Fiber is the indigestible part of foods such as vegetables, fruits and grains. You may need to follow a low-fiber diet if you have particular medical conditions, such as diarrhea, abdominal cramps, intestinal inflammation or inflammatory bowel disease, or when you are recovering from bowel surgery. A diet low in fiber limits the amount of undigested food traveling through your intestines, makes your stools smaller and reduces bowel irritation. A carefully planned low-fiber diet provides most nutrients required for good health, says the Ohio State University Medical Center.
Thoroughly cooked fresh or tinned vegetables are appropriate on a lower-fiber diet provided they contain no skins, stems or seeds. Choose from vegetables such as sweet or white potatoes, carrots, peppers and string beans. Pureed vegetables and vegetable juices are also allowed. Avoid eating raw vegetables, corn, peas, broccoli, greens, cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and onions, says the American Cancer Society.
You can eat most tinned or cooked fruits on a low-fiber diet as long as they do not contain seeds, skins or membranes. Skinless raw fruit with no membranes or seeds and fruit juice without pulp are also permissible. Avoid dried fruits, oranges and grapefruit. Have no more than one or two 1/2-cup servings of fruits and vegetables daily while following a low-fiber diet, advises the Mayo Clinic.
Bread, Cereals and Grains
White rice and white pasta, along with bread, pancakes, crackers and waffles made with refined white flour, can be included in a low-fiber diet. Ensure grain foods contain less than 2 g of dietary fiber per serving. Choose from cooked cereals such as cream of rice and strained oatmeal, and select dry cereals like puffed rice and cornflakes. Avoid foods made with whole grains, bran, brown rice and wild rice, says the Ohio State University Medical Center.
Meat, Poultry and Fish
Tender cuts of meat such as beef, pork and lamb are acceptable on a low-fiber diet, along with ground meat, poultry and fish. Avoid processed meats, spiced or smoked meat, sausage, shellfish, fried meat, fried fish, tough meat and meat with gristle, advises the Ohio State University Medical Center.
Eggs and Dairy
Eggs can be eaten on a low-fiber diet as long as they are not fried. Dairy options include low-fat or fat-free milk, cream cheese, cottage cheese, mild American cheese, yogurt and ice cream. The Ohio State University Medical Center recommends avoiding yogurt or ice cream that contains berries, dried fruits or nuts.
A diet low in fiber results in the formation of smaller stools and fewer bowel movements, which may cause constipation. Unless advised differently, drink lots of water to help prevent constipation.