If you are looking for a meal plan for colonoscopy prep to make your life easier, I’ve got you covered. Alright, so you’ve scheduled your colonoscopy and the day has come to prepare for the big day. The good news is that this preparation is simple. All you need to do is follow a detailed meal plan which does not require a lot of time or effort to create.
The Best Diet Pre-Colonoscopy
Before your colonoscopy, white rice, tofu, and broth are all healthy things to include in your soft, low-residue diet.
A few days prior to your procedure, you must alter your diet if you are scheduled for a colonoscopy. It can therefore assist your procedure go as well as possible if you are aware of the foods to eat prior to a colonoscopy.
A colonoscopy is a procedure when your doctor looks inside your colon using a scope with a camera on the end. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, it can detect inflamed tissue, ulcers, polyps, cancer, as well as other gastrointestinal conditions like Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis.
As a result, it’s critical to adhere to your colonoscopy prep food instructions to ensure that your doctor can examine your intestines without interference. Everything you need to know about your pre-colonoscopy diet, including items to eat, steer clear of, and recipes to try, is provided here.
A week before your colonoscopy, stock up on the best pre-colonoscopy meals and make a diet plan. In this way, you won’t have to bother about meal preparation in the days leading up to your exam and can concentrate on cleansing your digestive system.
Pre-Colonoscopy Diet Plan
According to the Colorectal Cancer Alliance, you should start changing your diet around five days before your surgery to give your body enough time to adequately clear out (CCA).
The following diet advice should be kept in mind before your colonoscopy.
1. Eat Low-Fiber Foods
Eat a low-fiber (or low-residue) diet in the days before your colonoscopy, suggests a StatPearls article from May 2021. In order to ensure that your colon is as clean as possible for the surgery, a low-residue diet restricts fibrous foods, which have a tendency to leave remains in your digestive tract.
The majority of colonoscopy preparation instructions suggest beginning this diet three to five days prior to your procedure, so speak with your doctor about the best time to start eating low-fiber meals like:
- Refined grains like white rice, white bread and plain crackers
At the same time, cut out high-fiber foods like:
- Nuts and seeds
- Raw fruits and vegetables with skin
- Certain vegetables like broccoli, Brussels sprouts and kale
- Whole grains like bread, pasta, brown or wild rice, cereals, shredded wheat and granola
- Legumes like beans, lentils and peas
The StatPearls article also recommends limiting or avoiding other high-residue diet foods such as milk and milk products like ice cream.
A low-residue diet (for colonoscopies or other procedures) should only be followed for a short period of time unless your doctor recommends otherwise, per the Mayo Clinic. It doesn’t supply enough fiber and other nutrients to keep you nourished in the long-term.
2. Stop Taking Supplements and Certain Medicines
The CCA advises delaying vitamin, herbal, and iron supplements until five days before your treatment, and stopping any aspirin- and ibuprofen-containing medications six days before your procedure. This is so that your doctor may examine your colon without the aid of any medications or dietary supplements that promote good health.
The CCA states that you can continue taking the majority of prescription medications in the days leading up to your surgery. Simply let your doctor know what medications you take so they can inform you of any special instructions you need to be aware of before to a colonoscopy.
3. Follow a Liquid Diet
The day before your exam, you’ll only eat clear liquids, per the CCA. This is vital to help your doctor get the best view possible so they don’t miss any polyps and so you don’t have to repeat the procedure in the near future, per the Mayo Clinic.
4. Stay Hydrated
Make sure to stay well-hydrated in the days before your procedure, according to the CCA. Drink plenty of water or other hydrating beverages like tea — particularly on the day of your laxative prep — to replenish any lost fluids.
Sample Menu Before Your Colonoscopy
You can eat eggs as part of a light breakfast a few days before your colonoscopy.
Unsure what you can eat for your colonoscopy prep? Here are some meal options to consider.
