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7-Day Low-Fiber Diet Menu Examples

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Key Takeaways

  • A low-fiber diet is essential before certain medical procedures and can benefit individuals with certain digestive conditions.
  • The diet focuses on eating foods that are gentle on the digestive tract and limiting potentially irritating or more difficult-to-digest foods. 
  • When following a low-fiber diet, consulting with a healthcare professional or dietitian is important to ensure that you meet your nutritional needs.

A low-fiber diet, sometimes referred to as a low-residue diet, involves avoiding foods high in fiber, such as certain vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. 

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that your body doesn’t digest.

It adds bulk and form to your stool. Avoiding foods high in fiber may ease digestion and help make your stools smaller.

Healthcare professionals may suggest following a low-fiber diet for conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, diverticulitis, and ulcerative colitis.

Doctors often prescribe a low-fiber diet as part of the cleansing preparation before medical procedures like colonoscopies or surgeries on the large intestine. Surgeons may also order a low-fiber diet after abdominal surgery.

Whether you’re navigating a temporary digestive issue or undergoing a medical procedure that requires a low-fiber diet, keep reading for more information and a sample menu.

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Low Fiber Basics: Getting Started

Before getting started, it’s important to understand the fundamentals of the low-fiber diet.

The first step is to familiarize yourself with foods that are high in fiber and should be limited or avoided. 

Read food labels carefully to look for hidden fiber sources and choose foods on the low-fiber list. 

Make a plan for what low-fiber meals and snacks you’d like for a week and stock your kitchen with them to help you stay consistent.

Be sure to keep up with your water consumption, especially if you have loose, watery stools like diarrhea. Drink around eight to ten glasses of water throughout the day or more if you feel thirsty. 

Who Should Eat A Low-Fiber Diet?

A low-fiber diet is typically recommended for individuals who need to reduce their bowel volume and ease their digestive workload. 

If you have a condition such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, or diverticulitis, you may benefit from avoiding foods high in fiber during a flare-up. 

Before having a medical procedure such as a colonoscopy, your doctor may prescribe following a low-residue diet a few days before your procedure.

Eating less fiber reduces stool matter in the digestive system and ensures clear visibility and accurate results. 

Certain cancer treatments irritate the stomach and cause digestive discomfort and diarrhea.

Following a low-fiber diet can help ease distress and the number of bowel movements. 

Before and after certain digestive system surgeries, surgeons ask their patients to follow a low-residue diet to help empty the bowel before surgery and ease its transition back to digesting after surgery. 

What To Eat On A Low-Fiber Diet

While there is currently no standard recommendation on how much you need to limit your fiber, some experts suggest eating less than 10–15 grams of fiber per day.

Along with avoiding high-fiber foods, recommendations include avoiding spicy and highly processed foods, such as deli meats, hot dogs, sausage, and deep-fried foods, as these foods can be tough on digestion.

Vegetables

  • Lettuce (shredded and in small quantities), peeled cucumbers without seeds, zucchini, yellow squash without seeds, spinach, pumpkin, eggplant, skinless potatoes, green beans, wax beans, asparagus, beets, and carrots.

Fruits

  • Fruit juices without pulp, many canned fruits, and fruit sauces.
  • Very ripe: apricots, bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, watermelon, nectarines, papayas, peaches, and plums.

Breads and grains

  • White breads, dry cereals, white pasta, and crackers. 
  • Make sure these foods have less than 2 grams of fiber per serving.

Protein

  • Cooked meat, fish, poultry, eggs, smooth peanut butter, and tofu. 
  • Make sure meat is tender and soft,  and not chewy.

Oils

  • Butter, margarine, oils, mayonnaise, whipped cream, and smooth sauces and dressings.
  • Smooth condiments.

Dairy

  • Yogurt, kefir, cottage cheese, milk, pudding, creamy soup, or hard cheese
  • Angel food cake, animal crackers, custard, gelatin, ginger snaps, graham crackers, saltine crackers, sherbet, sorbet, vanilla wafers, yogurt (plain or vanilla).

Menu for Low-Fiber Diet

Day 1

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with white toast and a small serving of low-fat yogurt.
  • Lunch: Grilled chicken breast with white rice and steamed carrots.
  • Dinner: Baked salmon with mashed potatoes and green beans (well-cooked).
  • Snacks: Low-fiber crackers with cream cheese or a small serving of canned peaches.

Day 2

  • Breakfast: Low-fiber cereal or cream of rice and a side of scrambled eggs.
  • Lunch: Turkey and cheese sandwich on white bread with a side of applesauce.
  • Dinner: Tofu stir-fry with white rice and cooked zucchini.
  • Snacks: Smoothie made with a ripe banana, low-fat milk, and a scoop of protein powder.

Day 3

  • Breakfast: Pancakes made with white flour, topped with maple syrup, and a side of scrambled eggs.
  • Lunch: Tuna salad with canned tuna and mayonnaise served on white bread.
  • Dinner: Roast chicken with mashed potatoes and cooked spinach.
  • Snacks: Low-fiber crackers and cheese with a side of cubed watermelon.

Day 4

  • Breakfast: French toast made with white bread, served with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Lunch: Chicken noodle soup made with white pasta and well-cooked chicken pieces, with a side of ripe nectarines.
  • Dinner: Baked cod with white rice and steamed green beans.
  • Snacks: Rice cakes with a small serving of fruit cocktail (canned in juice).

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Day 5

  • Breakfast: Smoothie made with banana, low-fat yogurt, and a handful of spinach leaves (strained if necessary).
  • Lunch: Grilled cheese sandwich on white bread with a side of tomato soup (strained), and melon slices.
  • Dinner: Pork tenderloin with mashed sweet potatoes and cooked carrots.
  • Snacks: Low-fiber crackers with cottage cheese or a small serving of canned mandarin oranges.

Day 6

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with white toast and a side of sliced banana.
  • Lunch: Ham and cheese wrap made with a white tortilla, served with potato salad.
  • Dinner: Turkey meatballs with white pasta and cooked asparagus.
  • Snacks: Rice pudding.

Day 7

  • Breakfast: Breakfast burrito made with scrambled eggs and cheese in a white tortilla.
  • Lunch: Creamy chicken and rice soup (strained) with a side of white bread.
  • Dinner: Beef pot roast with mashed potatoes and cooked squash.
  • Snacks: Low-fiber crackers with cream cheese or a small serving of canned fruit cocktail.

Tips for Meal Preparation

When starting a low-fiber diet, take some time to plan out your weekly menu to ensure you enjoy your meals while sticking to the dietary restrictions. 

When shopping, get the necessary ingredients for your meals.

Depending on how long you need to be on a low-fiber diet, consider stocking up on low-fiber staples like rice, pasta, potatoes, lean meats, and white bread.

Opt for simple dishes with fewer ingredients to help avoid digestive irritation.

Be sure to stock your kitchen with a good vegetable peeler for easier skin removal. 

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Takeaway

Cutting back on fiber helps reduce the digestive system’s workload and may reduce the number of bowel movements.  

Following a low-fiber diet is important in preparing for certain medical procedures or surgeries.

It can also be beneficial for easing digestive discomfort for conditions such as Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, IBS, or diverticulitis.

By planning your menu ahead of time, you’ll be able to enjoy a diverse array of meals that follow the low-fiber diet guidelines. 

Work with a Dietitian

Consult with a healthcare professional or dietitian for personalized nutrition advice. 

You can find a dietitian who accepts insurance through Nourish.  

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