What should I eat for breakfast if I have diverticulitis?

Diverticulitis is a digestive condition that causes small pouches called diverticula to form in the wall of the colon. These pouches can become inflamed and infected, leading to abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, fever, chills, cramping, and other unpleasant symptoms. While there is no specific “diverticulitis diet,” eating the right foods for breakfast can help ease your symptoms during a diverticulitis flare-up. Keeping your diet high in fiber, low in fat, and rich in anti-inflammatory foods supports the health of your colon and may prevent painful diverticulitis attacks. This article provides tips on the best and worst breakfast foods to eat with diverticulitis.

How Breakfast Impacts Diverticulitis

Eating a healthy breakfast is important for everyone, but it’s especially vital when you have diverticulitis. Starting your day with a nutritious meal can help:

– Reduce inflammation and cramping
– Keep your bowels regular
– Provide energy and prevent fatigue
– Improve your ability to fight infection
– Speed healing of existing pouches
– Prevent new pouches from forming

On the other hand, choosing unhealthy breakfast foods may worsen diverticulitis symptoms like pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits. Skipping breakfast can also leave you tired, irritable, and prone to overeating later.

Best Foods for Breakfast with Diverticulitis

When deciding what to eat for breakfast with diverticulitis, focus on foods that are:

– High in fiber: Fiber adds bulk to stool and softens it, allowing it to pass through the colon more easily. This helps prevent straining during bowel movements, which can worsen inflammation. Good sources include whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds.

– Low in fat: A high-fat diet is linked to increased inflammation and a higher risk of attacks. Limit fatty meats, cheeses, baked goods, and other high-fat items.

– Easy to digest: Foods that are gentle on your digestive system put less pressure on your colon. Opt for low-fiber grains, well-cooked vegetables, lean proteins, and non-fat dairy.

– Rich in antioxidants: Antioxidants like vitamins C, E, beta carotene, and selenium fight inflammation and cell damage. Brightly colored fruits and veggies, nuts, seeds, and tea contain antioxidants.

– Packed with probiotics: Probiotics support gut health by maintaining the right balance of bacteria. Yogurt, kefir, and fermented foods like miso and sauerkraut contain probiotics.

Here are some of the top foods and drinks to include in a diverticulitis-friendly breakfast:


– Oatmeal
– Whole grain toast
– Whole grain cereal
– Granola
– Buckwheat or millet
– Rice cakes
– Quinoa


– Bananas
– Berries
– Melons
– Citrus fruits
– Applesauce
– Avocado
– Papaya
– Cantaloupe

Dairy and dairy substitutes

– Yogurt
– Kefir
– Milk
– Nut milk
– Rice milk
– Soy milk


– Eggs
– Tofu
– Nut butter
– Lean meat, poultry or fish
– Beans, lentils or split peas


– Water
– Herbal tea
– Diluted fruit juice
– Almond milk
– Coconut water
– Vegetable juice


– Chia seeds
– Ground flaxseeds
– Nuts and nut butter
– Prebiotic foods like garlic, onion, asparagus
– Spices like ginger, turmeric, oregano

Foods to Avoid for Breakfast with Diverticulitis

On the other hand, there are several foods it’s best to limit or avoid entirely when you have diverticulitis, especially during a flare-up. These include:

High-fat foods

– Butter
– Cream
– Bacon
– Sausage
– Fried foods
– Fast food breakfast sandwiches

Processed grains

– White flour breads and baked goods
– Refined cereals
– Pastries
– Muffins
– Granola bars

High-sugar foods

– Sugar-sweetened cereals
– Fruit canned in syrup
– Sweetened yogurt
– Syrups and jams
– Sweet rolls, doughnuts and Danishes
– Toaster pastries
– Fruit juice


– Whole milk
– Full-fat cheese
– Cream cheese
– Sour cream
– Butter
– Ice cream

Tough foods

– Dry toast
– Raw veggies
– Popcorn
– Chips
– Dried fruit
– Nuts and seeds


– Coffee
– Energy drinks
– Black tea

Sample Breakfast Menu for Diverticulitis

Here is a sample diverticulitis-friendly breakfast menu with recipes:

Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

– 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
– 1⁄2 cup blueberries
– 1⁄2 cup raspberries
– 2 tbsp chia seeds
– 1 tbsp honey
– 1⁄4 cup granola

1. In a bowl or jar, layer yogurt, fruit, chia seeds, and honey.
2. Top with granola and enjoy.

Veggie Omelet

– 2 eggs
– 2 egg whites
– 1⁄4 cup chopped spinach
– 1⁄4 cup diced tomatoes
– 2 tbsp feta cheese
– 1 tsp olive oil
– Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium heat.
2. Whisk eggs, egg whites, spinach, tomatoes, salt, and pepper.
3. Pour into pan and cook 2-3 minutes per side.
4. Remove from heat and top with feta before serving.

Avocado Toast

– 1 slice whole grain bread
– 1⁄2 avocado, mashed
– 1 tbsp lemon juice
– Salt and pepper to taste
– Red pepper flakes (optional)

1. Toast bread to desired darkness.
2. Mash avocado with lemon juice and season with salt and pepper.
3. Spread mashed avocado on toast.
4. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes if desired.

Banana Nut Oatmeal

– 1⁄2 cup rolled oats
– 1 cup almond milk
– 1 banana, sliced
– 1 tbsp almond butter
– 1 tsp honey or maple syrup
– Sprinkle of cinnamon
– Chopped walnuts for garnish

1. Cook oats in milk until creamy.
2. Stir in banana, almond butter, and honey.
3. Top with cinnamon and walnuts before serving.