1. Four Days Before
You can still eat somewhat normally four days before a colonoscopy, as long as you start to cut down on fiber. The CCA recommends a light breakfast and low-fiber meals throughout the day, such as:
- Breakfast: Eggs with white toast and jam
- Lunch: Turkey sandwich on white bread with avocados and baked potato chips
- Dinner: Grilled chicken thighs, sautéed mushrooms and white rice cooked in chicken broth
2. Three Days Before
You can still eat solid things three days before your colonoscopy. Here are the CCA’s suggested low-residue diet recipes:
- Breakfast: Greek yogurt with bananas and honey
- Lunch: Tuna with olive oil and lemon juice on sourdough bread, honeydew melon cubes
- Dinner: Salmon (no food coloring) with sautéed spinach and garlic
3. Two Days Before
You’ll start to eat fewer solid foods in the two days before your colonoscopy. The CCA suggests the following:
- Breakfast: Half of a cantaloupe with Greek yogurt and honey
- Lunch: Turkey sandwich on sourdough bread, honeydew melon cubes
- Dinner: Orecchiette pasta
4. The Day Before
You can’t eat any solid foods the day before a colonoscopy, according to Kaiser Permanente. Instead, you’ll need to follow a clear liquid diet, which includes fluids like:
- Pulp-free juice like white grape or apple juice
- Electrolyte sports drinks
- Clear sodas like ginger ale
- Tea or coffee (without milk or cream)
- Low-residue desserts like ice pops, fruit ice, fruit-flavored gelatin or Jell-O
- Clear hard candy like lemon drops
- Clear soups and broths like vegetable, beef and chicken broth or bouillon
- Clear nutrition or protein drinks like Ensure Clear or Pediasure Clear
That doesn’t mean you can have just any liquids the day before a colonoscopy, though. Steer clear of the following foods that can leave residue in your colon:
- Milk and other dairy products
- Juice with pulp, like orange or prune juice
- Ice pops made with chunks of real fruit
- Soups with vegetables, noodles, rice or cream
- Anything pureed that is cloudy or creamy
- Stock, miso soup and bone broth
- Red, blue and purple liquids
According to Kaiser Permanente, you will also take a prep laxative the day before (and typically the day of) your colonoscopy to flush out the residual contents of your colon. Follow the directions on the laxative you were prescribed, and take it at home where you will always have access to a bathroom.
How to Prepare for Your Colonoscopy Day
Water included, you must cease consuming any liquids two hours prior to the exam. Have a family member pick you up and take you to the surgery. According to the Cleveland Clinic, you will be given anesthesia for the examination, which normally lasts 30 minutes.
You will discuss any results with your doctor in the recovery room afterward. You ought to receive the findings of any colon biopsy within a few weeks.
Soon after your treatment, you can start eating solid foods again. After 24 hours, you can resume regular activities like driving and working out.
Eat to Prevent Colon Cancer
A colonoscopy is a key way to detect colorectal cancer, which is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the U.S., per the CCA. In fact, a September 2013 study in The New England Journal of Medicine estimated that 40 percent of colorectal cancers could have been prevented through colonoscopy screening.
Lifestyle choices like a healthy diet and regular exercise may also help prevent cancer, according to Rush. Here are some anti-cancer diet tips to keep in mind:
- Eat mostly plant-based meals
- Limit red meat and stay away from processed meats like bacon and sausage
- Limit added sugars like in baked goods and candy
- Eat plenty of fiber
- Eat plenty of calcium and vitamin D
Even if you lead a healthy lifestyle, you should still abide by your doctor’s advice and schedule routine colonoscopies. If you are at average risk, the American Cancer Society advises having your initial screening at age 45 and subsequent checkups every ten years. Ask your doctor how frequently you should get an exam if they believe you to be at increased risk owing to genetics or a family history of digestive disorders.
Still not sure what foods you can eat in the days before a colonoscopy? Discuss your diet with your doctor to make sure everything you plan to eat is in line with their recommendations.
How to Prepare for a Colonoscopy
One of the best ways to detect or assist in preventing colon cancer is through a colonoscopy. However, a lot of people who need the procedure don’t get it. Frequently, this is because they are terrified of the preparation process.
