Home » News & Events » Festive foods, drinks, and your stoma

Festive foods, drinks, and your stoma

We understand that if you’re being mindful about what you eat with your colostomy or ileostomy it can feel tricky to navigate festive occasions. We wanted to help empower you to balance celebrating and eating well this time of year. We’ve included festive foods for Hanukkah, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Kwanzaa, Hogmanay, First Footing, Burns Night, and Chinese New Year. We’ve highlighted which traditional recipes should be fine to eat and have included suggested recipe tweaks and alternative dishes.

If you’d like us to mention other foods, or if you feel we haven’t gotten something quite right, please get in touch to share with us. Alongside this blog, you can use our handy nutrition guide which is available for download here: https://www.fittleworth.com/ostomates-kitchen/ 

Our Top Tips

  • Many recipes that have tougher to digest foods which may be tolerated in small amounts
  • You may want to pick only 1 or 2 of these foods to have in the day to not overwhelm your gut
  • Everyone’s gut tolerance is different so eat what you feel comfortable with
  • Chew your food well and take your time eating
  • If you’re sensitive to onion or garlic you might like to substitute them during cooking for a little asafoetida powder instead
  • If you have alcoholic drinks, aim to have up to 2 across the whole day
  • Aim to choose lower sugar drinks or those with minimal sweeteners
  • Alternate between alcoholic or very sweet drinks with a hydrating option e.g. water flavoured with fresh fruit slices and herbs

Hanukkah: 10th-18th of December

Brisket – If serving with onions have up to 1-2 tablespoons.

Kugel – Depending on how you tolerate onions, have up to 1-2 tablespoons.

Latkes – As above.

Challah roll – Enjoy as is.

Brussels sprouts – They may be too tough to digest (especially with an ileostomy) so have up to 1-2 and chew them very well.

Other vegetable side dishes – Choose roasted, boiled or mashed root vegetables (peel before cooking). Most flavourings shouldn’t cause symptoms e.g. cinnamon, nutmeg, orange zest, cranberry, and tahini. Be mindful of your personal tolerance to onion and garlic.

Babka cake – If it has dried fruit they are typically hard to digest so you could have a small portion and chew it very well. You might like to try to make it without dried fruit or pick out the dried fruit before eating.

Sufyanigot – Make with smooth jam.

Christmas Day: 25th of December

‘Traditional Christmas’ Festive Foods

Roasted meats – Cook so they’re very soft and tender.

Haggis – You might tolerate up to 1-2 tablespoons if you chew it well. You could blend the onions and oats till they’re smooth before mixing with the meat.

Nut roast – You may tolerate 1-2 thin slices if you chew well (even with an ileostomy), but it’s best to blend the nuts before baking. You might prefer another plant-based main dish.

Quorn roast – Enjoy as is with your favourite festive flavourings.

Tofu roast – We’ve created a delicious and easy to digest Maple-glazed Tofu recipe for you to enjoy.

Roast potatoes – Enjoy as is.

Yorkshire Pudding – Enjoy as is.

Roasted root vegetables e.g. parsnips and carrots, Neeps & tatties – Peel them, cook them until soft and enjoy with your favourite flavourings such as honey and spices.

Brussels sprouts – As mentioned in the Hanukkah section above. You might prefer to try par-boiled and roasted broccoli florets with bacon, or our delicious Broccoli Gratin recipe.

Red cabbage dishes – Similar to Brussels sprouts, have up to 1-2 tablespoons and chew well. It can give a red-tinge to your stoma output, but this is from the pigments in the cabbage.

Pigs in blankets – Aim to choose those without gristle and chew well.

Stuffing – A regular portion of 1 or 2 stuffing balls or 1-2 tablespoons is unlikely to cause symptoms.

Bread sauce –  It’s unlikely to cause symptoms in portions of 1-2 tablespoons. Blend the sauce so it’s smooth.

Cranberry sauce – Choose smooth options.

‘Traditional Christmas’ Desserts

Christmas Pudding and Christmas Cake – The dried fruit is typically hard to digest (for any bowel-stoma), so you could have a small portion and chew it very well. You might prefer to choose a different dessert e.g. Yule log or trifle.

Clootie Dumpling – As above.

Bread and butter pudding – You might prefer to pick out the dried fruit or you could try our Bread and Butter Pudding recipe.

Mince Pies – You might tolerate 1 small pie if you chew it very well (even with an ileostomy). There are also some recipes online that don’t include dried fruit, type into your internet browser’s search bar “mince pies with no dried fruit”.

Cheeseboard – Opt for crackers without seeds and choose cheeses without dried fruits.

‘Traditional Christmas’ snacks

Nuts – Unfortunately these are likely to cause symptoms, especially with an ileostomy. Although if you’ve tried them before and tolerated them you may like a small portion e.g. 1 tablespoon and chew them very well. You might enjoy nut butter on banana or apple slices (peeled), Bamba Peanut Corn Snacks, and nut butter and oat-based ‘energy balls’ (blend the oats before making these).

