Some people enjoy the tradition of setting a New Year’s resolution. While adding healthy, balanced snacks into your diet sounds like a good goal for most of us, these small meals can help young people with IBD meet their nutritional needs. If solid food is currently part of your/your child's eating plan this list of snack and smoothie recipes, and dietary exceptions may be useful to you.

Snacks are important to children and teens and can help them meet their nutritional needs. Snacking can be an opportunity to add important nutrients like protein, calcium, and iron to the diet. Here are three tips from ICN dietitians for healthy snacking success:

💚 Plan ahead! Make a list for the grocery store so you have healthy snacks and ingredients on hand at home or school. Prepare snacks ahead of time so they are easy to grab when hunger strikes.

💙 Be mindful! Eating mindfully means thinking about each bite. This habit can help slow down our eating so we can stop before we get overly full.

💚 Embrace variety! Choosing different fruits for a smoothie or yogurt parfait, or different raw vegetables dipped in hummus can engage the tastebuds and offer a variety of nutrition benefits. Experimenting with new spices or herbs in your recipes can be exciting.

Snack Ideas

Avocado tofu toast

Increase protein in your diet by adding tofu to a favorite snack.

Spread half of a mashed avocado over toast. Squeeze some lemon juice on top of the avocado.

In a small skillet, crumble and cook ⅓ of a block of tofu. Season with salt and pepper. Add other spices if you would like. Place tofu on the top of the avocado toast.

Avocado toast with egg

One egg can add 6 grams of protein to a snack.

Prepare your avocado toast how you like it, and place sliced hardboiled egg on top. 

#InTheLOOP ➝ I never liked avocados until after my UC diagnosis - in this post, @ICNPatients Nikhil shares his guacamole recipe & tips for choosing/ripening avocados. 

Baked Kale Chips

Kale chips are a great source of calcium and iron. Grab a bunch of kale the next time you are grocery shopping and you'll be making delicious kale chips in no time! You can even print this handy recipe card:

Hard cooked eggs

Eggs have protein, iron and calcium. Hard cooking (or hard-boiling) eggs is easy and makes a great snack on the go!

There are lots of ways to hard-boil eggs. One method is to place several eggs in a deep pot and cover with water, then bring it to a boil. Once it boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered for 11 minutes (set a timer). When 11 minutes are up, immediately cool the eggs by running cold water over them or submerging them in a bowl with ice water. Peel the eggs once cooled. If you make extra, you can store them in the refrigerator in a covered container.

#InTheLOOP ➝ Eating eggs as a vegetarian with ulcerative colitis - Nikhil writes about his experience eating eggs as part of his vegetarian diet.


Hummus is made from chickpeas, which are an excellent vegetarian/vegan source of protein.

You can buy many varieties of pre-made hummus in the grocery store or you can make your own at home. Try eating it with vegetables like celery or carrots instead of crackers.

Nut butter on toast

Adding nut butter to toast is a tasty way to boost protein and healthy fats in your diet.

Toast your bread of choice (choose gluten free if necessary) and spread nut butter on top. There are many nut butter options to choose from; try almond or cashew. You can also add slices of banana or other fruits on top.

#InTheLOOP ➝ No bones about it - Vitamin D & IBD - learn why pairing your vitamin D supplement with nut butter on toast can help your body absorb vitamin D better.

Tuna with crackers

Tuna fish in a can or pouch is a shelf-stable, portable snack that is packed with protein and iron. Have it on crackers for a healthy snack.

Empty a can or pouch of tuna into a bowl and mix it up. If you'd like you can add salt, pepper or other seasonings and then scoop the mixture onto crackers of your choice (choose gluten free if necessary).

Fruit and Greek style or homemade yogurt

If fruit is already a go-to snack for you/your child, give it a boost of protein by adding yogurt. There are non-dairy yogurt options so you can enjoy it even if you are dairy-free!

Frozen fruit dipped in Greek style or homemade yogurt

Dip bite-size fruit pieces, like berries or grapes, in a Greek style or homemade yogurt. Place them on foil or parchment paper and freeze. Serve as a frozen snack.

Parfaits with Greek style or homemade yogurt and fruit

Cut fruit into bite-sized pieces and layer it together with a yogurt of your choice. Making parfaits can be fun and interactive. Including a variety of colorful fruits can turn your snack into a work of art.


Smoothies can be a fun way to experiment with different combinations of fruits, yogurts (plain or flavored; coconut-based, almond-based or combination of coconut and pea protein). For the recipes below, try using fresh or frozen fruit, and substitute a pinch of nutmeg or cardamom instead of cinnamon to change things up!

🍓 Strawberry 🍌 Banana Smoothie

1 cup sliced strawberries

½ banana

½ cup vanilla yogurt or homemade yogurt

½ cup milk

Pinch of ground cinnamon

Blend ingredients together. Add 1 cup of ice. Blend on high until smooth.

🥬 Green Smoothie with 🍍 Pineapple

1 cup fresh pineapple cut into small pieces

1 cup baby kale (may substitute baby spinach)

1 cup frozen grapes

1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth. Add a small amount of water to thin if needed. 

🍌 Banana 🥜 Peanut Butter Smoothie

1 frozen banana

1 – 2 Tablespoons of creamy peanut butter

1 cup of milk of choice

Blend all ingredients on high until smooth. Add a small amount of water to thin if needed. 

Therapeutic Diets & Exceptions

Therapeutic diets are used to help treat and manage IBD. Below is a table with commonly used diets and their acronyms.

Acronym Therapeutic Diet Name
SCD Specific Carbohydrate Diet
mSCD Modified Specific Carbohydrate Diet
IBD-AID Inflammatory Bowel Disease - Anti-Inflammatory Diet
AIP Auto-Immune Protocol 
CDED Crohn's Disease Elimination Diet

Exceptions by Diet

Therapeutic diets often have phases where different foods are allowed or excluded. Below we have listed general food groups and exceptions by diet. If you are following one of these diets, it is important to always review your allowed/excluded foods and check with a dietitian if you have any questions.

Dairy - excluded in IBD-AID and induction phase of CDED. For SCD and mSCD diets, homemade yogurt and aged cheese is allowed.

Eggs - allowed in all diets except AIP diet.

Fish - allowed in all diets.

Nuts – allowed in SCD, mSCD and IBD-AID. CDED allows small amounts of walnuts and almonds. AIP excludes nuts.

Nightshades - Nightshades are excluded in the AIP diet. Examples of Nightshades are: tomatoes, eggplant and peppers.

White Potatoes - excluded in SCD and AIP diet. CDED allows potatoes.

Soy – Soy and soy milk are excluded in SCD and induction phase of CDED. Soy is allowed in IBD-AID diet.

Wheat - is excluded in SCD, mSCD, IBD-AID and AIP. One slice of whole grain bread is permitted after 6 weeks of beginning CDED.

Processed meats, artificial sweeteners and emulsifiers are excluded in all diets.

Please note:

The information in this post is of a general nature. These recipes and this advice will not apply to every single patient with IBD. The nutritional needs of people living with IBD vary greatly. Nutrition needs may change over time. It is the hope of the ICN Registered Dietitian group that all patients with IBD will have access to nutritional support as part of comprehensive IBD care. If you are seeking support from a registered dietitian, ask your care team what resources are available at your center. If necessary, you may receive a referral. If you are looking to find an RD to work with on your own, the Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics has a "Find a Nutrition Expert" option on their website (


Get #InTheLOOP with more posts by Registered Dietitians on the ICN blog >>
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