Low residue diet

What Is A Low Residue Diet? So for those of you facing stoma surgery you may have heard this. You may not have heard this. So what is a low residue diet? A low residue diet is something that needs to be followed for roughly up to 6-8 weeks after stoma formation (mainly ileostomy formation). The reason being is that your insides have been played around with and your bowel now in its stoma formation needs time to rest and heal as it can be swollen and needs time to adapt to not using your large bowel as a form of exit.

What Is A Low Residue Diet?

A low residue diet is where you have to avoid things that are high in fibre such as:

“whole-grain breads and cereals, nuts, seeds, raw or dried fruits, and vegetables”.

“Residue” is undigested food, including fibre, that makes up stool. The goal of the diet is to have fewer, smaller bowel movements each day. That will ease symptoms like diarrhoea, bloating, gas, and stomach cramping.

Now with an ileostomy this may seem like a stupid notion as it is not a normal movement but trust me when I say this will aide your recovery and by following this for a recommended time period will help you with your recovery and getting your stoma output under control.

Why do I follow the low residue diet after the operation?

I follow this diet every time I have bowel surgery purely because I know that it is very successful for me and my recovery. Having had that amount of bowel surgery. I am very well versed in the diet and how it aids the bowel healing and also helps me immensely with stoma output and it getting to the consistency it needs to be for discharge from hospital.

When they say you can eat anything after the surgery please proceed with “CAUTION”. We can’t just eat anything after surgery as certain foods can lead to a blockage and that immediately after stoma formation is a pain that nobody wants to experience.

Now the leaflet they give you is pretty much useless apart from the list of food groups it mentions. Now I did my research for months prior to having my surgery and apart from Pinterest there are no recipe guides on how to use these food groups. Just a list of can eat/can’t eat.

So what can you eat post operation?

So I’ve compiled a list of things to eat whilst getting through the first six weeks. This is just a guide and I would advise to eat what you wish to within reason.


  • Marshmallows are good for binding the output from your stoma
  • Jelly-aim for no added sugar as sucrose (artificial sweetener) upsets the stoma and can cause dumping(where the stoma goes into overdrive and chucks out all fluids)
  • Ready salted crisps, Squares, Hula hoops and tortilla chips
  • Smooth yoghurt (no bits in it)
  • Shortbread
  • Rich tea biscuits
  • Digestive Biscuits
  • Lentil crisps


  • Scrambled eggs, poached eggs or dippy eggs
  • Porridge
  • Cornflakes, rice crispies, frosties, so anything that doesn’t have bits in it
  • Toast
  • Jam as long as its smooth and doesn’t have skins
  • Chocolate spread
  • Marmite – dependent on if your a love or hate it person


  • Rice noodles
  • Long grain white rice ( the microwave sachets always better as can guarantee it’s cooked through)
  • Pasta
  • Turkey mince (as long as you season and add parmesan cheese). I make this into meatballs and turkey burgers
  • Chicken- roasted, poached, grilled and fried
  • Turkey ham
  • Omelettes – You can pretty much add what you like as long as it’s within what you can eat
  • Potatoes – Mashed, boiled & Jacket potato ( no skins) – Roasted potatoes
  • Beef- You have to make sure you chew extremely well as this is quite difficult to digest- I myself am not very good with red meat in large quantity’s as it makes me sick
  • Pork- this is also another difficult to digest meat, so chewing well is essential
  • Fish- Any fish is fine as long as its de-skinned and boned, the only problem with this is it makes the stoma output have an odour
  • Lamb- also another meat that needs to be well chewed
  • Pies, Just check the ingredients
  • Wraps
  • Soups- All smooth and blended down soups are good for your post op diet
  • Sandwiches


  • Green beans – Boiled for a while so they are soft
  • Carrots- Only cooked ones – Boil for 25 minutes so they are really soft
  • Suede- mashed
  • Any root vegetable you can eat as long as its de-skinned and boiled for a long time.
  • Sweet potato – mashed or oven cooked, no skins


  • Over ripe Apples- Minus the skins
  • Overripe pears – Minus the skins
  • Melon, but you have to check your medications as sometimes it’s advised to not eat this as it can react with the medication itself
  • Fruit smoothies as long as it’s all de-skinned and has no seeds


  • Cucumber- no skin allowed
  • Tomatoes – Skin and seeds removed, A good way to do this is to oven cook them in tin foil, the skin easily peels off and the seed removal is easy. then you can mash or chop the pulp
  • Lettuce- chew well its fine
  • Spinach – chew well


  • Garlic- Use sparingly as it makes the stoma contents rather garlic smelling
  • Dry herbs- All those little seasoning jars, buy them because they are an easy way to add taste and flavour to your food and means you won’t be stuck eating bland food or going for the bad options of trying something tasty that’s going to hurt your stoma
  • Fresh herbs – chopped well they are fine


All cheese is good, I mainly only eat goats cheese as normal cheese gives me indigestion, but it’s down to the individual so go crazy. Just avoid the ones that have fruit or nuts in them.


