patients eating a Mediterranean diet for six months, shows reduced inflammatory markers and less active disease. 

For patients with ulcerative colitis, inflammation was reduced by 12.5%, and 6.8% of participants had active disease compared to 23.7% before starting the anti-inflammatory diet.  

For patients with Crohn’s disease, inflammation was reduced by 18.4%, and 3% of participants had active disease compared to 17.6% before starting the anti-inflammatory diet.

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Foods to Avoid with Ulcerative Colitis

With ulcerative colitis, some foods are associated with increased inflammation and flare-ups

Avoid inflammatory foods like:

  • Processed meat (bacon, sausage, hot dogs).
  • Red, fatty meat.
  • Excess alcohol.
  • Processed foods low in vitamins and minerals (frozen dinners, chips, candies, etc.)
  • High-sugar foods and beverages. 

Some individuals with ulcerative colitis experience symptoms when eating too much insoluble fiber (fiber that doesn’t digest well or dissolve in water). 

Examples of foods with insoluble fiber include raw leafy greens, raw vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, and raw fruits.

During a flare-up, high-fiber foods of any type can cause pain as the body digests them.

Research shows no need to avoid certain foods and maintain a low-fiber diet after resolving a flare-up. 

Food Preparation and Planning

In general, reducing insoluble fiber intake and choosing to cook insoluble fiber-rich foods can help prevent any ulcerative colitis side effects. 

Cooked vegetables and fruits can be easier for your body to digest. 

Canned vegetables and fruits are already cooked and often peeled. 

The skins contain more insoluble fiber, and peeling fruits and vegetables reduces the amount of insoluble fiber. 

Research indicates the size and coarseness of insoluble fiber can irritate the intestine and increase stool output (cause diarrhea).

When insoluble fiber is ground into smaller pieces, it doesn’t cause this problem. 

Consider chopping foods rich in insoluble fiber into small pieces and incorporating them into smoothies or soups for better tolerance and to obtain more nutrient-rich foods. 

Takeaways

This 7-day meal plan for ulcerative colitis can help you plan delicious meals with confidence.

An ulcerative colitis meal plan increases anti-inflammatory foods like vegetables, fruits, and beans and reduces inflammatory foods. 

Consider adding insoluble fiber foods in small amounts, and cooking, peeling, or chopping them to reduce digestion side effects. 

Meeting with an ulcerative colitis dietitian for individualized care can help you manage IBD.

You can find a dietitian near you through Nourish.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a good meal for someone with ulcerative colitis?

Choose an omega-3-rich protein like salmon and pair it with cooked vegetables and grains like carrots, potatoes, and rice.

Can you eat spaghetti with ulcerative colitis?

Spaghetti noodles are generally well-tolerated for people with ulcerative colitis.

Cooking and pureeing the vegetables used in the sauce can make them easier to digest.

What can you eat for breakfast when you have colitis?

Good breakfast options for colitis include fermented, unsweetened dairy products like yogurt and kefir, smoothies, hard-boiled or scrambled eggs, and cooked oatmeal.

References

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