For your doctor to examine your colon properly, it must be empty and free of debris. You’ll need to fast and take potent laxatives prior to make that happen. Although it’s uncomfortable and inconvenient, it’s only temporary, and it could even save your life.
Here’s how to streamline the procedure as much as you can.
Step 1: Plan Your Prep
The best person to ask for advice on preparation is your doctor. You will get instructions after the operation has been scheduled. Before your appointment, go over them thoroughly. If you have any questions, call your doctor.
Make plans for a companion to accompany you on the day of the colonoscopy, and free up your schedule the night before and the day of the procedure.
Shop for some essential things a few days beforehand as well. On your list, you might have
- A prescription or over-the-counter laxative specified by your doctor
- Low-fiber food
- Sports drinks, juices, and broths
- Moist wipes
- Diaper cream
Step 2: Tweak Your Diet
You can help the cleansing process by eating light 3 or 4 days before the procedure. Doctors recommend low-fiber foods that are easy to digest and leave your system quickly.
You can have:
- White bread, pasta, and rice
- Well-cooked vegetables without skin
- Fruit without skin or seeds
- Lean meat, chicken, or fish
- Seeds, nuts, or popcorn
- Fatty foods
- Tough meat
- Whole grains
- Raw vegetables
- Fruit with seeds or peel
- Corn, broccoli, cabbage, beans, or peas
At this point you should stop taking vitamins or other supplements. Ask your doctor whether and when you should stop taking any prescription medicines you use regularly, and any over-the-counter anti-inflammatory or blood thinning meds you may use.
Step 3: The Fast
You can’t eat anything substantial the day before your operation. You can only drink transparent (clear) liquids. Drinking plenty of clear liquids, such as sports drinks, clear juices like apple and white grape, and clear broth, is crucial for maintaining hydration. Without milk, soda, coffee, and tea are OK. You can eat gelatin and ice pops, but avoid foods that are red, blue, or purple in color. The lining of the colon may become discolored by the dyes, making it more difficult for the doctor to view. Avoid alcohol as well as transparent beverages like milk and orange juice.
Make sure you don’t eat or drink anything for two to four hours prior to the surgery (please consult your doctor on the exact time stop consuming clear liquids)..
Step 4: The Purge
The night before your colonoscopy you’ll take strong laxatives to clear your digestive tract. The method recommended for most people is called split dosing. You’ll drink a half-gallon of liquid laxative in the evening. Then you’ll get up about 6 hours before your appointment to drink another half-gallon.
You probably won’t enjoy the taste of the solution, but there are tricks to help get it down:
- Mix it with something flavored, like a sports drink or powdered drink mix.
- Keep it well chilled.
- Drink it through a straw placed far back on your tongue.
- Follow it with a sip of something good tasting.
- Suck on a lemon slice or piece of hard candy after drinking.
Once the laxative starts working, you’ll have frequent, forceful diarrhea. You may have cramps and bloating. If you have hemorrhoids, they may become irritated. You may also feel nauseated and even vomit. If so, your doctor may recommend you take a short break.
Try these tips to make yourself as comfortable as possible:
- Stay in the bathroom — bring something to entertain yourself, like a book, television, or laptop.
- Apply diaper cream before the diarrhea starts.
- Use moist or medicated wipes to clean yourself.
As you make your way to your appointment, the purging procedure can still be in progress. Consider wearing adult diapers and packing extra clothing if you’re concerned about having an accident.
If you followed the procedure correctly and it succeeded, your feces should have the appearance of clear water or urine.
Although the procedure is difficult, keep in mind that it is a wise move to safeguard your health. Your colonoscopy will go more quickly if you are well-prepared because your doctor will be able to see what they need. If your outcomes are positive, it can be ten years before you have to undergo the procedure once more.
Preparing for a colonoscopy
Diet, tips, and instructions for a smooth colonoscopy prep
It’s likely that the “prep” is making you anxious if the idea of getting a colonoscopy to look for concealed colon cancer makes you cringe. The preparation for the procedure takes significantly longer than the three to four hours you’ll spend at the hospital the day of your colonoscopy—an average of 16 hours, according to one research. However, the purgative aspect—taking a potent bowel-clearing drug and dealing with the ensuing diarrhea—is the most unsettling.
