Colonoscopy Prep Day: Diet Ideas, Tricks, and a Bonus Popsicle Recipe
Who says colonoscopy prep means deprivation? Clear liquid diets don’t necessarily mean that the entire day is cancelled. Here’s some tools to help you make the most out of what may not be the most fun day in the life of a person with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis.
Keep in mind that doctors have different preferences on how to prep for a procedure, so this post is not meant to be prescriptive, but rather a guide to give you more practical options than the generic instruction sheet that you will be given by the office staff before your procedure. Talk to your doctor about discontinuing any blood-thinners and/or stool softeners in the days preceding your procedure. After the procedure, it is usually safe to resume your normal eating pattern, but please reach out to your doctor or a registered dietitian if you need additional help figuring out how this could work for you.
Limiting High-Fiber Foods
If your prep instructions call for limiting high-fiber foods, chances are you can still eat fruits and vegetables, but these will need to be peeled and cooked thoroughly, rather than steamed or eaten raw. When eating a lower-fiber diet, it is generally recommended to avoid whole grains as well, such as bran flakes and multi-grain bread. Here is a sample menu of lower-fiber foods:
Clear Liquid Diet
Ensure that you are drinking more than the prep juice; hydration is key for a smooth procedure and is associated with better support of kidney function and a safer colonoscopy experience (1). A clear liquid diet may allow some colors, such as green, yellow, or orange, but be sure to verify your provider’s specific preferences before stocking up on lemon-lime popsicles. Please note that clear liquid diets are not intended to be followed longer than the time prescribed by your doctor, because it does not provide sufficient calories, protein, or nutrients to be supportive for health (2). If you have diabetes, speak with a doctor and/or diabetes educator to develop a plan before beginning the diet.
Below is a lemon-lime popsicle recipe that is sure to help make the clear liquid diet more bearable:
Lemon-Lime Popsicle Recipe
- 1 ½ C water
- 2 tbsp honey
- ½ C fresh, squeezed lime juice
- ½ C fresh, squeezed lemon juice
- Blend or stir water, honey, lemon juice and lime juice
- Pour mixture into popsicle molds (allow 30 minutes to freeze before adding popsicle sticks if your molds don’t come with the sticks attached)
- Enjoy 2-4 hours later
Be on the lookout for a clear liquid diet sample meal plan- coming soon! You can check here in case you missed it posting live to the website.
1. Lichtenstein, G. R., Cohen, L. B., & Uribarri, J. (2007). Review article: Bowel preparation for colonoscopy--the importance of adequate hydration. Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics, 26(5), 633–641. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2036.2007.03406.x
2. Oates JR, Sharma S. Clear Liquid Diet. [Updated 2021 Jun 18]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538500/