IBS-C: A Sample Day of Meals for an Anti-Constipation Diet
As reggae legend, Bob Marley used to sing, “Got to keep on moving...” Of course, he probably wasn’t referring to concerns about being all stopped up in his colon. Nevertheless, the general principle remains the same: In order for our bodies to function like well-oiled machines, we have to keep the parts moving and in good working order, so we don’t get constipated!
How do we do this as it pertains to our diet? One way is to make sure we’re maxing out on our fiber intake. Yes, fiber is key! Fiber has so many fabulous benefits. It can lower your cholesterol, help you lose weight, fill you up, and keep you regular. Fiber also helps lower c-reactive protein, a measure of inflammation. Inflammation contributes to many chronic diseases. Here are a few recipes to ensure your fiber consumption is up to snuff for IBS-C.
Oatmeal & fruit
- ½ cup dry oats, cooked in 1 cup water or plant-based milk
- 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1-2 cups of coffee (regular or decaf) with a pea protein almond milk blend or lactose-free milk
Fit Tip:Get moving! Schedule in the exercise along with your diet changes to keep your plumbing moving.
Fruit & whole grain
- 1 whole kiwi
- Several whole grain or nut/seed crackers
Foodie Tip: Cut the kiwi in half, and then using a tablespoon, carve out each side in a circular motion. Voila! Two easy kiwi halves sans skin! Kiwis have never been so easy to eat. Plus, 1 medium kiwi packs 71mg of Vitamin C, which provides 117 percent of the recommended daily value.
Grain bowl w/ tofu or chicken breast
- 1 cup cooked quinoa
- 1 cup baby spinach
- ½ cup sliced cucumbers
- ½ cup roasted sweet potato wedges
- ¼ cup sliced almonds or any seeds
- 5 oz tofu or grilled chicken breast
- Dressing of choice
- Water (can be before or after the meal, as tolerated)
Food Saving Tip: Did you know frozen veggies can be just as healthy as fresh? Frozen vegetables are often flash-frozen close to the site of harvest, for pique nutrition preservations, sealing in vitamins that may be lost during transport to your produce aisle.
Fruit & nuts
- 2-3 clementines
- ¼ cup nuts (avoid cashew or pistachio if FODMAP-intolerant)
IBS-C tip: Including a snack may help improve transit time and constipation. In one study of constipated patients with type 2 diabetes, “flaxseed cookies, used as a snack, may be a useful tool for decreasing constipation symptoms.”1 Just don’t get in the habit of grazing. You need bulk meals to help stir things up and keep those bowels moving!
Cooked salmon & veggies w/ polenta
- 4-6 oz baked salmon with olive oil
- 2 cups mixed stir-fry (green beans, carrots, zucchini, and mushrooms)
- ½ cup polenta
Food prep tip:Polenta is a tasty IBS-friendly whole grain that’s easy to make! Buy pre-cooked polenta in a tube. Mash it up with a fork, mix with lactose-free milk, parmesan, and your favorite dried or fresh herbs.
Optional after-dinner snack
- 1 cup popcorn w/ cinnamon and a dash of sugar
- 1 cup popcorn w/ 1 tsp of parmesan, ½ tsp Italian seasoning, 1 tsp oil
- 1 cup frozen pineapple chunks
Food tip: Did you know popcorn is considered a whole grain? Make your own tasty popcorn-flavored creation.
Here are a couple of other ideas:
Whether it’s good old-fashioned oatmeal for breakfast, a delicious grain bowl for lunch, hearty vegetables, and beans at any time, or a creative popcorn snack, there are so many terrific sources of fiber to take advantage of that will prevent constipation. It’s easy. You just need to be mindful of constantly incorporating them into your meals.
How has changing your diet helped (or not helped) your IBS-C?
Do you live with any sleep disorders (eg. insomnia, RLS, sleep apnea) in addition to IBS?