Diet and Nutrition

Cooking Tips for a Crohn's Diet

Cooking Tips for a Crohn's Diet

Key Takeaways

  • While there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, there are specific foods that may trigger flare-ups or even worsen your symptoms.
  • The foods that trigger your symptoms differ from those of another individual with Crohn’s disease. For this reason, it is imperative that you identify particular foods that aggravate your symptoms and minimize their intake.
  • When you are experiencing severe symptoms, speak with a registered dietitian about a recommended diet plan based on your individual case.

If you are suffering from Crohn’s disease, then you are aware that inflammation of your small intestine can make it more difficult for you to digest and absorb the proper nutrients you require. While there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, there are specific foods that may trigger flare-ups or even worsen your symptoms. Such foods include milk, dairy foods, fatty foods, spicy foods, high-fiber foods, and alcohol.

You also may have read on the internet several diets for Crohn’s disease. However, there is no scientific evidence to prove a diet that best alleviates the symptoms relating to inflammatory bowel disease. The foods that trigger your symptoms differ from those of another individual with Crohn’s disease. For this reason, it is imperative that you identify particular foods that aggravate your symptoms and minimize their intake.

Once you have identified your “trigger foods”, you can begin to learn new ways to prepare your meals so that your diet is more tolerable. To do so, you will need to begin experimenting with various foods such as meat, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and whole grains, among others--so that you can see what works best for you. For instance, if you find that a certain vegetable triggers your symptoms, perhaps instead of giving it up entirely, you could find new ways to eat it such as by boiling or steaming it.

Eating healthy foods on a regular basis can be of great benefit to your well-being. Moreover, creating a diet plan can ensure that your body receives the nutrients, calories, and proteins it requires.

If you are tired of eating the same foods and you want to spice up your meals, consider following a few of the below-listed recipes and cooking tips:

1. Tomato and Basil Sandwich

Tomato and basil sandwiches are a great example of an easy-to-make and healthy snack that will satisfy your taste buds. Each slice is around 75 calories and rich in protein.

  • Take 4 pieces of bread and spread each slice with 2 teaspoons of mayonnaise. Top each slice of bread with one tomato slice and 1 basil leaf. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper.

2. Light Tuna Salad

If you are considering eating a light lunch or dinner, a tuna salad may be exactly what you crave. This particular salad offers plenty of protein and it only takes about 10 minutes to make.

  • Take 1/3 cup of tuna (packed in water) and drain the water. Mix 3 shredded carrots, ¼ cup of chopped celery, and 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise and add the ingredients in a bowl. Proceed to add in the tuna and top off the salad with one green lettuce leaf.

3. Lemon Pepper Chicken

Lemon offers a great zest for any food and when drizzled on plain chicken, it brings out a delicious savory flavor. Lemon pepper chicken is a great low-fat dinner to make and it only takes about 30 minutes to prepare and cook all together.

  • Marinate about 1 pound of chicken breasts with 4 cups of lemon-herb peppercorn mix. Broil the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes at 165 degrees Fahrenheit or 74 degrees Celsius or grill the chicken for 15 to 20 minutes at the same temperature--the choice is yours. Serve with a few lemon wedges.

4. Strawberry and Banana Soy Smoothie

A great substitution for dairy products such as milk is low-fat vanilla soy milk. Topped with a few fruits such as strawberries and bananas, it makes for a refreshing breakfast or snack.

  • Combine in a blender: 2 cups of fresh strawberries, 1 medium banana, 1 ½ cups of low-fat vanilla soy milk, 1 ½ tablespoon of honey, and ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract. Top off the smoothie with a fat-free whipped cream (optional).

5. Linguine with Clams

Crohn’s disease causes inflammation of your small intestine, which is typically where vitamin B12 is absorbed. For this reason, eating foods rich in vitamin B12, such as linguine with clams, is a great way to absorb the nutrients you are lacking. Plus, it is super tasty and juicy.

  • Take ½ pound of linguine pasta and cook it according to the package instructions. While the pasta cooks, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and add in 2 cloves of garlic and ¼ teaspoon of red pepper. Sauté for about 1 minute and then add in 1/3 cup of dry white wine, 1/3 cup of fat-free chicken broth and approximately 2 pounds of canned baby clams (undrained). Cook for about 5 minutes and once the pasta is ready, toss it in, and mix together.

6. Salmon Fillets

Diet plans for Crohn’s disease typically include protein from meat, poultry, and fish sources. Oven-cooked salmon fillets are a great meal, not to mention low in fat and rich in protein.

  • Cut up 1 pound of salmon into 4 fillets. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of dry white wine over the salmon fillets, as well as a drizzle of salt and pepper. Place the salmon in a pan and bake in an oven for 15-30 minutes. Serve with a few lemon wedges.

7. Vegetable Wrap

A vegetable wrap is a Crohn's friendly lunch that is both rich and creamy. It is easy to prepare and makes for a great lunch on the go.

  • Spread 1 tablespoon of hummus on 1 pita bread or wrap. Proceed to add 1 leaf of lettuce, 1 cooked sweet potato, ½ medium tomato, 1 chopped and cooked beet, 1 ounce of low-fat feta cheese, and ¼ cup of basil leaves. Roll up the wrap and enjoy.

Now that you have 7 meals for each day of the week, get cooking. Experiment and come up with new mouthwatering recipes. If any of the above ingredients propose a problem for you, get creative and consider a few substitutions. Moreover:

  1. Cook vegetables in different ways. You can bake, boil, or roast them (cooked vegetables are easier to break down and digest).
  2. Use low-fat cooking methods such as baking, instead of frying.
  3. Try to avoid red meat, dairy products, fatty foods, and gluten.
  4. Consider blending different fruits or vegetables into a smoothie (without pulp) rather than plainly eating them.
  5. Avoid dried fruits.
  6. Do not go hungry. Simply replace one type of food for another (e.g. brown rice for white rice).
  7. Avoid excessive consumption of beverages with caffeine.
  8. Eat 3-4 smaller meals throughout the day as opposed to two heavy meals.
  9. Drink small amounts of water throughout the day.
  10. Keep your meals simple.
  11. If you are lactose intolerant, consider giving almond milk a try.
  12. When your symptoms are at their minimal, include lots of fruits and vegetables, especially cooked carrots in your diet plan.
  13. When you are experiencing severe symptoms, speak with a registered dietitian about a recommended diet plan based on your individual case.
  14. Plan your meals ahead.

If you have any questions or concerns in regards to a Crohn’s diet plan, consult with a registered dietitian and get the answers you seek. Without aggravating your symptoms, you have the opportunity to satisfy your taste buds with a few simple recipes. Just because you are on a diet doesn’t mean that your meals have to be dry and bland.

Even when you may not be in the mood to eat, it is important that you maintain a diet plan that is high in calories and protein. Your body requires proper nutrients and energy to function to its fullest capacity. Keep in mind that proper nutrition is essential to your overall well-being and management of Crohn’s disease.