Health

11 Healthy Snacks for Ulcerative Colitis

If you suffer from ulcerative colitis, you know it’s hard to find the right foods to ease your symptoms. You always have to be careful of what you eat so that you do not trigger symptoms. Below are 11 healthy snacks for ulcerative colitis patients and did I mention that they are very easy to make and don’t require a lot of ingredients?

Ulcerative colitis is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes inflammation and ulcers (sores) in your digestive tract. Ulcerative colitis affects the innermost lining of your large intestine (colon) and rectum. Ulcerative colitis is caused when the immune system mistakes “friendly bacteria” in the colon, which aid digestion, as a harmful infection, leading to the colon and rectum become inflamed.

ulcerative colitis

13 Healthy Snacks for Ulcerative Colitis

Some of the common symptoms of ulcerative colitis are abdominal pain, rectal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, and fatigue. As the condition prolongs without treatment, symptoms tend to worsen as well. In most cases, a change of diet is all you need to keep your symptoms at bay. With that being said, always check with your doctor first to prevent complications.

Protein-Packed Salted Pretzel Sticks With Creamy Nut or Seed Butter

Dip salted pretzel sticks in creamy nut or seed butter, which you can buy in small packets at the grocery store.

“The soluble fiber found in nut or seed butter helps with slowing down diarrhea,” says Issokson, adding that the salt on the pretzel sticks helps replace salt losses with diarrhea. While it might not be fun to talk about, replenishing the salt you may have lost can do wonders to improve overall health when diarrhea is present.

Banana Roll-Ups to Replace Electrolytes

Spread creamy almond butter on a tortilla, and roll it up around a whole banana, and serve whole or sliced into “sushi.” Bananas contain potassium and magnesium, two important electrolytes that are lost during diarrhea. Eating this snack can help to replenish those losses.

“Bananas and almond butter provide soluble fiber and are all easily digested,” Issokson says. That’s a win-win for anyone with UC.

A Lactose-Free Smoothie for Vitamins

Make a healthy and UC-friendly smoothie to meet all of your nutritional needs with lactose-free milk, canned peaches, creamy nut butter, and ice. Blend together for a cool snack that’s packed with protein you can take on the road. According to a study published in Nutrition in February 2021, lactose intolerance affects 33 percent to 75 percent of the world population, and those with inflammatory bowel disease, such as ulcerative colitis, are at an increased risk of developing the condition.

If lactose is a trigger for you, choosing dairy alternatives may be a good option. On the flip side, if lactose doesn’t bother you, there’s no need to avoid it. “Smoothies are a great way to incorporate fruits and vegetables in an easy-to-digest manner,” Issokson says. “And the soluble fiber aids digestion and can help to reduce urgency.”

Frozen Yogurt Bites for a Healthy, Decadent Snack

Dip bite-size fruit pieces in plain Greek yogurt, place them on parchment paper, and freeze them for a cool snack. Packed with calcium, potassium, soluble fiber, and antioxidants, this snack will satisfy your sweet tooth while helping you to meet all of your UC-related nutritional needs. Plus, research shows that probiotics (good bacteria) in yogurt have been linked to possible positive effects.

In fact, a review published in May 2021 in Microorganisms found that the gut microbiome plays a major role in IBD and its potential management suggesting that the use of probiotics may lessen disease symptoms at least for some.

Omelet Cups Pack a Protein Punch

Protein is one of the key nutrients that someone with UC needs. For this grab-and-go snack, simply add a few cooked veggies (those you tolerate well) to the bottom of a muffin tin and top with whisked eggs.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees until they’re set and stick them in the refrigerator or freezer so that you can grab one on the way out the door. This is a quick-and-easy way to get in some much-needed protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

Smoked Salmon and Avocado for Healthy Fats

If you’re looking for a quick and healthy snack, look no further! Mash avocado on a slice of sourdough toast and top with a few pieces of smoked salmon for a snack that’s packed with healthy unsaturated fats. A recent review published in Foods in January 2021 found that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids, like those found in salmon, led to decreased intestinal inflammation, the telltale symptom of UC. Plus, these healthy fats can help you gain some weight back after a flare.

This delicious snack can even be topped with a few thin slices of peeled cucumber for a refreshing crunch.

Fresh Melon With Greek Yogurt for Calcium and Probiotics

A cup of fresh melon topped with a large dollop of plain Greek yogurt is as simple as it is nutritious. The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation recommends melon as a low-fiber fruit that’s a great addition to a healthy diet for someone with UC. Plus, yogurt is a good source of calcium and probiotics — two nutrients that are crucial for those with ulcerative colitis.

In fact, The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation cites calcium as one of the most common micronutrient deficiencies in those with IBD. Some of the richest food sources of calcium (such as milk) are often avoided by those with UC because they contain lactose. Yogurt, however, is lower in lactose because it gets digested by good bacteria.

A small study with 18 people published in March–April 2021 issue of MicrobiologyOpen found that gut dysbiosis (an imbalance of good and bad microorganisms in the intestines) may negatively influence treatment response in patients with UC. More research is needed to determine the exact relationship and dosage, but it seems that probiotic-rich foods, like yogurt, are an excellent addition to a UC-friendly diet.

Cheese and Crackers for Calcium and Protein

Is there any snack more famous than cheese and crackers? While it may seem simple, this classic pairing provides exactly what those with UC need. Cheese contains protein, fat, and calcium while low-fiber crackers are an easy-to-digest carbohydrate source topped with salt to replace lost electrolytes. If lactose is a personal trigger for you, choose a hard cheese such as Parmesan, which is lower in lactose than soft cheeses.

Banana ‘Ice Cream’ for Potassium and Magnesium

This snack is simple to prepare and surprisingly indulgent. Roughly chop two overripe bananas and freeze them. Then, just add the banana slices and 1 tablespoon of smooth natural peanut butter, and a pinch of salt to a blender, stopping and pushing the ingredients toward the blades, as needed.

The result is a rich and creamy dessert that’s a rich source of potassium and healthy fats, a good source of magnesium, and completely lactose-free, although you’d never know it from the taste!

Sourdough With Scrambled Eggs and Spinach

Whole-grain bread is a rich source of fiber, but for someone in a UC flare, that fiber can cause a lot of discomforts. Sourdough bread is a great alternative because it’s made with refined flour that’s had most of that fiber stripped away. Plus, its natural tang adds a delicious flavor to any dish.

Toast it and top with scrambled eggs for a dose of protein and some spinach for a rich source of vitamins and minerals — most importantly iron, which so many with UC are sorely lacking. This snack also makes a great breakfast at home or on the road.

Watermelon With Salt

Hydration is extra important for those with UC because they often lose fluids through loose stool. Sipping water and decaffeinated tea can certainly help you hit your daily fluid target, but so can foods with high water content. At about 91 percent water, watermelon checks that box perfectly. What’s more, a paper published in November 2020 in Molecules described the relationship between the nutrients in watermelon and their potential role in helping to treat UC.

Want to make a great snack even better? Add a sprinkle of salt on top of the watermelon to make it really shine and help replenish electrolytes at the same time.