Danielle’s Top 5 Low Residue Recipes for the Big Game


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I love Super Bowl Sunday, especially when my team is playing (Go Chiefs!). The energy of a big game, a free televised concert, and top-notch commercials make it one of my favorite nights of the year.

But, the mouth-watering appetizers and snacks we see advertised on nearly every channel can cause me to struggle. As a colon cancer survivor, I’ve got to avoid those ooey, gooey, cheesy dips, casseroles and creams. If I don't, I'm doing my own 50-yard dash ... to the bathroom.

Following a low-fiber/low-residue diet helps me stay in the game and enjoy myself without the digestive troubles. If you’re looking for “no penalty” foods and drinks for the upcoming weekend, here are my favorites:

1. Colon-Friendly Trail Mix

Mix in what you like, here ‘s what I use for “safe” trail mix:

  • Cheerios or Chex
  • pretzels
  • Reese’s pieces
  • (if you can handle chocolate – M&Ms or chocolate chips)
  • candy corn
  • small peanut butter crackers (Nutter Butter bites are great)

2. Peanut Butter Greek Yogurt Dip

Mix together ½ cup each of creamy peanut butter, vanilla Greek yogurt and mini chocolate chips (optional). Add ¼ teaspoon cinnamon. Some recipes add honey too – test based on your taste preference! Dip with pretzels (or other foods you know you can handle).

3. Mini Margherita pita pizzas

Pizza with processed meats is a recipe for spending halftime in the bathroom BUT a simple flavorful pita pizza is a great alternative option. This Margherita pita pizza is my favorite. If using fresh tomato, peel and remove all seeds.

4. Simple guacamole

The most basic guacamole is made with avocados, salt and lime juice. Add other mixers as your body can tolerate them. Store-bought tortilla chips are a safe dipper.

5. Sweet Potato Fries

Baked sweet potato fries are one of my favorite things in life. For some people they may have too much fiber, but they've always been a very safe option for me. Make sure to peel the potatoes for a safer outcome. If your recipe includes spicy seasonings, cut them back. I always limit the cayenne and chili powder. (If sweet potatoes aren’t your thing, this roasted carrot recipe is a great alternative.)

Don’t forget that low-residue/low-fiber also means that many cakes, cookies and ice creams are on the SAFE list. Avoid all nuts, coconut, popcorn and dried fruits. Some people can handle chocolate, others cannot.

Eat small to medium amounts of all foods first to see how well you’re tolerating them. The American Cancer Society offers a helpful guide on low residue diets if you need more information.

It is important to remember that eating foods that you cannot tolerate increases your risk of a bowel obstruction. Know the symptoms – severe abdominal pain, decreased appetite, nausea, vomiting, constipation and even diarrhea. Call your doctor or the nearest ER right away if you suspect you may have an obstruction.

What to drink at the party?

It is often harder to find an “inbounds” drink at a big game party. Overall, alcohol is a digestive system stimulant and will get things moving. Beer doesn’t sit well for many of us and wine can also create havoc. Carbonated beverages (especially caffeinated) can also be a trigger for an attack.

Everyone’s body is different, so before you hit the party know what you can and cannot handle. Drinking and eating in moderation (or very small amounts in one setting) will always be one way to reduce the risk of colon troubles.

Here are ideas you want to drink something other than water:

  • Use water and fresh lime juice as a mixer for cocktails
  • Use strained vegetable juice without pulp as a mixer
  • Fresh fruit juice (no pulp) or smoothies made without seeded fruits are a sweet treat

The biggest thing to remember is to stay positive and to train yourself to be selective. Be inspired by the athletes taking the field and be diligent in finding (and following) a diet plan that works for you.

Have a low-residue recipe to share? Comment below!

Note: I am not a nutritionist. These are tips that work for me. I encourage you to work with a nutrition counselor and your doctor to help you discover foods that work best for you. To get started, review this webinar on eating before and after colorectal surgery by Margaret Martin, R.D. at PearlPoint.

3 thoughts on “Danielle’s Top 5 Low Residue Recipes for the Big Game

  1. Thank you for the tips , I had just mention in my support group how surgeons , primary doctors and ongologist, radiologists need to get on the bang wagon and get more personal with their patients about what has been working or not.
    Am really hoping to make it to Washington because I want to among others that can actually relate , I also want to educate myself so I can advocate . And to push for legislation issues that may help us and others in the future.
    Indeed we are all different and ea are individuals with a different system but sharing tips helps I am not alone thank you .

    1. Thanks for the comment Sylvia. I have found it to be very helpful to meet other patients through groups like this so we can connect and chat about tips and tricks in a way our doctors are unable to, there’s power in connecting with one another! We hope you can make it to D.C. or Nashville this spring, would love to meet a fellow survivor! -danielle

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