Before a colonoscopy procedure, your doctor may recommend a low-residue diet. A low-residue diet limits the amount of fiber and other foods that increase bowel activity. This diet should only be performed under the supervision of your health-care provider. Consult a registered dietitian for a full list of low-residue foods and other nutritional guidelines for your condition.
Consuming low-residue foods will slow down bowel movements by reducing the size and frequency of stool. This will make it easier to examine your colon during the colonoscopy. In addition, low-residue foods may also help reduce diarrhea and abdominal cramping. Your health-care provider may recommend this diet approximately one week before your colonoscopy. A low-residue diet should only be followed for a short period of time unless recommended otherwise by your doctor. After surgery, a registered dietitian can help you plan meals specifically for your condition and lifestyle.
High-protein foods such as milk, meats, poultry, fish and eggs may be consumed with certain exceptions. Choose low-fat milk products such as milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, pudding, ice cream and cream-based soups. Avoid any products that include nuts and seeds. You may consume up to two servings daily of milk and dairy products, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Meat products may be consumed only if they're well-cooked, soft and tender. This includes tender pork, ham, beef, lamb, poultry, fish and tofu products. Avoid tough meats, deli meats, peanut butter, nuts and all dried beans. Consume two to three servings daily of high-protein foods.
Breads, Cereals and Starches
Consume low-fiber breads, cereals and rice products such as enriched white bread, white rice, plain crackers and cold cereals. Avoid high-fiber grains such as whole wheat, oatmeal, bran cereals, brown rice and popcorn. Consume six to 11 servings of grains daily.
Fruits and Vegetables
In general, fruits and vegetables that are well-cooked and without coarse skins and seeds may be consumed. Examples include ripe bananas, apricots, watermelon, plums, spinach, eggplant and carrots. Canned products such as applesauce, peaches, beets and green beans may also be consumed. Avoid all dried and raw fruits and vegetables with seeds. This particularly includes berries and raisins. Consume at least five servings of various fruits and vegetables daily.
Fats, Snacks and Oils
All smooth condiments, oils and other dressings are acceptable in a low-residue diet. This includes, butter, margarine, vegetable oils, whipped cream and mayonnaise. Desserts and sweets such as cakes, cookies, pies and candies are also acceptable but should not contain fruits, nuts or coconut. Consume lighter snacks, such as gelatin, ice popsicles, pudding or white crackers. Spices, seasonings and pepper should be limited on a low-residue diet.