In this post we’ll share with you a list of our favorite kitchen appliances and gadgets for transforming boring low-fiber recipes into exciting and delicious low-fiber meals that your whole family will love.
A quick bit about fiber…
Many people with active Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis feel better on a low-fiber diet. We suspect that most of you, if not all, have tried a low-fiber diet during your IBD journey. Most healthcare providers will tell their IBD patients to limit or avoid high-fiber foods during flares. When appropriate, Colleen advises her patients to limit their intake of roughage.
Roughage includes the thick skins and stalks of fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, whole grains, and popcorn. Roughage is impossible to digest so it can cause gastrointestinal upset in people with IBD.
For more on fiber and roughage, check out our Guide to a Low-Fiber Diet for Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis.
Low-fiber diets have the reputation of being nutritionally inadequate, cumbersome, bland, boring, and white. But they need not be any of these things!
You can enjoy tasty, nutritious, and colorful low-fiber meals without spending lots of time in your kitchen. Like anything else, you just need the right tools.
Here, the “right” tools are ones that break down the fiber in foods before we eat them. This spares our digestive tracts from the rough fiber while still allowing us to enjoy the food and reap its health benefits.
Each one of these tools can help you eat a better low-fiber diet. Look and decide which ones are right for you. You might need to factor price and kitchen real estate into your decision.
Whatever you decide, the “right” tools for you will open up an entire world of food options you never thought possible on a low-fiber diet.
Happy shopping and cooking!
High Powered Blender
- In our humble opinion, a high-speed blender is an absolute must for people with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. You can use it to make smoothies, soups, sauces and so much more.
- Bertina/Scott: If we had to choose one must-have from this list, it would be a good blender. If all we used it for was to make smoothies, that’d be enough. But, ours makes an appearance at almost every meal. We use it to make soup, “ice cream”, plantain “bread” crumbs, juices and nut milks. As for what blender to buy? We’re still rocking our seven year old Vitamix, which we highly recommend if you can swing its higher price point.
- Colleen: We’re also a Vitamix family. My daily smoothie is super smooth thanks to its powerful high-speed blender. We got ours as an engagement gift because there was no way I was spending hundreds of dollars on a blender! But, I do think it’s worth it if you’re going to use it regularly. If all you’re making are smoothies then you might consider more affordable options, including the Ninja, BlendTec or Bullet.
Of everything on this list, a handheld blender may feel unnecessary, but it sure does make for a faster and easier cooking experience. It’s best for making smaller portions. The clean-up is super easy because you can blend ingredients in the same pot where you cook them. Plus, they take up very little space and are relatively inexpensive.
- A food processor is excellent for labor-intensive tasks, such as slicing or chopping fruits and vegetables. It’s your ultimate time-saving tool.
- Scott and Bertina depend on their food processor to 1) make nut-based gluten-free crusts, 2) prepare hummus, and 3) slice veggies. You could probably use a super blender (e.g. Vitamix) for the first two tasks, but you’ll lose some food in the bottom of the blender and it’s tougher to clean. You can’t slice veggies in a blender.
- Colleen’s top two favorite food processor tasks: 1) shredding veggies to make veggie latkes 2) making Ilene Rosen’s pumpkin seed pesto.
- The Instant Pot functions as a slow cooker (Crock-Pot), pressure cooker, rice cooker and yogurt maker. Slow cookers and pressure cookers yield very soft foods, which are more suitable for low-fiber diets. The rice cooker portion is a bonus. The yogurt maker is handy for people on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet who make their own yogurt.
- Bertina/Scott: We go through phases with our Instant pot. At times it feels indispensable, but then it will lie unused for weeks. That being said, we can’t live without it. If nothing else, it is our bone broth and lentil machine. When we’re in a mood for yogurt, we’ll also make homemade coconut yogurt which, honestly tastes better than any we’ve found in stores.
OK, this one might seem obvious, but everyone with IBD should have a vegetable peeler. It’s not just for carrots and potatoes. Use it to peel away the skins from your favorite fruits and veggies. Scott and Bertina use theirs to peel beets, apples and broccoli stalks.
- Whether you’re trying to gain weight, lose weight or manage your GI symptoms, a food scale is a useful tool. Overeating can lead to unwanted weight gain and digestive upset. Undereating can fuel weight loss, which is scary for many people with IBD. Eyeballing portions work for some, but a food scale is more accurate.
- A food scale is particularly useful for someone following a low-FODMAP diet or another diet with specific serving sizes. Guessing the portion size often results in eating too much or too little of the food.
- Scott loves his food scale to portion out nuts. He can tolerate small amounts if he chews them well, but they’re easy to overeat. Eating too many nuts can ruin the day for someone with IBD.
Where to go from here?
Love them all but can only buy one? We can help. Here’s our ranking in order of priority:
- Vegetable peeler
- Powerful Blender
- Food processor
- Instant Pot or Pressure cooker
- Kitchen scale
- Immersion blender