  • Isotonic drinks- this is individual to each person – I can’t drink these as my stoma dumps it.
  • Tea/Coffee- these need to be limited as caffeine is bad for the stoma- I drink the herbal teas that are caffeine free or peppermint tea as it aids digestion after eating
  • Fruit juices
  • Fruit and barley Squash- This with water helps to bind the stoma to a degree
  • Fizzy drinks- First six weeks this is a no-go

You may have seen I have avoided water from this list. Reason for that is plain water for ostomates can be Satan in disguise. Always flavour the water with an isotonic tablet or squash as this gives the bowel something to hold onto. In my personal experience plain water is normally flushed out from mouth to stoma within 20 minutes of drinking a glass.


I tend to make most of mine from the beginning but there are also good ones you can buy that are pre-prepared and don’t have the stuff you can’t eat in them.

  • Tomato and mascarpone sauce. No bits and its smooth
  • Carbonara- Just check for mushrooms
  • Cheese sauce
  • Cream, lemon and paprika sauce- I make this to use with my seafood pasta as I can’t eat jarred sauces as they contain peppers and onions as a base
  • Soy sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Buffalo hot sauce – I love this stuff but it’s down to the individual


Coming from a female all puddings are good, that’s not essentially the case because I don’t really eat pudding. However, the sponge varieties are good at bulking your output.

  • Syrup sponge
  • Chocolate sponge
  • Ice cream
  • Cheesecake- dependent on what’s in it
    That’s about my limit for puddings and my list of Can eat foods. If you need the don’t eat list just ask and I will tell you.

After the initial 6 week period on the Post Op Diet, you can start introducing other things but it needs to be done slowly as some things can still block the stoma.

Also please don’t let fear get in the way of you enjoying food. For all of us stoma formation has saved lives and improved the quality of life. I know many ostomates that can & do eat all food groups without consequence so after the initial 6 weeks please eat what you wish and keep a food diary should the inevitable happen and a blockage takes centre stage.

What I eat now 15 months post ileostomy surgery

I would advise to keep a food diary as that is good at pin pointing foods that aggravate your stoma. I still keep one 15 months post-op purely due to my Crohns disease and the fact my body picks and chooses what it doesn’t like.

Im hoping those of you post-op or going for surgery find this useful. Any questions then please don’t be afraid to ask.

Many thanks for reading this post

Louise aka CrohnsFighting XxX




Louise Potter

Hello everyone. My name is Louise and I am a guest blogger for talkhealth. I’m 32 years old and I am a mother to a delightful 8-year daughter, girlfriend to my boyfriend Ben. I’m also a daughter, auntie, granddaughter and friend. I am an advocate for all things crohns disease and stoma related. I have a permanent ileostomy which was formed in 11/16. This stoma wasn’t my first rodeo and I had a temporary ileostomy formed in September of 2009 to save my life due to sepsis, faecal peritonitis and pneumonia after a rather fraught C-section. This C-section left me on life support for 3 weeks and a period of 3 months in hospital where I had to learn how to walk, talk and eat again. All of this whilst having my daughter living with me in a side room as I recovered from what had happened. It also left me with a rather large open wound and my intestines being held in with biological mesh until I had my stoma reversed in 2012. This in itself lead to my second stoma formation and the decision to have it made permanent fixture to my body and life. I have penetrating refractory crohns disease and was diagnosed back in 2003 due to a fistula developing through my belly button. The above diagnosis means my crohns disease has spread to other parts of my body and has formed a rather scary amount of scar tissue and the refractory part means it is as stubborn as the owner of the body it inhabits, and I am immune to the majority of medications used to treat this illness. I am a blogger, advocate and also the founder of CrohnsFighting & The IBD & Ostomy support show which is a live video chat every Thursday evening at 8 pm on YouTube where we discuss a variety of topics that are both IBD & Stoma related. In my day to day life I am an accountant and work from home crunching numbers. The last 14 years have been filled with fun, laughter, near death experiences and 33 surgeries to both save my life and improve my quality of life. I am full of gallows humour but I am also honest and realistic about what both my illness and stoma life entails. So that’s about it for my brief introduction. Hoping you all like following posts and find them helpful. I am always about and open to ask any questions you may have and will answer to the best of my abilities Many thanks Louise aka CrohnsFighting

4 Responses to Low Residue Diet After Ileostomy Formation

  1. This is fantastic! When I was first told ‘low residue’ after my stoma, I just thought ‘boring and bland’, which was fine by me as I’m not all that adventurous an eater, but it was never really explained and no options were suggested. I’ve had to go back to low residue after each surgery I’ve had and after my bowel has twisted/stoma has been obstructed, too, so it’s always useful to have some ideas of food and drinks at hand. Brilliant post 🙂

    • Louise Potter Louise Potter

      Hi Caz,

      Thank you ever so much for taking the time to read the post. I am glad that you have found this useful. Low residue is never really ever explained and getting told you can eat anything is not always conducive to helping your ileostomy heal after surgery. I normally divert back to low residue after a tummy bug as well as find it helps the stoma slow down and get back into a normal rhythm. The leaflets at hospital don’t really help much. Pintrest is great for recipes though. Hoping you are well.

      Many Thanks
      Louise X

  2. Jackie
    • Louise Potter Louise Potter

      Hi Jackie,

      How long have you had your stoma bag for may I ask? Also what type of stoma do you have? If you need any advice or someone to talk to then I will do my best to help you where I can. Many thanks for taking the time to read the post. Hoping you are well.
      Many Thanks
      Louise X

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