Nutrition and Food Tips For Ostomates


Welcome to our resource page dedicated to helping you make informed choices about your diet when living with an ostomy. When you or a loved one undergoes ostomy surgery, it's a significant life change that can impact various aspects of daily living, including the foods you eat. While having an ostomy shouldn't limit your enjoyment of meals, it can require some adjustments to ensure your digestive system functions smoothly and comfortably. In this guide, we'll explore the foods to avoid with an ostomy, providing you with valuable tips and information to help make things easier in this transition and new way of eating and processing food!

By: Kristen Furey


1. Low Residue Diet

Right after surgery, your doctor may recommend a special diet to follow post surgery to make sure your bowels are able to handle the food now that you have the ostomy bag. Trish Massart (RHN) writes, “a Low Residue Diet is essential in order to “rest” the bowel and allow for unencumbered recovery of the GI tract.

Low residue foods are foods that contain next-to-no fiber, as the fiber is what will pose the greatest risk for obstruction and/or irritation of the intestinal tract.” Some of these foods include: seeds, nuts, whole grain foods, coconut, fruits, and popcorn. Read more about a low residue diet here

2.Foods To Avoid Possible Blockages

Once you go through that initial recovery period that your doctor has prepared you for, there are some recommended foods to avoid while living with an ostomy simply to help prevent any blockages in your ostomy. The reason these foods can now start to cause blockages is because the food is traveling a bit differently through your intestines and will no longer be broken down in your colon anymore. They may also have problems exiting your stoma. Some of these foods include high-fiber foods, specifically nuts and seeds, fruit peels, raw vegetables, popcorn, corn, and coconut.

For any further questions on what you can/can’t eat with your ostomy, make sure to reach out to your medical team.


3.Foods To Avoid Gas

Now that you are living with an ostomy bag, your gut is processing foods and may work differently as far as the amount of gas you may have in a given day. Having more gas is common right after surgery as your body is adjusting to this new way of going to the bathroom.

There are some foods and drinks that you can avoid to reduce the amount of gas that you have which you can limit if you would like. These include: vegetables, carbonated beverages, beans, alcohol, and coffee.

Remember that each person and body is different so we may experience gas differently with different foods. To keep track of your gas foods, make a diary of what foods cause you more gas. One tip we would like to recommend is to use a Stealth Belt to help prevent unwanted leaks and to make sure your ostomy bag is secure no matter how much it fills up!

4.Foods That May Change Output Color

It's important for ostomy patients to be aware that certain foods can change the color of their ostomy output. Make sure to consult your medical team for any questions or concerns about ostomy output but we’re here to say, it can be completely normal to have unusual colored output depending on the food and liquids you consume.

Drinks with red dye like Icee’s or smoothies can change your output to come out red! In addition, foods like pasta sauce and tomato soup can also affect the color of your output! Pay attention to these foods and the next time you go to empty your bag, remember that the reason it may be colored, can be from what you ate that day!


5.Food Tips For Liquid or High Output

Managing liquid or high output can be a challenge for ostomy patients, but there are several helpful tips that can make a significant difference. First, consider eating marshmallows in moderation to slow down output.

The gelatin in marshmallows can help thicken the consistency of your output and this can be especially helpful for a bag change! Additionally, wearing a Stealth Belt can provide valuable support to your ostomy bag when dealing with high or liquid output because it can help support the bag, reduce the risk of leaks, and provide added security.

Another tip would be to research the BRAT diet which includes: bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.These low-fiber foods can help thicken your output, helping to avoid liquid output. Check with your medical team that this diet is okay for you!

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