Low-Residue/Low-Fiber Diet

A low-residue/low-fiber diet is for people who need to rest their intestinal tract.

Chemotherapy treatments, radiation treatments, and surgery can cause trouble with digestion, especially for foods that are high in fiber.

A low-residue/low-fiber diet limits the amount of food waste that has to move through the large intestine.

This diet may help control diarrhea and abdominal cramping and make eating more enjoyable.

Points to Keep in Mind

  • Avoid any food made with seeds, nuts, or raw or dried fruit.
  • Avoid whole-grain breads and cereals. Purchase products made from refined flour.
  • Do not eat raw fruits or vegetables. Remove skins before cooking.
  • Limit milk and milk products to 2 cups a day. Use lactose-reduced milk or lactase enzymes if you are lactose intolerant.
  • Limit fats since these can increase stool bulk.
  • Avoid tough, fibrous meats with gristle.
Types of Foods Foods to Choose Foods to Avoid

Breads, Cereals, Rice, and Pasta

6- 11 servings each day

Serving size:

  • 1 slice bread
  • 1 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta
  • Enriched white bread, rolls, biscuits, and muffins
  • Waffles, French toast, and pancakes
  • White rice, noodles, pasta, and cooked potatoes (no skin)
  • Plain crackers
  • Cooked cereals: farina, cream of wheat, and grits
  • Cold cereals: Puffed Rice, Rice Krispies, Corn Flakes, and Special K
  • Breads or rolls with nuts, seeds, or fruit
  • Whole wheat, pumpernickel bread, and cornbread
  • Potatoes with skin, brown or wild rice, and kasha (buckwheat)
  • Whole grain cereals, bran cereals, granola-type cereals, and cereals with nuts, seeds, coconut, or dried fruit


2-4 servings each day

  • Strained fruit juice
  • Canned or cooked fruits without skins or seeds
  • Ripe banana
  • Soft cantaloupe and honeydew melon
  • Prunes and prune juice
  • Raw or dried fruit
  • All berries and raisins

Milk and Dairy Products

2 servings each day

Serving size:

  • 1 cup milk or yogurt
  • 1/2 ounces cheese
  • Milk, plain or flavored
  • Yogurt, custard, and ice cream
  • Cheese and cottage cheese
  • Yogurt with nuts or seeds


3-5 servings each day

Servings size:

  • 1/2 cup cooked vegetables
  • Strained vegetable juice
  • Well-cooked fresh or canned vegetables such as asparagus tips, beets, green beans, carrots, acorn squash (without seeds), pureed spinach, and tomato sauce
  • Lettuce, if tolerated.
  • Raw or partially cooked (steamed) vegetables
  • Vegetables with seeds
  • Sauerkraut
  • Cooked peas, winter squash, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, onions, cauliflower, baked beans and corn

Meats, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans, Peas, and Eggs

2-3 servings or a total of 6 ounces daily

Serving size:

  • 2-3 ounces, cooked
  • Count 1 egg, 1/2 cup cooked beans, or 2 tablespoons peanut butter as 1 ounce of meat
  • Ground, well-cooked, tender beef, lamb, ham, veal, pork, fish, poultry, and organ meats
  • Eggs
  • Tough, fibrous meats with gristle
  • Dry beans, peas, and lentils
  • Peanut butter

Fats, Snacks, Sweets, Condiments and Beverages

  • Margarine, butter, oils, mayonnaise, sour cream, and salad dressing
  • Plain gravies
  • Sugar, clear jelly, honey, and syrup
  • Spices, cooked herbs, bouillon, broth, and soups made with allowed ingredients
  • Coffee, tea, and carbonated drinks
  • Plain cakes and cookies
  • Gelatin, plain puddings, custard, ice cream, sherbet, Popsicles
  • Hard candy
  • Pretzels
  • Nuts, seeds, and coconut
  • Jam, marmalade, and preserves
  • Pickles, olives, relish, and horseradish
  • All desserts containing nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut, or made from whole grains or bran
  • Candy made with nuts or seeds
  • Popcorn

Sample Menu



  • 1/2 cup frozen orange juice (strained without pulp)
  • 1 cup cream of wheat cereal
  • 1 scrambled egg
  • 1 slice white bread
  • 1 teaspoon margarine and grape jelly
  • 1 cup milk
  • drinks of choice
  • 1/2 cup apple juice
  • 3 ounces baked chicken
  • baked potato (no skin)
  • 1/2 cup cooked green beans
  • 1 slice white bread
  • 2 teaspoon margarine
  • 1/2 cup sherbet
  • drinks of choice
  • 3 ounces tender roast beet
  • 1/2 cup white rice
  • 1/2 cup cooked carrots
  • 1 slice white bread
  • 1 teaspoon margarine
  • 1/2 cup canned pears
  • drinks of choice
Evening Snack
  • 1 cup milk
  • 4 graham crackers

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