What To Eat After A Colonoscopy

Posted By Author on April 25, 2022

Your colonoscopy is a simple procedure, but it is important to follow your GI specialist’s instructions before and after your visit. While colonoscopy prep often receives more attention, there are a few things to keep in mind following your procedure as well.

For instance, a common question is, “What Can I Eat After A Colonoscopy?”

icon highlighting healthy diet vs poor diet for what I can eat after a colonoscopy


Key Takeaways

  • Physicians recommend foods that are soft or low-residue foods that are easy on your GI tract post-colonoscopy.
  • Colonoscopy prep can cause dehydration, so it is important to stay hydrated and to drink plenty of fluids after the colonoscopy.
  • It is critical that you follow your doctor’s instructions to help you make a smooth recovery and return to your normal eating habits within a full day.

So, What Can I Eat Before and After a Colonoscopy?

Here’s what you need to know:

-Before a Colonoscopy-

For a few days leading up to your colonoscopy, try to follow a low-fiber diet. Then, the day before your procedure, avoid solid food altogether and stick to a clear liquid diet.

The following clear liquids are approved:

  • Water, including mineral water
  • Soda
  • Club soda
  • Black coffee (without cream or milk)
  • Tea (without cream or milk)
  • Sports drinks containing electrolytes
  • Apple juice
  • Honey
  • Flavored gelatin
  • Clear broth

Note: Do not eat or drink ANYTHING the morning of your colonoscopy.

-After a Colonoscopy-

Your gastroenterologist will likely recommend consuming easily digestible foods to allow your colon to recover. Fatty, rich foods and those with a high fiber content, for instance, should be avoided.

These foods are healthy options to enjoy for about a day after your procedure:

  • Applesauce
  • Yogurt
  • Canned fruit (without any skins)
  • Jell-O
  • Popsicles
  • Graham crackers
  • Saltine crackers
  • Soup
  • Pudding
  • Potatoes (mashed or baked)
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Tender white fish
  • Fully cooked vegetables
  • White bread/toast
  • Smooth nut butter

These drinks can help keep you hydrated:

  • Sports drinks with electrolytes
  • Fruit juices
  • Herbal tea
  • Vegetable juice
  • Water

Foods & Drinks You Need To Avoid After Your Colonoscopy

In the hours following your colonoscopy, avoid these foods:

  • Spicy or heavily-seasoned foods
  • Fried foods
  • Nuts or crunchy nut butters
  • Popcorn
  • Legumes
  • Brown rice
  • Whole-grain bread
  • Raw veggies
  • Fruit with the skin on
  • Tough, chewy meats like steak

It is best to avoid these beverages as well:

  • Alcohol
  • Coffee with cream
  • Highly acidic juice, like grapefruit, orange, pineapple or tomato
  • Juice, popsicles, or gelatins with red or purple dye
  • Milk
  • Smoothies

colonoscopy exam, colonoscopy procedure, before colonoscopy, after colonoscopy , what can I eat after colonoscopy

How to Prep

Be sure to follow your GI doctor’s instructions carefully to properly prepare for your colonoscopy.

  • Maintain a clear liquid diet the day before your colonoscopy
  • Drink the cleansing solution / complete the bowel prep kit
  • Stay hydrated
  • Do NOT eat or drink anything the morning of your procedure
  • Inform your gastroenterologist of all your medications beforehand

Will I Need to Schedule a Follow-Up Appointment After a Colonoscopy?

Yes, you may possibly need a follow-up appointment post-colonoscopy. This is typically due to what your physician discovered during the initial colonoscopy procedure. 

So, be sure to schedule a follow-up meeting with your doctor to discuss the results and their recommendations for the next steps if anything of concern is discovered.

When Should I Contact Doctor for Complications After a Colonoscopy?

Many patients understand that it’s post-colonoscopy to watch what you eat. 

However, let us add that there are other things to keep in mind. While the procedure is generally safe, some patients might face some complications after leaving the medical facility. 

A common issue patients complain of is stomach pain, which typically goes away within a day or two. However, if you experience any of the following more serious problems, it’s crucial to contact your doctor immediately:

  • Fever
  • Severe stomach pain or cramping
  • A hard stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Difficulty passing gas or having bowel movements
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Bloody bowel movements

These symptoms might indicate a more significant problem, and it’s essential to seek medical attention promptly to ensure your well-being.

Schedule Your Appointment with Charleston GI Today! No Referral Needed!

Our gastroenterologists are proud to provide a higher standard of caring – close to home! We offer 4 convenient office locations in Summerville, Carnes Crossroads, Mt. Pleasant, and West Ashley.

Charleston GI doctors are ready 5 days a week to offer you medical relief. Our team of GI specialists is excited to meet you, so schedule your appointment today!

More Helpful Gastrointestinal Blogs



How long after a colonoscopy can you eat normally?

In general, you can eat normally within a day after your colonoscopy. However, your physician may recommend a restricted diet, such as soft foods or low-residue foods that are gentle on your digestive system. It is best to speak directly to your physician for diet recommendations and to know the potential recovery time.


Can I eat a big meal after a colonoscopy?

