Healthy Eating Guidelines For Reducing Dietary Fibre

Download PDF:


You may need to lower the amount of fibre in your diet for a short time to help with gas, cramping or diarrhea. You can usually add back more high fibre foods once you feel better. Check with your doctor if you have questions about when and whether you can eat more fibre.


If you need a low fibre diet for a bowel obstruction, check with your doctor about whether these guidelines are suitable. Lower fibre levels than this may be needed.

Steps You Can Take

  • Have balanced meals. Choose a variety of foods from the low fibre food choices. You need foods from all four of the food groups from "Eating Well with Canada's Food Guide" every day, so aim to include at least three of the four food groups at each meal.
  • Fibre is mainly found in whole grains, legumes (dried beans, peas, and lentils), fruit and vegetables. Aim to have the lower end of Canada's Food Guide recommendations for grains, vegetables and fruit. Be cautious when eating larger amounts, especially of whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Cooking, chopping or blending food does not change the fibre content, but peeling and removing seeds lowers the fibre content.
  • Some of the foods on the low fibre list may not agree with you. If a food makes your symptoms worse, do not eat it for a while until you feel better.
  • Add back higher fibre foods one at a time and in small amounts. If the food disagrees with you, avoid it and try it again at a later time.

Choose foods from the Low Fibre category most often and avoid or limit foods from the Higher Fibre foods list.

Grain Products

Goal: choose 6-8 servings per day (1 serving = 1 slice of bread (35 g), 175 mL (¾ cup) cooked cereal, 125 mL (½ cup) cooked pasta or rice)

  Low Fibre Foods (less than 2 g of fibre per serving) Higher Fibre Foods
Cereals Cream of Wheat®, cream of rice, Cornflakes®, puffed rice, Rice Krispies®, Special K® (or any cold breakfast cereal with less than 2 g of fibre per serving) Red River®, Sunny Boy®, oatmeal, oat bran, bran cereals (like All-Bran®, bran flakes), shredded wheat cereals, Just Right®, puffed wheat
Breads White bagels, buns, biscuits, English muffins, waffles, pancakes, pita or flour tortilla; white or oatmeal bread Any bread product made with 100% whole grain flour, bran, nuts, seeds or dried fruits, pumpernickel or rye bread
Other White or brown rice, white pasta, chow mein noodles, rice noodles Wheat bran, barley, whole wheat pasta, Catelli Smart™ pasta, popcorn

Vegetables and Fruit

Goal: Choose about 7 servings per day (1 serving = 125 ml (½ cup) cooked vegetables, 250 ml (1 cup) salad or leafy greens, 125 ml (½ cup) cooked or canned fruit, 125 ml (½ cup) juice)

  Low Fibre Foods (less than 2 g of fibre per serving) Higher Fibre Foods
Vegetables Mashed potato, beets, yellow or green beans, celery, bean sprouts, bamboo shoots, peppers, cabbage, onion, tomato, summer squash, cauliflower, bok choy, mushroom, cucumber, raw spinach, lettuce

Well-cooked vegetables may be tolerated best.
Peas, carrots, corn, baked potato with skin, pumpkin, cooked spinach, winter squash, parsnip, broccoli, sweet potato, beet greens
Fruit Cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew melon, mandarin orange, pineapple, peeled fresh apple, canned fruit cocktail, applesauce, mango, grapes Dried fruits, all berries, kiwi, banana, pears, apple with skin, papaya, orange, grapefruit
Other Fruit or vegetable juices  

Meat and Alternatives

Goal: 2-3 servings per day (1 serving = 75 g (2 ½ oz)/125 mL (½ cup) meat, fish, poultry or fish; 150 g or 175 mL (¾ cup) tofu, 2 eggs, 175 mL (¾ cup) cooked legumes, 30 mL (2 Tbsp) peanut butter)

  Low Fibre Foods (less than 2 g of fibre per serving) Higher Fibre Foods
Meats and Alternatives

Beef, pork, chicken, turkey, fish, seafood, eggs, sliced meats, smooth peanut butter, almond butter

Cook meats until tender.

All beans, dried peas and lentils (kidney, navy, lima, chickpeas, split peas), nuts and seeds

Milk and Alternatives

Goal: 2-3 servings per day (1 serving = 250 mL (1 cup) milk, 175 mL (¾ cup) yogurt, 50 g (1 ½ oz) natural cheese, 2 processed cheese slices)

  Low Fibre Foods (less than 2 g of fibre per serving) Higher Fibre Foods
Milk and Alternatives All plain dairy products (milk, yogurt, cheese), rice or soy drinks Any dairy product containing berries or nuts

Other Foods

  Low Fibre Foods (less than 2 g of fibre per serving) Higher Fibre Foods
Beverages Coffee, tea, soft drinks  
Condiments Butter, margarine, oils, salad dressing, ketchup, gravy, jelly Jam or marmalade
Dessert Plain cake or cookies; sherbet, Jello®, frozen yogurt, ice milk or ice cream, pudding, custard, hard candy, marshmallow Pies, cakes, cookies made with high fibre fruits, dried fruits, or nuts

These resources are provided as sources of additional information believed to be reliable and accurate at the time of publication and should not be considered an endorsement of any information, service, product or company.

Distributed by:

Dietitian Services at HealthLinkBC (formerly Dial-A-Dietitian), providing free nutrition information and resources for BC residents and health professionals. Go to Healthy Eating or call 8-1-1 (anywhere in BC). Interpreters are available in over 130 languages.

Is it an emergency?

If you or someone in your care has chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe bleeding, it could be a life-threatening emergency. Call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number immediately.
If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control now at 1-800-567-8911.

Thanks to our partners and endorsers: