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Colonoscopy Preparation Drink & Food Recipes

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    Colonoscopy Preparation Drink & Food Recipes

    You are getting ready for a colonoscopy and you are overwhelmed with the idea of having to cleanse your bowels the day before the surgery. Then, your physician hands you a list of foods you cannot eat several days before the procedure. But just because you have to follow a restricted diet does not mean you have to eat bland flavorless foods the week before your procedure. 

    There are several reasons your physician is asking you to follow these restrictions before your procedure. High-fiber, high-fat, and complex protein foods take time to digest and may reside in the colon for several days if not adequately processed. These residual fibers are difficult to flush out of the system, even with the laxatives you are given the day before the procedure. Inadequate bowel preparation can have the following consequences:

    • Increases difficulty and level of complexity of colonoscopy
    • Extends time of the  procedure
    • Inhibits the ability of your gastroenterologist to visualize the colon
    • Patients will need to repeat procedure 
    • Shortens the interval time between the next screening colonoscopy 
    • Reduces the ability of gastroenterologist to identify polyps and abnormalities

    Five days before your colonoscopy your physician will ask you to avoid high-fiber foods and restrict your diet to proteins and foods that are easily digestible, well-cooked, tender, and peeled. In addition, there may be other restrictions to your diet which often include avoiding the following:

    • Prunes or prune juice
    • Raw or dried fruit
    • All berries, figs, dates, and raisins, 
    • Whole grains, including brown or wild rice, buckwheat, and cornbread
    • Any food that contains seeds or nuts
    • Dry beans, peas, lentils, and tofu
    • Tough, fibrous meat with gristle
    • Popcorn
    • Pickles, olives, horseradish, and relish
    • Coconut
    • Jam, marmalade, or preserves (especially with seeds)
    • No red or purple (food dye) colored drinks or foods

    In addition, one day prior to your procedure you will be asked to cleanse your bowels and be on a clear liquid diet, with no exceptions. It is highly important you follow the directions ordered by your physician to be sure no food or fibers are left in the colon which can restrict the visualization of your intestinal lining. 

    With some meal planning and a trip to the grocery store, you will be able to prepare and eat meals that are flavorful and healthy and will not cause any problems during your colonoscopy. In this article, you will find that there are quite a few food options and recipes available to you and the preparation does not have to be a bland and tasteless dining experience. 

    The following shopping list and recipe suggestions are for reference use only. Be sure to check with your physician to be sure that what you eat or drink before your colonoscopy does not interfere with any medications or the procedure itself. 

    Shopping List

    Beverages

    Sports drinks

    Coffee or tea

    Water

    Condiments

    Margarine, butter, oils

    Ketchup and mustard, and mayonnaise

    Sour cream

    Plain gravies

    Spices, cooked herbs, and bouillon

    Salad dressing

    Sugar, honey, and syrup

    Clear jelly 

    Milk and Milk Products

    Sherbet

    Evaporated or powdered milk

    Low-fat cheeses

    Skim or low-fat milk

    Buttermilk

    Custard

    Smooth nonfat or low-fat yogurt (no seeds, berries, rinds, or nuts)

    Fruit

    Canned fruit (no pineapple)

    Ripe bananas

    Ripe melons

    Strained fruit juice

    Vegetables

    Lettuce

    Potatoes (skins removed)

    Strained vegetable juice

    Carrots 

    Asparagus tips

    Pumpkin

    Spinach

    Meats and other proteins

    Eggs

    Smooth nut butters

    Ground, well-cooked and tender beef, lamb, ham, veal, pork, fish, and poultry

    Canned tuna

    Grains

    White or refined flour bagels, bread, and/or rolls

    White rice

    White or refined flour pastas 

    Cooked cereals like creamy rice

    Crispy rice cereal or cornflakes

    White or refined flour crackers

    Fruits

    Strained fruit juice (no prune juice)

    Canned, pureed, and soft fruit (except pineapple)

    Ripe banana

    Ripe melons

    Sweets or snacks

    Gelatin

    Hard candy

    Plain cake or cookies

    Plain pudding or custard

    Sherbet

    Popsicles

    Pretzels

    Low-fat ice cream

    Days 2-5 Before Colonoscopy Recipes

    Breakfast

    Bagel and cream cheese, banana with honey

    Scrambled eggs, white toast, and jam

    Greek yogurt with honey and bananas topping

    Half cantaloupe filled with greek yogurt and topped with honey

    Pancakes (not whole-grain) with maple syrup

    Lunch

    Chicken tenders, lettuce salad with salad dressing of your choice (no seeds)

    Turkey sandwich on white bread with avocados and baked potato chips

    Tuna with olive oil and lemon juice on sour dough bread with honeydew melon cubes

    Turkey sandwich on sourdough bread with honeydew melon cubes

    Smooth peanut butter and honey sandwich, cottage cheese, and canned peaches

    Dinner 

    Grilled chicken thighs, sauteed mushrooms, and white rice cooked in mushroom broth

    Cedar plank wild salmon (not farmed), sauteed spinach with garlic, and Israeli couscous

    Orecchiette with garlic and tender-cooked asparagus tips with olive oil and lemon

    Grilled chicken breast, mashed potatoes (no skins), and tender carrots

    Spaghetti with mushrooms, olive oil and garlic, lettuce salad with dressing (no seeds), plain ice cream

    Day-before Colonoscopy Diet

    You will typically be restricted to clear liquids. Clear liquids are any food or beverage that you can see through, are clear and transparent, and are not opaque or cloudy. Your clear liquids should not have any solids, pulp, or fibers like pieces of vegetables or noodles. 

    The bowel cleanse will remove a lot of water from your system, so it is important you stay well-hydrated during the preparation. The following list of clear liquids are options for you to consider to help you stay hydrated and help you feel satiated through the day. 

    Broths

    Chicken broth

    Vegetable broth

    Beef consommé (clear)

    Chicken or beef bouillon

    Beverages

    Flavored/sparkling waters

    Clear fruit-flavored protein drinks (not red or purple)

    Root beer 

    Ginger ale

    Clear soda

    Electrolyte sports drinks (no red or purple)

    Coffee or tea (no creamer or dairy)

    Clear fruit juice (no prune, red, or purple)

    Powder drink mixes

    Sweet Treats

    Ice pops

    Italian ice

    Banana, green apple, lemon, or lime popsicles

    Lemon-lime gelatin

    Lemon, lime, green apple hard candies

    Fruit-flavored gelatin

    References

    Colorectal Cancer Alliance Writing Staff. (2021). Sample six day colonoscopy prep guide. Retrieved from Colorectal Cancer Alliance: https://www.ccalliance.org/pdfs/resources/CCAlliance_ColonoscopyPrepGuide_SampleSixDay.pdf

    Danahy, A. (2019, July 09). The definition of a clear liquid diet for a colonoscopy. Retrieved from Livestrong: https://www.livestrong.com/article/275954-the-definition-of-a-clear-liquid-diet-for-colonoscopy/

    Gastro One Writing Staff. (2015, June). Pre-colonoscopy diet plant. Retrieved from Gastro One:

    https://www.gastro1.com/images/Pre_Colonoscopy_Diet_Instructions.pdf

    Kahi, C. J., et., al. (2016, March). Colonoscopy surveillance after colorectal cancer resection: recommendations of the US multi-society task force on colorectal cancer. Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, 83(3), 489-498.e10. Retrieved from Science Direct: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0016510716000468

    Lahey Health. (2019, April 01). Low-fiber diet for colonoscopy. Retrieved from Beth Israel Layel Health: https://www.lahey.org/article/low-fiber-diet-for-colonoscopy/

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