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You may need to follow a low fiber diet if you have chronic diarrhea, colitis, intestinal obstructions, just had surgery, or have other problems in your stomach or intestines. Fiber in food is not digested. Fiber may increase how often you have bowel movements and increase the amount of gas you make. This diet will help you have fewer and smaller bowel movements with less pressure, cramping and pain. It can also help to prevent bowel obstructions. Use the tips in this handout to limit fiber in your day.

Fiber is found in plant foods. Fiber is found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. The amount of fiber in a certain food is not changed by cooking, grinding or pureeing the food.


Foods to Choose

  • White bread, rolls, biscuits, and crackers without seeds and nuts

  • White rice

  • White pasta

Foods to Avoid

  • Breads or pasta made with whole grains or bran

  • Products made with high amounts of seeds, dried fruit, coconut, or nuts

  • Brown rice or 100% wild rice


  • Check food labels and limit portion sizes when choosing whole grains or high fiber grains/starches

  • Avoid any products with 3 or more grams of fiber per serving


Foods to Choose

  • Cereals with less than 3 grams of fiber per serving like Corn Flakes® or Rice Krispies®

  • Refined cooked cereals like cream of wheat or farina

Foods to Avoid

  • Whole grain or bran cereals

  • Granola and oatmeal

  • High fiber cereal bars


  • Check food labels and limit portion sizes when choosing whole grain or high fiber cereals

  • Avoid products with 3 or more grams of fiber per serving


Foods to Choose

  • Canned fruit like peaches, pears, mandarin oranges, and fruit cocktail

  • Melons and ripe banana

  • Applesauce

  • Fruit juice

Foods to Avoid

  • Dried fruits

  • Fruit juice with pulp, prune juice

  • Fruit with skin like grapes, blueberries, and apple


  • Peeling fruits helps decrease some fiber.


Foods to Choose

  • Mashed potatoes

  • Vegetables without skins or seeds such as mushrooms, cauliflower, stewed tomatoes, peppers, onions, and canned green beans

  • Vegetable juice

Foods to Avoid

  • Cooked greens or spinach

  • High fiber vegetables like corn and peas

  • Most fresh vegetables


  • Eating vegetables without skin or seeds can help to decrease some fiber.


Foods to Avoid

  • All beans including kidney, garbanzo, black, navy, soy, and pinto beans

  • Lentils

Meats, Poultry, Fish, Eggs, Nuts, and Seeds

Foods to Choose

  • Meat, poultry, fish, eggs

  • Smooth peanut and nut butters (eat no more than 1 Tbsp at a time)

Foods to Avoid

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Crunchy nut butters


  • Check labels of vegetable and soy burgers for fiber content

  • Avoid products with 3 or more grams of fiber per serving


Foods to Choose

  • Milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, and any dairy products as tolerated

Drinks to Choose

  • Coffee, tea, and cocoa

  • Carbonated drinks

  • Fruit juices

Drinks to Avoid

  • Prune juice


Foods to Choose

  • Butter, margarine, oils

  • Meat gravies and salad dressings made without fruits, nuts, and seeds


Foods to Choose

  • Sherbet, frozen yogurt, ice cream, and popsicles made without fruits, seeds, or nuts

  • Cookies, pastries, pies, puddings, custards, and candy made without fruit, seeds, or nuts

  • Sugar, honey, molasses, corn syrup, and jelly

Foods to Avoid

  • Any dessert or sweet made with high amount of nuts, seeds or coconut


Foods to Choose

  • Salt, pepper, herbs, spices

  • Ketchup, mustard, vinegar, and cream sauces

Who to Call

If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions, please contact UW Health at one of the phone numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at

Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500.