Veggie Scramble

– 2 eggs
– 2 egg whites
– 1⁄4 cup diced zucchini
– 1⁄4 cup chopped spinach
– 2 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
– 1⁄2 cup black beans, rinsed and drained
– 1⁄4 diced avocado
– Salsa (optional)

1. Whisk eggs and egg whites in a bowl.
2. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Sauté zucchini and spinach 2-3 minutes.
3. Add eggs to pan and scramble until cooked, about 5 minutes.
4. Mix in black beans and cheese, cook 1 minute more.
5. Top with avocado and salsa before serving.

Tips for Eating Breakfast with Diverticulitis

Making good breakfast choices is key for managing diverticulitis, but how and when you eat is also important. Here are some tips:

– Eat slowly and chew thoroughly to prevent overstretching your colon.
– Drink fluids between rather than during meals to aid digestion.
– Wait at least 30 minutes after waking up before eating breakfast.
– Limit coffee, alcohol, carbonation, and sugar, which can irritate your colon.
– Try small, frequent meals if large meals cause pain or bloating.
– Keep a food journal to identify triggers for your symptoms.
– See a registered dietitian for personalized recommendations.
– Drink plenty of water daily to stay hydrated.
– Take a probiotic supplement to support gut bacteria.
– Exercise daily to reduce inflammation and support motility.
– Don’t smoke or use NSAIDs like ibuprofen, which may worsen symptoms.
– Reduce stress through yoga, meditation, or other relaxing activities.

Are There Any Foods to Absolutely Avoid?

While there are no foods that every person with diverticulitis must avoid 100% of the time, there are some that are more likely to cause problems. These include:

Nuts, seeds, corn, and popcorn: Their small, hard shell fragments could get lodged and obstruct or irritate pouches in your colon. You may be able to tolerate them if you chew very thoroughly or stick to smooth nut butters.

Red meat: Red meats are harder to break down and may increase inflammation. Chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, tofu, and beans are healthier protein options.

Added sugars: Foods with lots of added sugar like cookies, candy, soda, and sugary cereals can worsen diverticulitis symptoms.

Refined grains: White flour, white rice, and refined carbs act similarly to sugar in the colon. Choose whole grains instead.

Uncooked vegetables: Raw veggie cell walls resist breakdown, so cook them to make them easier to digest. Some people also find raw veggies cause gas.

Fried foods: Anything deep-fried is hard to digest and high in inflammatory fats. Avoid fried meats, french fries, hash browns, and doughnuts.

Alcohol: Alcohol, especially in excess, irritates the colon and dehydrates the body. It’s best avoided during symptom flares.

Speak with your doctor about reintroducing these foods slowly into your diet as your condition improves. What triggers symptoms varies greatly between individuals.

Sample 1-Week Meal Plan

Here is a sample 1-week meal plan for breakfast foods to eat with diverticulitis:

Day Breakfast
Monday 1⁄2 cup oatmeal cooked in almond milk with 1⁄2 banana, chopped and 1 tbsp chopped walnuts. 1 cup green tea.
Tuesday Veggie scramble with 1 egg, 2 egg whites, spinach, zucchini and beans. Side of 1⁄2 grapefruit.
Wednesday Avocado toast on whole grain bread with 1 poached egg. 1 cup diluted apple juice.
Thursday Berry yogurt parfait with Greek yogurt, raspberries, chia seeds and granola. 1 cup chamomile tea.
Friday Banana nut oatmeal with almond milk, sliced banana, almond butter and walnuts. 1 cup green tea.
Saturday Tofu veggie scramble with tofu, spinach, tomatoes and turmeric. Side of melon cubes.
Sunday Whole grain waffle topped with mashed avocado and smoked salmon. 1 cup diluted prune juice.

This meal plan emphasizes anti-inflammatory whole foods that are easy to tolerate, with a mix of protein, fiber and probiotics. Feel free to swap ingredients based on your own taste preferences and tolerances.

Breakfast on the Go Tips

When you have a busy schedule, finding time to prepare a nourishing breakfast at home can be a challenge. Here are tips for grabbing a diverticulitis-friendly breakfast on the go:

– Keep hardboiled eggs in your fridge to quickly make an egg sandwich on whole grain toast. Bring along an avocado, tomato or spinach to top it.

– Make a batch of whole grain muffins on the weekend using ingredients like bananas, zucchini, carrots or applesauce. Grab and go during the week.

– Prepare overnight oats in a jar using chia seeds, nuts, fruit and dairy or non-dairy milk. Grab from the fridge in the morning.

– Stop for a smoothie with ingredients like avocado, spinach, almond butter, and berries blended with almond milk or yogurt. Avoid added sugars.

– Look for whole grain cereals, yogurt parfaits, oatmeal, boiled eggs, fruit cups, veggie egg white sandwiches and other lighter options if you need to eat at a restaurant or café.

– Bring pre-portioned trail mix made with nuts, seeds, dried fruit, coconut flakes or dark chocolate to munch on-the-go.

– Stock up on nutritious grab-and-go snacks like fresh fruit, nut butter packets, bean snacks, rice cakes, or veggie sticks for easy snacking during your commute.


Eating a nutritious breakfast is one of the best things you can do to manage your diverticulitis, especially during symptom flares. Focus on anti-inflammatory whole foods that provide fiber, nutrients, and probiotics without excess fat, sugar or grease. Drink plenty of fluids and chew thoroughly when you eat. With some prep-ahead tips and simple meals and snacks, it’s easy to get your day off to a healthy start whether you are eating at home or out and about. A balanced breakfast gives your body the fuel and support it needs to promote healing and reduce diverticulitis symptoms like pain, bloating, and changes in bowel habits.

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