The trouble is worthwhile. Small colon cancers can be detected via a colonoscopy while they are still curable and before they have spread to other body areas. Additionally, polyps, which are tiny growths that can progress into colon cancer, can be found and removed. The second biggest cause of cancer-related fatalities in the United States is colorectal cancer, which is the term for colon and rectal cancers collectively. Colorectal cancer is the third most frequent type of cancer in both men and women.
What’s involved in colonoscopy prep?
A successful colonoscopy relies heavily on emptying the colon’s contents. If the stool preparation is inadequate, polyps and lesions may be overlooked, the colonoscopy may take longer than necessary (raising the risk of problems), or the entire procedure may need to be repeated or rescheduled, requiring further bowel preparation.
Different medical facilities advise different methods for getting the bowel ready for a colonoscopy. Diet and the consumption of bowel-cleansing drinks are the two components. The main tactics are listed below.
Colonoscopy prep diet
A few days before the colonoscopy procedure — Start eating a low-fiber diet: no whole grains, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, or raw fruits or vegetables.
The day before the colonoscopy procedure — Don’t eat solid foods. Instead, consume only clear liquids like clear broth or bouillon, black coffee or tea, clear juice (apple, white grape), clear soft drinks or sports drinks, Jell-O, popsicles, etc.
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The day of the colonoscopy procedure — As on the previous day, clear liquid foods only. Don’t eat or drink anything two hours before the procedure.
Bowel prep for colonoscopy
Drink a substance that will cause bowel-clearing diarrhea the afternoon or evening before the colonoscopy. Depending on the bowel preparation your doctor favors, the date of your colonoscopy, and any prior colon prep experience you may have had (if one didn’t work before, you’ll probably be prescribed a different one), your specific colonoscopy preparation instructions will vary.
The American Gastroenterological Association, American College of Gastroenterology, and American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy have all given their approval to a number of typical bowel preparations. To discuss which option is most suitable for you, speak with your clinician.
Colonoscopy prep tips
Preparing for a colonoscopy may be uncomfortable and time-consuming, but it needn’t be an ordeal. Here are some things you can do to help it go as smoothly and comfortably as possible:
- Make sure you receive your colonoscopy prep instructions well before your procedure date and read them completely as soon as you get them. This is the time to call your clinician with any questions and to buy the bowel prep she or he has prescribed. Pick up some medicated wipes (for example, Tucks or adult wet wipes with aloe and vitamin E) and a skin-soothing product such as Vaseline or Desitin — you’re going to be experiencing high-volume, high-velocity diarrhea.
- Arrange for the time and privacy you need to complete the prep with as little stress as possible. Clear your schedule, and be at home on time to start your prep. If you have children or aging parents who need attention, have someone else be available to them while you’re indisposed.
- Water can get boring, so keep a variety of clear liquids on hand. On the day before your colonoscopy — when you’re restricted to clear liquids — you can have popsicles, Jell-O, clear broth, coffee or tea (without milk or creamer), soft drinks, Italian ice, or Gatorade. But take nothing with red, blue, or purple dye. Drink extra liquids before, during, and after your bowel prep (usually until a few hours before your procedure), as well as after your colonoscopy.
- To make a bad-tasting liquid prep like magnesium citrate easier to swallow, try one or more of the following if it doesn’t come flavored: add some Crystal Light or Kool-Aid powder (again, not red, blue, or purple); add some ginger or lime; drink it chilled; drink it through a straw placed far back on your tongue; hold your nose and drink it as quickly as possible; quickly suck on a lemon slice after you finish each glass; hold a lemon or lime under your nose while you drink; suck on a hard candy after each glass.
- Wear loose clothing and stay near the bathroom. Better yet, once the preparation starts to work, stay in the bathroom — because when the urge hits, it’s hard to hold back. Consider setting up shop near the toilet with music, your laptop, magazines, or books.