Crisps – Enjoy as is.

Pastries – Choose those without dried fruit.

Chocolate – Be mindful of having too much as it can cause a stomach upset.

Other cuisines and Christmas

Spiced meats – Enjoy as is, but be mindful of too much onion and garlic.

Samosas and Pakoras – They can be full of onions, spinach and other vegetables that may be tougher to digest. You might like to have 1 or 2 and chew them very well, especially with an ileostomy. If possible, you could blend all the fibrous ingredients until smooth before mixing together and cooking.

Gulab Jamun – If the recipe contains nuts, have up to 1-2 sweets and chew very well (especially with an ileostomy). You might like to make some without nuts.

Chin Chin and Puff Puff – Enjoy as is.

Boxing Day: 26th of December

Turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches – You might tolerate white bread better than wholemeal or seeded. Choose smooth cranberry sauce.

Turkey soup – Be mindful of onions and celery, you could strain these out before serving your portion.

Bubble and Squeak, Rumbledethumps, and Colcannon – Due to the Brussels sprouts, and/or cabbage and kale, you might like to have up to 1-2 tablespoons and chew very well (especially with an ileostomy). You could blend the vegetables until smooth before cooking. You might like to swap those vegetables for leftover root vegetables instead.

Kwanzaa: 26th of December – 1st of January

Jollof rice – Depending on which vegetables you use, choose easier to digest options and cook them well e.g. bell peppers, carrot, peeled aubergine. You can parboil plantain before frying so it’s easier to digest. Green beans, peas, and celery can be hard to digest even when well cooked. You might like to have up to 1-2 tablespoons of these vegetables in total, chewing very well (especially with an ileostomy).

Spiced meats or fish – Ensure they’re very soft before eating, be mindful of bones.

Jambalaya – Similar to the Jollof rice notes. You could blend the tomatoes until smooth (sifting out pips) before cooking.

Gumbo – Similar to the Jollof rice notes.

Coleslaw – As the vegetables are raw these may not be well tolerated if you have a colostomy or ileostomy. If you’d like to try it, have up to 1-2 tablespoons and chew very well.

Collard or Spring Greens – Unfortunately these are very difficult to digest for those with any stoma of their bowel. It’s best to choose a different vegetable side dish.

Potato salad – As per the coleslaw notes.

Fried okra – This can be difficult to digest so have up to 1-2 tablespoons and chew very well (especially with an ileostomy).

Fufu – Enjoy as is.

Cornbread – Enjoy as is.

Flatbread – Enjoy as is.

Sweet potato pie – Enjoy as is.

Fruits – Choose easier to digest options e.g. mango, banana, melon, papaya rather than more fibrous fruits like pineapple.

Hogmanay & First Footing: 31st of December

Haggis – As mentioned in the Christmas section.

Cock-a-leekie soup – If you have a colostomy, you might tolerate up to 1-2 tablespoons worth of leeks if they’re very soft. If you have an ileostomy, or you’d prefer to anyway, you can blend the leeks into the soup. Due to possible increased smells from your output, it’s still best to only have a small portion.

Clootie Dumpling – As mentioned in the Christmas section.

Black Bun – Similar to the Christmas Pudding notes in the Christmas section.

Shortbread – If it has dried fruit, see the Mince Pie notes. Otherwise, enjoy as is.

Cranachan – You might like to have a little of the raspberries and oats, chewing very well (especially with an ileostomy). You could use strawberries instead which might be tolerated better. You could swap the oats for crushed shortbread or another biscuit.

Burns Night: 25th of January

Haggis – As mentioned in the Christmas section.

Clootie Dumpling – As mentioned in the Christmas section.

Chinese New Year: 25th of January

Shredded duck – Chew very well to make the crispy skin easier to digest, enjoy with smooth sauces. If serving with cucumber, peel before slicing to serve. You might tolerate a few slices of spring onion and you’ll likely find the green parts easier to digest.

Steamed fish – Cook so it’s very soft.

Longevity noodles – There are so many variations of this recipe, but we recommend: skip using mushrooms or green beans, but you can blanch other vegetables before adding into the noodles e.g. carrot or bell pepper slices, bamboo shoots, white radish, a few broccoli florets, or the green parts of Chinese cabbage. Chew everything very well (especially with an ileostomy).

Mooncake – If they’re made with dried fruit, nuts and seeds you might like to have half of 1cake and chew it very well. If you have an ileostomy, or you’d prefer to anyway, you could blend all the ingredients before cooking. Serve with smooth sauces.

Black Jelly and other jellies – Enjoy as is.

We hope that you feel reassured about choosing festive foods and reducing the risk of blockages and symptoms like cramps, high stoma outputs, stoma bag ballooning, and increased unpleasant smells. Whatever you’re celebrating over the next couple of months, we wish you and your loved ones all the best.


Laura Coster is a Registered Dietitian who is passionate about helping people feel confident in managing their health and find joy through what they eat. She has worked in the NHS advising people at various stages of their stoma journey and continues to help promote gut health to all.