Snaking and eating on the go can be challenging when you live with an inflammatory bowel condition like Crohn’s disease. While you don’t always have what you need on you, you’re often scared of trying new foods that may cause pain.
Each individual living with IBDs has his or her own particular tastes and food tolerances. Whether you're craving sweet or salty, we’ve gathered here 10 Crohn’s snack ideas that work well for most people.
1. Hard-boiled eggs: the simplest IBD snack for travels
Crohn’s disease patients commonly find eggs to be a well-tolerated source of protein. They’re low-fat and have close to zero carbs making them one of the favorite snacks for people with diabetes too. Eggs also make a powerful source of energy and are quite filling.
Hard-boiled eggs are convenient snacks to pack on your adventure. They're healthy, and nutritious, and may help you satisfy a sudden hunger without causing an IBD flare.
Related article: 10 Useful Tips for Traveling with Crohn’s Disease and IBD
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2. Peanut butter toasts: a Crohn’s-friendly snack with healthy fats
People with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory bowel diseases are generally advised to get their dietary fat intake from heart-healthy unsaturated fats such as fish, nuts, avocado, seeds, or olive oil for example.
Peanut butter toasts make a good snack idea for people with IBD. But make sure you’re using low-fiber bread that fits within a low-residue diet. Low-fiber white bread is usually better tolerated by people with Crohn's disease, especially when the symptoms are at their worst. Any natural nut butter will do including peanut butter, almond butter, cashew butter, and others.
3. Turkey rolls: a protein home snack for bowel inflammation
If you’re at home and need to kill a sudden hunger before your next meal, make yourself some turkey rolls! Spread a tasty condiment on a slice of your favorite lunchmeat and top it with Crohn’s-friendly veggies like lettuce, baby spinach, or cooked asparagus for example. Roll it and enjoy!
Inflammation caused by Crohn's disease and other types of IBDs increases the body's need for proteins, so high-protein meat snacks are totally fine.
4. Rice Crackers: a universal snack for people with Crohn’s disease
Rice is one of the most tolerated sources of carbohydrates for people with Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. It's even one of the rare "universal IBD-friendly foods" most people find not to cause inflammation. But make sure to choose low-fiber white rice. Avoid brown rice and other kinds of wild rice that contain more fibers and may not be suited for your condition.
You can create any kind of snack recipe with rice. Rice cakes, rice crackers, rice pudding, etc. If you need a little extra taste, why not top rice crackers with Crohn's disease-friendly ingredients like guacamole, peanut butter, tuna fish, or hummus.
5. Bananas: the best Crohn’s Disease fruit snack for outdoor adventurers
Fresh and raw fruits are loaded with fibers. Despite their high nutritional value, most people with Crohn's disease have no choice but to eliminate them from their diet. Raw fruits are known to aggravate symptoms during a flare and often cause diarrhea.
Bananas make the exception in most cases. They’re one of the rare fruits people with Crohn’s disease and IBDs report as easily digestible. And they’re just great for travels and outdoor adventures as you just pop one or two in your bag and go. Banana smoothies are a great alternative.
6. Apple sauce: a safe food to eat after a flare-up
While raw fruits are not recommended for people with inflammatory bowel conditions, cooked fruits without peel are fine most of the time. Apple sauce is easy to digest and is a safe food to have after a flare-up. On the nutritional level, it’s packed with nutrients including potassium and vitamin C.
If you’re at home, cooking your own apple sauce is the healthiest thing you can do. For travelers, workers, and adventurers, apple sauce pouches are super convenient, and you can find them in literally any store!
7. Snack bars: ideal Crohn’s disease snack idea for sports
There’s no universal Crohn’s disease diet that works for everyone. Trigger foods aren't the same for every patient, and you need to identify the foods that do good to you and the ones that tend to trigger the symptoms.
While snack bars are fine for many IBD patients, they may not be for you. But be choosy! There are hundreds of nutritious bars on the market and they’re not all Crohn’s friendly. Prefer gluten-free, dairy-free snack bars, as well as the ones made with crispy rice or oats. Some brands even make special bars for people with gastrointestinal conditions.
8. Avocado and hummus spreads: superfood Crohn’s snack options
Avocado is known as one of the best superfoods for people with Crohn's disease and other IBDs. It's loaded with healthy unsaturated fats and numerous nutrients like potassium, magnesium, vitamin C, and vitamin E. They're one of the few fruits that are easy to digest and tolerate. Besides, avocados are super versatile, and you can have them in many ways: pure, spread, guacamole, smoothie, etc.
Hummus is another great snack idea recommended by the Crohn’s Colitis Foundation itself. This chickpea spread is highly nutritious and generally well-tolerated by people with IBDs. Just make sure you choose the right crackers under your spreads. If you're going through a flare, avoid high-fiber bread and prefer options like melba toasts, rice crackers, or plain pretzels for example.
9. Dark chocolate: great food for IBD's sweet tooth!
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, you’ll be delighted to know that dark chocolate is a good snack choice for people with Crohn’s disease. Flavonoids are natural components found in cacao that are proven to help improve gut health.
While it does not mean you should eat a big chocolate bar at once, incorporating reasonable quantities of dark chocolate into a nutritionally balanced diet may be beneficial for people with IBDs. But stay away from milk chocolate and dark chocolate with too much added sugar! Added sugar is known to cause bowel inflammation.
10. Yogurt: a probiotic snack to eat during a flare-up
Yogurt has long been controversial among Crohn’s disease and IBD patients and health professionals. But research has now found that probiotics found in live-culture yogurt may help decrease Crohn’s symptoms. It can help recover from a flare-up.
In some cases, people with IBD may suffer from associated lactose intolerance. In that case, make sure you're choosing lactose-free, dairy-free yogurts.
11. Canned fish: an anti-inflammatory Crohn’s snack
Oily fish such as salmon, tuna, herring, sardines, kippers, eels, mackerel, and others may help with some Crohn's disease symptoms. Indeed, this type of fish contains high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids known to have anti-inflammatory properties. It may help reduce the pain and symptoms during a Crohn's disease flare-up. Although scientific research hasn't backed up that conclusion, eating oily fish is a healthy choice and can't hurt.
Besides, canned fish makes a great healthy protein snack idea as it's easy to travel with and just eat on the go.
We hope you’ve found great snack ideas here! We’d be happy to hear about your favorite snacks for Crohn’s disease. Please share your recipes below!