Bowel Cancer Diet

Ask the Nutritionist

Q: My mother has bowel cancer and has a colostomy bag. Can you please suggest some meals/foods that will give her maximum benefits? Unfortunately, she won't eat fish.


A: There are a lot of great options for foods for your mother to eat. Lower fiber (less than 3gm per serving) breads and pastas are usually well tolerated and pack in a good amount of calories. Combine these with lean protein such as chicken, turkey or eggs plus any fruit or vegetable that is peeled and cooked well with seeds removed should be easier to tolerate as well.

Smoothies and blended soups are also good options and combine easy to digest fruits, vegetables and protein from protein powder/yogurt/milk or make them dairy free with almond or coconut milk. Your mother could benefit from eating five to eight small meals and spread them over the course of the day and to encourage her to stay well hydrated. Check out our full list of recipes for more ideas.

Here are some suggestions for snacks:

  • Smooth, natural nut butter with white bread or crackers
  • Smoothies made with pulp-free fruit juice, protein powder, and soft fruit options from the section below
  • A hard-boiled egg
  • Smooth oatmeal or cream of wheat made with almond milk instead of water
  • Greek yogurt with melon or banana

To maintain intake of important phytonutrient rich fruits and vegetables, add these low fiber/low residue options to the snack ideas above:

  • Cooked vegetables such as carrots, winter squash, sweet potato (without skin), or pureed cauliflower
  • Peeled apple, pear, or applesauce
  • Ripe bananas
  • Mashed avocado
  • Ripe mango or papaya (if not too acidic for her)
  • Ripe honeydew, cantaloupe, or watermelon, with all seeds removed
  • 100 percent fruit/vegetable juice without the pulp — using a juicer with fresh produce is fantastic if you have access to one
  • Cooked fruits (i.e. baked blueberries, cherries, apple, pear — add cinnamon and a little honey)

We also recommend you meet with a Registered Dietitian, who can help you understand your individual weight goals and assist you in designing a healthful eating plan.

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