Knowing what to eat when you have Crohn’s disease can be confusing. And what ingredients can you cook with? To answer that question, here are some recipes for foods that are gut-friendly, delicious, and easy to prepare.
But first, a little info about eating well with Crohn’s.
What You Should Eat
If you can, eat as many whole foods as possible. Premade and prepackaged foods are filled with preservatives, unhealthy fats and oils, and more salt in one serving than most of us will need in a day. So cooking and eating foods that you make yourself is a very healthy and meal-for-meal less expensive way to eat.
Second, buying locally grown foods is freshest (and often, cheapest). Or, if you can, grow your own. Or when foods are in season at your farmers market, freeze food to have on hand throughout the winter months.
Third, organic fruits and veggies and pastured and grass-fed animals are healthier and better for us to eat than those that are raised on antibiotics, hormones, and pesticides. All of these things affect the flora in your gut and can allow bad bacteria to overtake the good bacteria, which can lead to further inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) symptoms and problems.
I know that organic and pasture-raised food can be expensive, but you can do your research on which foods to buy organic (and which not) by checking out the “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen” at the Environmental Working Group’s website. Even if you can’t buy all organic groceries, decide how much you can afford to spend and start with just a few organic or grass-fed items. Every little bit helps.
To get you started, here’s a list of fruits and veggies and how to buy them:
Best bought organically grown:
- Bell peppers
Can be bought conventionally grown (i.e., not certified organic):
- Sweet corn
- Sweet peas
- Honeydew melon
Below are four easy-to-make recipes that are also full of nutrients and should be easy on the gut. If you see an ingredient that you know you can’t or shouldn’t eat, then make a substitution with something you know you can eat safely. I like to look at most recipes as suggestions or a place for me to start making up my own recipe.
Squash Veggie Hash With Poached Egg
Note: This is a delicious breakfast that I make at least three times a week.
- 2-3 tablespoons tea seed oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups Swiss chard or spinach, cleaned and chopped
- 2 cups previously roasted butternut squash chunks
- 4 eggs
- 2 tablespoons chives, chopped finely
- In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add oil. When warm, add onions and sauté 3-5 minutes.
- Lower heat to medium and add bell pepper, garlic, and chard or spinach. Sauté until chard/spinach is wilted and bell pepper is slightly softened. Add roasted butternut squash and warm through.
- Poach eggs.
- Plate hash and top with one poached egg. Garnish with chopped chives.
Baked Salmon With Garlic Lemon Marinade
Note: This makes a yummy salmon recipe for dinner or Sunday lunch.
- 2 salmon fillets, 3 ounces each
- 1-2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon Celtic sea salt, black pepper, to taste
- ½ teaspoon olive oil
- In a bowl, combine minced garlic, thyme, parsley, lemon juice, olive oil, pepper, and sea salt. Stir well.
- Place salmon fillets, skin-side down, into a glass dish with sides. Spoon marinade evenly over both fillets. Cover and refrigerate for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- After oven is preheated, heat an oven-proof stainless steel skillet and ½ teaspoon olive oil over medium heat on the stove top.
- When skillet is hot, place salmon fillets skin-side down in pan and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then transfer skillet to oven and cook for another 10-15 minutes until fish flakes easily with fork. Cooking time may vary depending on thickness of fish.
- Be sure that the handle of your skillet is oven-proof and not plastic or silicone.
Berry Smoothie With Nut Milk
Note: Here’s a basic smoothie recipe that you can vary depending on your available fruits and tastes. If you make your own nut milk, you can cut down on the added sugar and additives store-bought varieties often contain. But if you’re short on time, store-bought works just fine. Make sure to buy the “plain” variety with the least amount of added ingredients.
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 medium banana, peeled
- ½ cup frozen blueberries
- ½ cup fresh raspberries or strawberries
- 1 cup nut milk (see recipe below)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey
- Grind flax seeds. Put into blender container with 3 tablespoons of water and allow to sit 10 mins.
- Break banana into two or three pieces and add to blender with blueberries, raspberries, nut milk, and maple syrup.
- Blend all ingredients until smooth.
- If too thick, add a little more nut milk and blend to combine. Serve immediately.
Nut or Seed Milk
Note: This recipe works well with many different kinds of raw nuts and seeds including, but not limited to, almonds, walnuts, cashews, filberts, sesame seeds, or pumpkin seeds.
Makes: 2 cups
- ½ cup raw nuts or seeds, soaked overnight, drained, and rinsed
- 2 cups filtered water
- Put strained nuts or seeds into blender.
- Add ½ cup of water and begin blending on low speed. Then, add rest of water and blend 2-3 minutes until smooth.
- Strain milk through a nut bag or cheese cloth into a clean container.
- Store unused milk in refrigerator for 3-4 days.