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  • Writer's pictureIt’s Complicated

Pre surgery diet

Before surgery/procedure the hospital usually requires you to change your diet. This may not apply to all surgeries but it does apply to laparoscopy and anything bowel related such as a colonoscopy. The diet is known as low residue or low fibre, anything below 2g fibre.


I found it a little difficult to find a list of foods I can eat that was straightforward especially because the pre-op team wouldn't return my calls (that's a whole other story!). The information online was all over the place for my brain and I just wanted a simple little 'eat this' list.


Here's that list from someone who's allergic to a lot, eats baby food because it's gentle on your stomach and isn't a fan of soup + a generic list:


  • Cereal

  • Madeira cake

  • Clear juice

  • Jelly

  • Rice pudding

  • Melon

  • Baby apple squeezy

  • Baby banana custard

  • Biscuits - rich tea, custard creams, wafers, crackers, anything plain

  • Gluten free white buns and flatbread

  • Peppermint tea

  • White pasta (you need to eat anything white as it's low fibre, e.g. white rice, white bread etc)

  • Chicken (you can have meat, eggs and fish but I don't eat anything other than chicken due to allergies and cholesterol issues and general dislike)

  • Tofu

  • Potatoes without skin

  • Nothing with seeds or skin including vegetables

  • Melon, bananas, plum, apple, pears, peaches

  • Smoothies - no pulp or bits

  • Yogurts, milk and cheese

  • Ice cream, chocolate, milkshakes

  • Sauces - Worcester, tomato, brown, mustard, white, gravy, marmite, mayo, vinegar, salad


Personally, for my surgery, I was asked to stop eating at 8am the day before to start bowel prep and during this day I can take coffee and tea without milk, jelly, apple and orange juice, squash and clear soup (again, I'm not a fan but I do keep some soup with me so I have some type of food in me). This can continue until 2am the day of the surgery but between 2am and 6am I can only drink water.


It is important to remain hydrated up until 6am. I hate the taste of bowel prep so I mix in lemon squash and it really helps. Remember to take sips of water in between to help with the taste and for hydration.

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