Tips and Tricks for Holiday Eating With an Ostomy

The holidays are a delicious time of year, but for people with an ostomy, there are some things to keep in mind when it comes to eating and drinking.

Certain foods and drinks may not suit everyone, so checking with your doctor or ostomy nurse before indulging is vital. With a little planning, you can still enjoy all your favourite holiday traditions worry-free.

Here are some tips to make the most of the holidays with an ostomy.

Tip #1 – Always Eat Balanced Meals

Maintaining a balanced diet is important, even during the holidays. Too much sugar and fat can cause diarrhoea, which leads to malabsorption of nutrients and feeling tired and irritable. But you can still enjoy holiday treats by choosing wisely.

For those with a urostomy, non-citrus foods high in Vitamin C can help reduce the risk of infection. Try cranberries, broccoli, potatoes, strawberries and leafy vegetables.

Tip #2 – Chew Your Food Well

If you have an ileostomy or short bowel, chewing your food a little extra can help your body get the nutrients it needs. By breaking down your food into smaller pieces, your body can better absorb the nutrients it needs to function properly.

Additionally, chewing your food thoroughly can help to prevent nausea and vomiting, which are common side effects of having an ileostomy or short bowel.

Tip #3 – Eat Small Meals

Make sure to take breaks and have small meals or snacks throughout the day – eating several small meals is better than waiting for one large one at the end of the day. A bare stomach can also cause gas.

Tip #4 – Put Hydration First

It’s easy to get dehydrated during the holidays with all the hustle and bustle. Focus on good hydration by drinking plenty of water and avoiding sugary, caffeinated, and alcoholic drinks. Sports drinks are a good source of electrolytes but should be diluted with water.

Drink 8-10 glasses of water daily to avoid fatigue, irritability, and nausea. If you have a urostomy, stay extra hydrated to avoid UTIs.

Tip #5 – Ask About Ingredients

Casseroles, dips, cultural specialities, and cakes can often include ingredients that might cause discomfort or even a dangerous blockage for those with an ileostomy.

If not completely ground, corn (which is found in meals like tamales) and dried fruits should also be avoided. Skip over foods that may include any of your trigger foods. Don’t worry; it’s ok to ask.

Tip #6 -Eat Only Safe Foods

If you want to stay safe this holiday season, stick to foods your body can handle. Keep a food journal to help you remember what works for next year.

If you had surgery for a colostomy or ileostomy, avoid these foods, but know that you’ll be able to enjoy most of your holiday favourites soon.

To sum it up, It’s crucial to remember that everyone is different, and each person experiences food differently. Consult your physician or a registered dietician to know what’s best for you.