- Taylor Leahy - Dietitian
Easy low fiber, low-fat snacks for Gastroparesis
Gastroparesis – the scientific term for delayed stomach emptying – can be a frustrating condition that affects many individuals. Gastroparesis is a common symptom of many illnesses including uncontrolled diabetes, certain neurological disorders, or certain medications. It can be caused by a nerve injury which affects the stomach's ability to contract normally -- resulting in heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and feeling full quickly after eating. Luckily, small dietary changes can be made that may improve these symptoms in individuals suffering from this condition1.
Dietary recommendations for gastroparesis include distributing foods throughout the day into 5-6 smaller meals, and choosing foods that are low in fiber and low in fat. Foods low in fiber and fat typically digest easier and pass into the small intestines quicker than foods higher in fiber that require more digestion. Recommendations also include chewing thoroughly and avoiding carbonated beverages2.
Limit fat to 50g a day2 and limit fiber to <2g/serving
Drink plenty of liquids. Liquids leave the stomach quickly by gravity. Liquids are also important for avoiding dehydration and replenishing electrolytes 2.
Make sure to choose high protein foods when able. Individuals with gastroparesis are more likely to suffer from malnutrition if nausea and vomiting occur frequently and due to early satiety-- choosing foods high in protein can help reduce the risk of malnutrition1.
Moving around or doing low intensity physical activity after eating can help stimulate gastric motility. Avoid laying down after eating for at least an hour after meals 2.
Liquid supplements like Ensure or Boost can provide additional calories and protein if you’re not able to meet your needs through diet alone.
Liquid multivitamins are also a great option for better absorption.
Gastroparesis Easy Snack Ideas
Vegetable juice: Vegetable juice is a great snack idea as it is naturally low in fiber and low in fat3. Vegetable juice contains mostly water and some additional antioxidants while avoiding most of the fiber by not consuming the bulk of the vegetable (think of the strings found in celery). The same goes for fruit juices, although many fruit juices are high in added sugar, so choose 100% fruit juices and low pulp options.
Fiber and Total Fat Per 8fl oz (on average): Fiber=1g Fat=0g
Canned fruit: Canned fruits are another good option for individuals with gastroparesis for reasons similar to vegetable juice. Canned fruits don’t have peels and are low in fiber. Good examples include applesauce, canned pears and canned peaches.
Fiber and Total Fat Per 1 cup (on average): Fiber=2.6g Fat=0.2g
Fat free yogurt or cottage cheese: For individuals who do not struggle with lactose intolerance, fat free yogurt or cottage cheese can be a nutritiously dense snack with low amounts of fat and fiber. Fat-free yogurt or cottage cheese are also great sources of protein4. Top these snacks with canned peaches or keep reading for an easy, low fiber smoothie recipe.
Fiber and Total Fat Per 1 cup (on average): Fiber=0g Fat=0.4g
Pancakes or waffles: These are traditionally thought of as breakfast foods, but pancakes and waffles can also be a good option for quick and easy snacks. Traditional or buttermilk pancake mix typically contains around 1g fiber for 3 small pancakes (each 4” across) and are low fat. Choose pancake mix with enriched bleached flour instead of whole wheat flour to ensure a low fiber content. Instead of topping pancakes with butter, use jam or jelly as lower fat alternatives. On a low energy day consider a quick and easy toaster waffle.
Fiber and Total Fat Per 3 small pancakes (4” across): Fiber=1g Fat=3.5g
Mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potato: Mashed potatoes are low in fiber and combined with a low-fat or skim milk, can also be low in fat. For those with lactose intolerance, low-fat alternative milks could be used – such as almond, oat, or soy milk. For ease of cooking use instant mashed potatoes as opposed to homemade mashed potatoes. If you choose to make them from scratch make sure to peel the potatoes prior to mashing.
Fiber and Total Fat Per 1 cup (instant- no milk): Fiber=4g Fat=0.2g
Canned tuna or salmon: Canned tuna or salmon is not only a great low-fat option for individuals with gastroparesis, but it also contains high amounts of protein – a critical nutrient for building muscle and maintaining cellular health. Mix canned tuna or salmon with low-fat mayo or ranch, and add diced pickles for a snack lower in fiber and higher in sodium. Keep reading for my easy low-fat, low fiber tuna melt recipe.
Fiber and Total Fat Per 3oz: Fiber=0g Fat=2.5g
Saltine crackers or pretzels: Saltines and pretzels are a super adaptable snack that can be paired or dipped in pretty much anything. They contain low levels of fiber and fat, but these mostly carbohydrate containing crackers are also low in protein. To boost the protein content, try dipping your choice of cracker in smooth nut butter (crunchy nut butter often has more fiber), low-fat ranch dressing, hummus, honey mustard, or tzatziki sauce.
Fiber and Total Fat Per 5 crackers: Fiber=0.4g Fat=1.3g
Low fat pudding: Low-fat pudding can make a great after dinner dessert or snack throughout the day (heck – even breakfast!). Low-fat pudding is low in fiber which makes it easily digestible. Low-fat, low-fiber topping options include: crushed graham crackers, pie filling (such as cherry), low-fat whipped cream, and canned diced fruit.
Fiber and Total Fat Per 1 pudding cup: Fiber=1g Fat=1.5g
Easy Low-Fat Low Fiber Snack Recipes
Saltine Cracker Tuna Melts
1 can canned tuna
1 tbsp low-fat mayo
Sprinkle garlic powder
12 saltine crackers
2 slices mozzarella cheese
1. Turn oven on to a low broil.
2. Drain tuna. Combine tuna with mayo, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
3. Top saltine crackers with 2 tsp of tuna each. Rip each mozzarella slice into 6 pieces. Top each tuna cracker with one small piece of cheese.
4. Broil tuna crackers for several minutes until the cheese is melted and browned.
Low Fiber Strawberry Peach Smoothie
1 cup strawberry flavored yogurt
1 cup ice*
½ cup canned peaches
½ cup low-fat milk
*for a thicker smoothie, increase amount of ice
1. Blend all ingredients together in a blender or food processor. Serve immediately.
Gastroparesis Management and Treatment. (n.d.). Cleveland Clinic. Retrieved August 19, 2020, from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15522-gastroparesis/management-and-treatment
Gastroparesis Diet for Delayed Stomach Emptying. (2011, November 2). Jackson Siegelbaum Gastroenterology. https://www.gicare.com/gi-health-resources/gastroparesis-diet/
V8® Original. (n.d.). V8®. Retrieved August 12, 2020, from https://www.campbells.com/v8/vegetable-juice-2/v8-original/
Calories in Plain Fat-Free Yogurt | CalorieKing. (n.d.). Retrieved August 12, 2020, from https://www.calorieking.com/us/en/foods/f/calories-in-yogurts-plain-fat-free-yogurt/C906EKMrTI-UCPv_N8XLVQ