What Can You Eat When Preparing for a Colonoscopy?

Close-up of a young woman with bowl of soup
A woman eats a bowl of soup with clear broth. (Image: George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

A colonoscopy is a medical procedure that allows a doctor to view the inner lining of the rectum and colon. The doctor uses a colonoscope, a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end, to take pictures or video of the colon. A successful colonoscopy requires that the patient's colon be completely cleaned out in advance. To accomplish this, follow a special diet beginning three to four days before the colonoscopy.

Easily Digestible Foods

Patients should focus on eating only easily digested foods three to four days before their colonoscopy, explains the Colon Cancer Resource website. Such choices include skinless chicken, skinless potatoes, cheese, eggs, steamed white fish and clear soups.

Avoid eating fatty foods such as red meat, and you should not consume foods high in fiber in the days leading up to your colonoscopy since this could increase activity in your colon, reducing your doctor’s visibility. High fiber foods may include certain vegetables, nuts, fruit, whole-grain pasta, cereals, bran and seeds.

Colored Foods

Red, orange or purple beverages may leave a colored residue on the walls of the colon, and this residue may look like blood in the colonoscopy video, so these beverages should be avoided for two days before the test. As well, you should not consume dark-colored gelatin since this could have the same effect.

Clear Liquids

According to the Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide, consume only clear liquids starting the day before the colonoscopy procedure and continuing until six to eight hours before the procedure. Clear liquids are those that are transparent at room temperature, including broths, apple juice, clear soft drinks, tea and coffee, without added milk or creamer.

Day Before Procedure Sample Menu

The John Hopkins Health Alerts lists specific clear liquid food items and amounts that a patient may have the day before a colonoscopy. Breakfast might include 8 ounces of apple juice, 1 cup of gelatin and 1 cup of coffee with sugar. For lunch, have 1 cup of chicken consommé, 8 ounces of ginger ale, 1 cup of fruit ice and hot tea with sugar. An afternoon snack may consist of one or two hard candies that do not contain chocolate or dark food dyes. A sample dinner might include 1 cup of beef broth, 8 ounces of lemonade, 1 cup of lemon gelatin and hot tea with sugar and lemon.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Load comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.