No, it is not recommended to eat a big meal after a colonoscopy. Your physician will likely suggest soft foods or low-residue foods that are easy on your GI tract. It is best to speak directly to your physician for diet recommendations and to know the potential recovery time.


Can I eat solid foods after a colonoscopy?

Typically, your doctor will recommend you eat soft or low-residue foods that are gentle on your digestive system. Heavy foods can cause discomfort, such as bloating or gas. Some light food suggestions include eggs, white toast, applesauce, lean chicken (without skin), mashed potatoes, or softly cooked veggies.


What happens if I make a mistake and eat the wrong food post-colonoscopy?

After a colonoscopy, it’s crucial to follow your doctor’s instructions to recover properly. Eating certain types of food can cause discomfort or even complications with the procedure.


For instance, if you eat high-fiber foods like raw fruits, vegetables, or whole grains, it can put extra pressure on your colon, causing pain and increasing the risk of complications. Also, eating fatty or greasy foods can lead to indigestion and other digestive problems. So, it’s essential to stick to the recommended diet to avoid any issues.


What is the quickest and safest method to recover from a colonoscopy?

The best method for a safe and fast recovery after a colonoscopy is to simply follow all the instructions provided by your doctor. Yes, the doctor knows best. 


So, be sure to make sure you are following through with any prescribed medication, staying hydrated with plenty of fluids (water is best), resting, low-activity habits and eating light meals (soft foods and low-residue foods) at minimum a full day post-colonoscopy.


What is the best thing to eat after a colonoscopy?

In most cases, your physician will suggest eating the following foods after a colonoscopy:

  • White fish
  • Applesauce
  • Soup
  • Gelatin or pudding
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Canned or jarred fruit
  • White toast or bread (e.g., low-fiber breads)
  • Cooked vegetables (e.g., well-steamed, baked, or sauteed vegetables that are cooked until tender)


How soon after a colonoscopy can you eat?

You can begin eating light meals soon after a colonoscopy, unless instructed otherwise by your physician. Be sure to stick to light foods to avoid discomfort in your GI tract, which could result in excessive gas and bloating. Also, avoid drinking alcohol for the next 24 hours after the colonoscopy.


Can I eat ice cream after a colonoscopy?

No, ice cream should not be on your food list soon after a colonoscopy. You should avoid sugary, fatty foods, and dairy products. It is best to consult your physician directly for diet recommendations.


Can I eat pizza the day after a colonoscopy?

Yes, you can have a low-fiber pizza after a colonoscopy. However, ensure it is low-fiber, the pizza sauce is low in sugar, and avoid dairy toppings and red meats. Eating heavier ingredients too soon may cause discomfort. A thin-crust veggie pizza would be a suitable option after a colonoscopy.


After a colonoscopy, is it okay to eat a burger?

It is not recommended to eat a burger after a colonoscopy. After the procedure, it’s best to stick to easy-to-digest foods that aid in your digestive tract’s recovery and reduce symptoms like gas and bloating. Common foods to avoid include acidic fruits, fatty dairy, red meat, and raw fruits or vegetables. To ensure successful results, it’s essential to consult your doctor about which ingredients to avoid.


Can I eat pasta after a colonoscopy?

Yes, low-fiber foods like pasta are recommended after a colonoscopy. These foods are easy to digest and won’t strain your GI system, which is crucial for post-colonoscopy recovery.


Is it okay to eat white rice after a colonoscopy?

Yes, low-fiber foods like rice are fine to have after a colonoscopy.


Are mashed potatoes good after a colonoscopy?

Yes, low-fiber potatoes are a great food option after a colonoscopy.


Can you eat oatmeal after a colonoscopy?

No, high-fiber foods like oatmeal should be avoided post-colonoscopy. Other foods to steer clear of include high-grain/high-fiber bread, rolls, pasta, crackers, cereal with nuts or seeds, granola, raisin bran, and oatmeal.


Can I eat salad after a colonoscopy?

Yes, having a salad is a suitable choice for a solid food post-colonoscopy and can be beneficial.


Can I eat noodle soup after a colonoscopy?

Yes, chicken noodle soup is an excellent option after a colonoscopy because it includes low-residue foods like lean protein, refined noodles, and plenty of liquid.


Is it OK to eat a grilled cheese sandwich after a colonoscopy?

It is best to avoid dairy after a colonoscopy, so eating a grilled cheese sandwich would not be recommended. However, low-fiber bread is okay.

How do you heal your gut after a colonoscopy?

After a colonoscopy, you can heal your gut by adding prebiotic and probiotic foods to your daily diet. Prebiotics, found in foods like psyllium, garlic, artichokes, chicory, and black salsify, provide essential nourishment for beneficial bacteria.

On top of that, there are the benefits of probiotics, which are the good bacteria. They can be consumed through foods or supplements to support gut health.

What is a colonoscopy?

A colonoscopy is a procedure performed to detect abnormalities in the large intestine (colon) and rectum. During your colonoscopy, a GI specialist will insert a long, flexible tube with a light and video camera attached into your rectum. This allows for a thorough inspection of the inside of your colon and rectum in real time. It also provides the opportunity for your gastroenterologist to take tissue samples or remove polyps if necessary.