Health

4 Simple Dinner Ideas for Ulcerative Colitis

It’s also important to focus on eating nutrient-dense meals when you have ulcerative colitis, with ample vitamins and minerals, because the gut inflammation during a flare-up can reduce the digestion and absorption of these nutrients.

Consider these four simple, nutritious, ulcerative colitis–friendly recipes to get you through the week. Just keep in mind that if you’re having a flare, you may want to avoid any ingredients with lactose if those aggravate your condition, and be sure to make other adjustments with known trigger foods.

1. Turkey Tacos

This ulcerative colitis dinner recipe comes together quickly: Brown lean ground turkey with some of your favorite roasted vegetables and serve in a soft whole-wheat tortilla or a crunchy corn taco shell. Top with 2-percent plain Greek yogurt instead of sour cream.

Why It’s a Good Ulcerative Colitis Recipe “This dish has protein and healthy fats, and the vegetables are cooked for easier digestion,” Armul says. The Greek yogurt is a good source of calcium, protein, and  probiotics, which can be helpful for people with ulcerative colitis because it can help restore “good” bacteria in the gut. A research review noted that the probiotics in yogurt suppress inflammation and should be a dietary staple for people with inflammatory bowel disease.

If you’re experiencing a flare, switch to a white tortilla, which has less fiber and will be easier to digest. Also be sure to select low-fiber vegetables if you are experiencing a flare, and higher-fiber vegetables if you feel well.

2. Asian Bowl

Toss together grilled chicken, cooked white rice, baby corn, water chestnuts, and steamed vegetables with some low-sodium soy sauce. It’s another ulcerative colitis dinner recipe (or try it for lunch) that comes together in minutes and piles nicely into a comforting, nutritious bowl.

Why It’s a Good Ulcerative Colitis Recipe The vegetables and protein offer nutrients your body needs, and opting for white rice instead of brown or wild rice is easier on digestion, Armul says. But if you’re feeling well and have increased the fiber in your diet, try it with the healthier brown rice. And if you’re in a flare, you should replace the chestnuts and corn with lower-fiber foods, like asparagus or green beans.

3. Salmon and Veggies

Grill or broil a fillet of salmon and top with finely crumbled pistachios. Serve with roasted asparagus and potatoes with the skins removed. (Pistachios, like all nuts, may be problematic for some people with UC and can be left out of this ulcerative colitis recipe).

Why It’s a Good Ulcerative Colitis Recipe “The salmon and pistachios are each a protein and omega-3 powerhouse, and the asparagus is cooked for easier digestibility,” Armul says. Omega-3 fatty acids are thought to be anti-inflammatory and may be beneficial for people with ulcerative colitis. A review in the journal Nutrients noted that omega-3 fatty acids in food helped to tamp down inflammation in the gut.

4. Angel Hair Pasta With Shrimp and Mixed Veggies

Here’s another simple and delicious dinner recipe when you’re on the go and have ulcerative colitis: Boil some herb-seasoned pasta and top with shrimp sautéed in olive oil, garlic, and herbs; and then toss the shrimp pasta with cooked peas, sautéed mushrooms, or roasted carrots.

Why It’s a Good Ulcerative Colitis Recipe If you struggle to digest fiber, the white pasta can ease ulcerative colitis symptoms. Many herbs are tolerable for ulcerative colitis and can boost the flavor of your dishes without extra fat, salt, or trigger foods. Play with seasonings and find out what fits your tastes without aggravating symptoms. Bonus: “These skinless veggies provide ample flavor and nutrients but are also gentle on the gut, even during a flare,” says Armul.

If you want to create your own ulcerative colitis weekly meal plan, build it based on the basic structure that Armul recommends: lean protein, simple low-carb grains, produce (cooked fruit or vegetables), and healthy fats. “This guideline allows you to create your own dinner menu and still enjoy a wide variety of foods,” she says. “It also maximizes nutrient density but minimizes high-fiber foods that can be harder to digest.”

Additional reporting by Jordan M. Davidson.

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