IBD and a Restricted Fiber Diet

A restricted or a low fiber diet may be prescribed at certain times for people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). A few of the reasons when this diet might be used include when there is danger of a blockage in the intestine (such as after surgery) or during a flare-up of IBD symptoms. A low fiber diet might need to be followed for several weeks. This diet tends to be easier to follow than the clear or full liquid diets because it includes a wider variety of foods.

Close-up of woman holding a bowl of fruit and cereal
mikroman6 / Getty Images

A low fiber diet should only be followed under the supervision of a physician. While this diet is going to be recommended in certain situations, but it's not a diet that can be followed long-term. A healthy diet does include significantly more fiber than is going to be possible while following this diet. When it's time to reintroduce foods with fiber, start slowly and keep in touch with your healthcare team every step of the way.

Following a restricted fiber diet is actually not too difficult in Western countries. When following a fiber restricted diet, keep the following rules of thumb in mind:

  • Use refined grain products in place of whole grain products
  • Avoid vegetables or fruits with skins, hulls, or seeds
  • All vegetables should be cooked (with the exception of lettuce) and without seeds
  • All fruits should be canned with the exception of ripe bananas, watermelon, and honeydew melon (with seeds removed)
  • All whole nuts, seeds, and legumes should be avoided

Foods Allowed/Not Allowed

Milk Products

  • Allowed: Buttermilk, evaporated milk, skim, low fat and whole milk, powdered milk, plain yogurt
  • Omitted: Fruited yogurt with seeds or nuts

Meat and Meat Alternatives

  • Allowed: Beef, poultry, pork, lamb, fish, eggs, cheese, veal, smooth peanut butter
  • Omitted: Tough meats with gristle, crunchy peanut butter

Breads, Cereals, and Grains

  • Allowed: Breads, rolls, bagels, muffins, crackers and cereals made from refined white flour; cooked noodles; and white pasta and rice
  • Omitted: Breads, rolls, bagels, muffins, crackers and cereals made from whole grains; breads, crackers, cereals, and rolls with seeds or nuts; whole grain pasta, brown rice, popcorn


  • Allowed: Vegetable juices without pulp; cooked vegetables without seeds; carrots, asparagus, waxed and green beans, eggplant, acorn squash, regular and sweet potatoes without the skin, turnips; tomato paste and tomato sauce without seeds; lettuce
  • Omitted: All raw vegetables except lettuce; corn, dried beans and peas, green peas, lentils, lima beans, potato skins


  • Allowed: Juices without pulp (excluding prune) canned fruit, ripe bananas; watermelon & honeydew with seeds removed
  • Omitted: Most raw fruits should be avoided such as dates, figs, prunes, apples, berries with seeds, peaches, grapes, pears, rhubarb, fresh grapefruit and orange slices, prune juice


  • Allowed: Butter, margarine, cream, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, oil
  • Omitted: Avoid all nuts, coconut, seeds


  • Allowed: Plain ice cream, sherbet, fruit ice, custard, plain pudding, hard candy, jelly beans; cakes, pies, and cookies made from refined flour and with no fresh fruit or nuts
  • Omitted: Desserts with fresh fruit, nuts or coconut


  • Allowed: Clear broths and strained soups, soda, hot chocolate, decaffeinated coffee, decaffeinated tea, clear juices, decaffeinated beverages

A Sample Low Fiber Menu


  • Grapefruit juice (4 oz)
  • Banana (1/2)
  • Rice Krispies (3/4 c)
  • English muffin (1/2)
  • Peanut butter, creamy (1 Tbsp)
  • Low fat (2%) milk (8 oz)
  • Coffee (1c)


  • Hamburger on bun (1) lean ground beef (3 oz), bun (1), ketchup (1 Tbsp), mayonnaise (1 tsp)
  • Applesauce (1/2 c)
  • Chocolate chip cookies, no nuts (2)
  • Low fat/2% milk (8 oz)


  • Roast turkey breast (3 oz)
  • Gravy (1 Tbsp)
  • Mashed sweet potatoes (1/2 c)
  • Green beans (1/2 c)
  • Dinner roll (1)
  • Margarine (2 tsp)
  • Peach halves (1/2 c)
  • Tea with lemon juice (1 c)


  • Sparkling water with lime juice (12 oz)
  • Shortbread cookies (3)
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology. "Soft and Mechanical Soft Diet." Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology 2016.
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital. "Low-Fiber, Low-Residue Diet." Northwestern Memorial Hospital Patient Education Sept 2007.

By Amber J. Tresca
Amber J. Tresca is a freelance writer and speaker who covers digestive conditions, including IBD. She was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 16.