What to eat < BACK

You should be able to eat normal foods and, just like everyone else, you need to eat a well-balanced diet. If you have any concerns about your diet and its effect on your colostomy, or experience constipation or diarrhoea, please seek the advice of your Stoma Care Nurse. Here’s some general diet advice for colostomists:

Foods for colostomists More info

- Include fruit and vegetables daily
- Have foods high in protein - e.g. meat, fish, eggs, cheese, milk or yoghurt
- Foods classed as carbohydrates - e.g. bread, potatoes, pasta, rice and
breakfast cereals - should make up at least half of your meal
- Include milk and dairy foods two to three times per day as they are rich in calcium - choose lower-fat varieties as a healthier option

General advice for colostomists More info

- Some people find that smaller, regular meals suit them better and prefer not to eat late at night. Eat regularly (at least 3 times per day) – this helps to ensure your stoma functions efficiently and helps avoid wind
- Always chew food well and eat slowly – this helps digestion
- Vary your foods. Experiment and try everything in small amounts, and gradually increase quantities
- If something disagrees with you, avoid it for a couple of weeks and then try a small amount again
- Include high-fibre foods to reduce the risk of constipation. Fibre is found in fruit, vegetables, wholemeal bread, wheatgrain cereals, brown rice and wholemeal pasta
- Some people find that they are unable to tolerate foods that are rich in fat e.g. cream, pastry, full cream milk, cheese and chocolate. Alternatives would be semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, lower-fat cheeses and low-fat spreads
- Drink plenty of fluids – approximately 2 litres each day. This can include tea and coffee, but water and squash are preferable

Wind More info

Foods that may increase wind are cabbage, beans/lentils/pulses, cauliflower, rich fatty foods, sprouts, spicy foods, onions, eggs, fizzy drinks/beer. Non-food causes of wind can be chewing gum, eating with mouth open, talking while eating, eating irregularly, smoking, drinking with a straw.
Solutions:
- Eat at regular intervals throughout the day and try to avoid long gaps between meals
- Eat with your mouth closed and don't talk!
- Allow fizzy drinks to go flat
- Don't use a straw for drinking
- Try drinking peppermint drinks - e.g. cordial or tea
- Eat live yoghurt - 1 carton per day. The natural kind seems more effective. If this is too sour, add a teaspoon of honey or jam, mix with jelly, or freeze and eat as ice cream

OdourMore info
Causes can be fish, eggs, baked beans, onions, cabbage, garlic, asparagus, green leafy vegetables.
Solutions:
- Eat live yoghurt
- Peppermint oil capsules (available from chemists and health food shops)
- Peppermint cordial, diluted to taste
- Buttermilk
Loose stoolsMore info
Causes can be green vegetables, spicy foods, beer, raw fruit, prunes or prune juice, sorbitol (a low-calorie sweetener) and some medications.
Solutions:
- Eat a very ripe banana
- Marshmallows or jelly babies
- Live yoghurt
- Apple sauce
- Cheese
- Noodles
- Boiled milk
- Rice
- Tapioca
- Smooth peanut butter
- Instant mashed potato

N.B. If you do experience loose stools, it may be advisable to use a drainable pouch that can be emptied, rather than repeatedly removing your usual pouch as constant removal can make the skin sore.
ConstipationMore info
There may be various reasons for this, such as some medication, lack of mobility, not drinking adequate fluids throughout the day.
Solutions:

- Increase your intake of fruit, vegetables and wholemeal/wholegrain products
- Drink plenty of fluids - approximately 2 litres each day. This can include tea and coffee, but water and squash are preferable
- Take some gentle exercise
- Try fruit juice or prune juice
- If you have any concerns about the effect of your diet or medication on your colostomy, please seek the advice of your stoma care nurse
Eating well, living well booklet More info

Take a look at our digital booklet about food advice for colostomists — "Eating well, living well." Just click on the image to the right.