Living with Crohn’s doesn’t mean all the tasty snacks are out of the question.
Crohn’s disease is all about finding the right combination of foods that nourish the body, feel good, and of course, taste good.
Sometimes, it can be tricky to come up with snack ideas when your old “go-tos” don’t work for you anymore. But don’t worry, having Crohn’s doesn’t mean you need to steer clear of all the good snacks.
I have some tried-and-true ideas that satisfy the different “moods” I have when it comes to snacking. The best part? They’re all Crohn’s-friendly.
Yogurt is a simple snack that’s easy to prepare and checks off some great nutritional boxes. It’s a probiotic-rich food, and when paired with fruit, it offers prebiotics too.
Probiotics are friendly bacteria that populate the gut microbiome and keep it healthy. Prebiotics are a food source that probiotics consume.
Yogurt also provides some protein, an important macronutrient needed for growth and repair in the body.
If cow’s milk yogurt upsets your digestive system, you have several other options.
Some people find that they tolerate goat’s milk or sheep’s milk yogurt better than cow’s milk. Research supports that goat’s milk is more digestible than cow’s milk for some people. There are also nut-based or coconut-based yogurts free from dairy that still contain probiotics.
I like to add berries, honey or maple syrup, and hemp hearts to my yogurt. You could also add shaved coconut, dark chocolate, nut butter, or chopped nuts.
Grab a couple of slices of gluten-free toast and get creative with your spreads and toppings. I try to add protein and healthy fat to pair with the carbohydrates in the bread for lasting fullness. Personally, I like going half savory and half sweet.
Here are some toast combinations to get you started:
Despite the word “wheat” being in the name, buckwheat is a gluten-free grain. This is great news for those with Crohn’s due to research on gluten triggering gut permeability and inflammation.
Buckwheat groats can be prepared like oatmeal. Combined with toppings, this makes a warm and easily digestible snack.
And just like oats, you simply need to heat buckwheat groats with hot water to eat them, making this a great food to travel with or to store for snack emergencies.
I personally love adding cinnamon, honey, salt, butter, and sometimes berries or banana slices. You can also add chopped nuts or coconut — or an egg to make it savory.
Smoothies aren’t just for breakfast; they can also make a great snack in between meals.
Depending on your tolerance for fiber, the ingredient possibilities are endless. For those going through a flare or influx in symptoms, I recommend trying a smoothie with non-dairy milk or yogurt, banana, avocado, and collagen peptides. If you can tolerate more fiber, try adding a handful of frozen berries or cherries.
Fruit provides antioxidants that help the immune system stay strong and capable of balancing out the oxidants, or stressors, that everyone inevitably encounters.
Collagen peptides are optional, but they provide some protein. There’s also some evidence that collagen can support healthy intestinal tissue, which is useful for people with Crohn’s.
I call meatballs “the original protein ball,” because it’s true: Meatballs are all protein and all delicious. A favorite recipe of mine is from Pinch of Yum.
Feel free to swap in gluten-free panko and leave out the grated cheese — they still come out amazing. I make a batch or two ahead of time so I have a protein-rich snack whenever I want it, or a backup for dinner in case I have nothing to make.
Traditionally, we’ve gotten used to snacks as sweet treats, but we don’t have to only view snacks like this. A snack can be a mini meal or some meatballs. If it nourishes you, then why not?
Whether you’re looking for sweet, warm, crunchy, or hearty, this list of Crohn’s-friendly snacks is one to keep in your back pocket for when the need to snack inevitably hits.
Remember that dietary guidelines are different for each person with Crohn’s. You might need to swap a certain food so that a recipe works for you, and that’s OK. No matter how you switch up these ingredient combinations, I wish you happy snacking.
Medically reviewed on May 16, 2022
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