What Foods Work for People with IBD?
Finding what foods work for each person living with IBD – whether that’s categorized as the two most common types of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or another form – varies entirely from case to case. It is always best to discuss trying new diets or foods you’ve noticed cause flare-ups with your doctor. In general, doctors recommend a healthy, unprocessed diet. During flare-ups, try to avoid foods that are high in fats, oils, and insoluble fiber, like whole grains, nuts, and cruciferous veggies.
Our Favorite IBD-Friendly Thanksgiving Recipes
Traditional Thanksgiving recipes can commonly be heavy in cheese, butter, cream, and processed foods. Fortunately for those living with IBD, there’s a plethora of recipes that are cleaned-up versions of the traditional favorites or new options that are delicious without the worry.
Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut squash soup is a great Thanksgiving Day appetizer that is a crowd pleaser and lends itself to plenty of leftovers. We’re fans of this Smoked Butternut Squash Soup by Vindulge, but if you don’t have access to a smoker, the squash can easily be roasted in the oven. Play with the optional toppings of bacon, fried sage, and sour cream to what best works for you.
Easy Roast Turkey
Turkey is a great lean protein that’s typically well-tolerated by people living with IBD. If you’re working with a smaller oven and smaller group size this year, make the cooking process easier on yourself by choosing a smaller bird and spatchcocking the turkey – cutting it open along the backbone so it cooks more evenly.
Glazed carrots are a great side dish for people with IBD – just be sure to cook them fully so they are extremely tender and lose their crunch. We love this simple recipe from the Food Network.
Gluten-free stuffing is a delicious alternative to traditional stuffing. You could easily ‘clean-up’ a version of your favorite traditional recipe by using gluten-free bread rather than standard white bread and working to replace any other ingredients that you’d prefer to avoid – or try out this grain-free version by Against All Grain. We’re particularly partial to this vegan Cauliflower, Apple, Sage, and Pecan version by LL Balanced that is completely free of grains, dairy, and sugar. She recommends making it the day before Thanksgiving, bringing it to room temperature, and then heating at 300 until warmed through.
Baked Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are nutrient-dense and mash very well. However, instead of adding high-fat dairy like butter, heavy cream, or cream cheese to create a standard mash, try baking sweet potatoes, then serving them inside their skins with coconut oil (optional) and spices such as cinnamon, cumin, chili powder, or pumpkin pie spice. You could also whip the cooked interior with aromatics like green onion, parsley, garlic, and a bit of olive oil for taste.
Some people with IBD opt for apple pie rather than dairy-heavy pumpkin – just make sure to omit the whipped cream! If you would rather skip the carbs or fiber from the pie crust, opt for baked apples. After they come out of the oven, drizzle them with maple syrup and cinnamon for some added sweetness. To keep your GI tract happy, cut the apple open and eat the interior while avoiding the fiber-rich skin.
Staying Healthy at Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is about more than just food. A great way to help yourself avoid stressing about food is to plan a few other fun activities away from the table or the kitchen. Organize a trivia tournament over Zoom, or have friends in your bubble over for an outdoor game of corn hole or lawn bowling. Above all, enjoy the day and reflect on all the things you’re thankful for!