Foods that are high in fiber, sugar, or fat may trigger symptoms of ulcerative colitis (UC). Snack options may include melon, Greek yogurt, hummus, some cheeses, and crackers.

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that can affect your intestines and rectum.

Certain foods can trigger flare-ups of symptoms such as vomiting and diarrhea. Eating other foods may help you stay in remission — a period when you experience few or no symptoms of UC.

Eating doesn’t have to be boring when you’re living with UC.

Keep reading to discover snack ideas for UC.

Here are 13 UC-friendly snacks that are tasty, nutritious, and convenient.

Greek yogurt is a great source of probiotics, which are friendly bacteria that help your gut run more smoothly.

The authors of a 2023 review found that probiotics can help keep UC in remission.

If lactose triggers your UC symptoms, you may want to try a lactose-free yogurt. You can also top your yogurt with sliced melon to provide sweetness without adding too much sugar.

Whole grain foods are a good source of fiber, which usually helps reduce constipation and supports overall health.

However, foods high in fiber can be hard to digest during a UC flare-up. They may trigger symptoms such as diarrhea. The authors of a 2016 review suggest eating a low fiber diet during UC flare-ups to help regulate your bowel movements.

Potato bread or sourdough bread may be easier to tolerate than whole grain options if you have UC.

You can top it with scrambled eggs for a good source of protein and sauteed spinach for a small amount of iron. Research suggests that people with UC have a high risk of developing iron deficiency anemia.

This chickpea-based dip packs in a lot of protein, along with some iron and folate.

However, not everyone with UC can tolerate chickpeas due to their fiber content. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation suggests starting with 1/4 cup of hummus with 2 ounces of pita chips.

Try to avoid whole wheat chips if you’re experiencing a flare, as they are high in fiber.

If you can tolerate hummus, you may want to try eating a 1/4-cup serving of roasted chickpeas.

Chickpeas are loaded with a type of soluble fiber called raffinose. When bacteria break down raffinose in your digestive tract, they produce a fatty acid called butyrate. This may help reduce inflammation in your colon.

A 2019 review suggests that people with IBD may not produce as much of this gut-healthy fatty acid.

To make this snack, mix 1 can of chickpeas with 2 teaspoons (tsp) of olive oil. Dust with a little bit of garlic powder. Place the coated chickpeas on an oiled baking sheet. Brown them in the oven at 350°F (180°C) for 45 minutes.

Bananas are a healthy low fiber snack to try if you have UC. They’re easy to digest and rich in potassium. You may have low levels of this electrolyte in your body if you’re experiencing diarrhea due to a UC flare-up.

To make a banana smoothie, blend 1 cup of low fat milk with 1 cup of Greek yogurt, a ripe banana, and ice. Choose a dairy-free milk alternative if you’re sensitive to lactose.

High fiber bran and wheat cereals could set off a bout of diarrhea and other UC symptoms during a flare-up. Lower fiber options such as cornflakes, rice puffs, and oatmeal may be easier on your gut.

Yogurt and nondairy milk alternatives such as soy, oat, and almond milk may be easier on your gut if lactose triggers your UC symptoms. You can top your bowl of cereal with sliced bananas to ramp up the nutrition.

Cheese is a great source of protein, fat, and calcium.

Calcium is an important nutrient to eat because it helps build and maintain strong, healthy bones. This is important if you have UC because you’re more likely to have low bone mass. This may increase your chances of experiencing bone fractures or developing a low bone density condition such as osteoporosis.

If you have difficulty digesting lactose during a flare-up, try eating hard cheeses. They’re lower in lactose than other dairy products and may be easier to digest than soft cheeses such as cream cheese.

Almond butter and other types of nut butter are rich in protein. But it’s best to choose smooth varieties during a flare-up because they’re easier to digest than crunchy varieties that contain pieces of nuts.

Spread the nut butter onto a pita or tortilla, top it with banana slices, and roll it up. You can take this portable snack with you on the go.

An artichoke contains about 7 grams (g) of fiber, which is 25% of the recommended Daily Value. But when eating dip, you’re unlikely to consume the equivalent of a whole artichoke. This can make artichoke dip safe to eat if you have UC.

Artichokes also contain prebiotics, which feed the good bacteria in your gut and could support intestinal health.

In a bowl, combine the following ingredients:

  • 1 can of artichoke hearts, chopped
  • one 10-ounce package of frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Pour the mixture into a casserole dish and bake at 350°F (180°C) for 20–22 minutes. Serve with sliced carrots and cucumbers for dipping.

Omelet muffins made with low fiber vegetables are a great source of protein. They’re an easy-to-make, quick, and convenient snack. You may want to include vegetables such as:

  • asparagus tips
  • squash
  • bell peppers
  • spinach
  • potatoes
  • pumpkin

Crack 12 eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk them together. In a greased muffin tray, add the chopped vegetables of your choice and distribute the egg mixture evenly. Bake for 20–25 minutes at 350°F (180°C).

Tuna is high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids. These may have several benefits for UC, such as:

  • reducing intestinal inflammation
  • maintaining remission
  • decreasing disease activity
  • increasing your quality of life

It’s best to eat tuna that has been canned in water. Drain the liquid, and then mix the tuna with salt, pepper, and 1 tsp of mayonnaise. You can eat this mixture on top of cucumber slices.

A 2023 review suggests that walnuts may provide several benefits to your gut microbiome due to their antibacterial, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties.

You can pack a 1/4-cup serving for a quick, on-the-go snack that will give you 4 g of protein.

However, whole walnuts may not be the best snack choice if you’re experiencing a UC symptom flare-up, because they’re more difficult to digest.

A 2019 review suggests that ready-made nutritional shakes such as Boost and Ensure may be a good snack option during a UC flare-up, especially if you cannot meet your calorie needs because of your symptoms.

These shakes are high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and calories, and they’re an easy way to fill in any nutrient gaps in your diet.

What can I eat during an ulcerative colitis flare-up?

During a UC flare-up, you’ll want to focus your diet on:

  • low fiber fruits and vegetables
  • lean proteins
  • refined grains and carbohydrates
  • skinless, cooked vegetables
  • skinless, seedless fruits

What chips can I eat with ulcerative colitis?

The authors of a 2021 review state that eating highly processed foods such as store-bought potato chips can increase the risk of IBD. But the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation has a recipe for homemade chips that can be a great snack option if you have UC.

Finding snacks to eat when you have UC may seem daunting because some foods can worsen your symptoms.

However, foods such as spinach, bananas, low fiber bread, and smooth nut butter are typically easier on your gut. Research also suggests that you don’t necessarily need to avoid high fiber foods during periods of remission.

Talk with a healthcare professional to find out which other foods may be a good fit for your nutritional needs. They may recommend tips for meal prepping and dining out.

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