Enjoy the season’s cookouts without triggering Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis symptoms.
Warm summer weather brings all the barbecues, pool parties, and picnics. These activities are usually fun but if you have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), certain foods may exacerbate bowel symptoms. As someone who lives with Crohn’s disease, I have been to my fair share of parties during a flare where the only thing I felt comfortable eating was the fruit salad.
When you’re hosting the event, you have full control over the menu. However, when you’re the guest, you have to be more strategic in choosing foods that won’t cause distress. Below are some tips on eating well at summer barbecues when you have IBD, along with IBD-friendly recipes to try.
Many people find hamburgers easy to tolerate, as they often contain just one main ingredient — plain ground beef — potentially with some spices added in. If you avoid gluten or grains, you can bring your own gluten-free bun or, if you tolerate lettuce, use it as a wrap for your burger or make a burger bowl. You could also choose to eat your burger without any bun or wrapper and perhaps just add some avocado and your favorite condiments.
Steak is another safer meat that is delicious with just simple seasoning. Chicken is usually a safe bet, too, though some hosts may marinate these meats or add sauces before grilling.
If you’re nervous about barbecue sauce or marinades, you can ask your host to grill your meat plain or with minimal seasoning. Just be sure to place your request well in advance, since some hosts may put everything in the same tub of marinade before the party even begins.
Hot dogs often contain fillers and nitrates, which could be troublesome for a sensitive stomach. Look for higher quality, nitrate-free hot dogs or natural brats or other sausages for a summer treat.
If you’re the host, consider showing off your culinary skills with these recipes:
The Defined Dish’s grilled sesame chicken skewers paired with her ginger-scallion rice will be sure to impress any guest.
The Whole Food for 7 blog has a Whole30 chicken BBQ pineapple kabobs recipe. Even if you leave out the homemade barbecue sauce and season everything with safe spices, the pineapple juice and olive oil should still result in a flavorful entrée.
The Seasoned Mom makes a perfect 15-minute grilled salmon that’s a summer classic, pairing nicely with grilled asparagus and rice.
If beans and corn do not agree with you, you may want to avoid the grilled-in-its-husk corn on the cob and the black bean salad. On the other hand, some folks with IBD have no problems with black beans. If that’s you, the Cookies and Kate blog has a delicious, fresh black bean salad recipe. If corn is a concern, leave that ingredient out.
Potato salad is another summer classic. My paleo potato salad recipe is a healthier twist on traditional potato salad, using less processed ingredients.
Be careful about eating any casserole or salad with mayonnaise that has been sitting out in the sun or eating undercooked meat. This can cause food poisoning for anyone, but food poisoning can be worse for those with IBD and potentially trigger a flare.
Guacamole is another versatile classic. You can top your burger, chicken, or salad with guacamole, or enjoy it as a dip with carrots, or chips. If you don’t tolerate corn tortilla chips, you may enjoy tortilla chips made with coconut flour or almond flour.
The “best ever guacamole” recipe on Downshiftology might be a good recipe to try if you volunteer to bring the guac. If spice is a trigger for your symptoms, leave out the jalapeño. Want to add some extra vegetables to your guacamole? Try my souped-up paleo guacamole recipe with hidden carrot and zucchini inside.
If you’re concerned about summer barbecue food triggering your IBD symptoms, consider bringing a dish to share that you know you’ll tolerate. Others will enjoy trying your dish, and you’ll have the peace of mind that your body will allow you to enjoy the festivities.
Medically reviewed on August 01, 2022
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