It’s 3pm and you hit that slump (you know the one) and you need a bit of an energy kick. Whilst your first impulse used to be to dive into the biscuit jar or to whip out a sneaky chocolate bar, that’s become a thing of the past due to your Crohn’s or ulcerative colitis getting in the way. Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) can be such pest when you’ve got a sugar craving. So what do you do? It’s time to familiarise yourself with some sweet options that won’t play havoc with your tummy.

Some of the hardest things to give up when you have IBD are desserts and sweet treats. Refined sugar can upset your digestive system and other regular ingredients in sweet dishes – such as nuts and dairy products – may also disagree with you.

Don’t despair! All it takes to get a sweet fix is a bit of research and creativity. Substitutions and eliminations can turn popular recipes into Crohn’s-friendly favourites and here are some we’ve found that work a treat.

Fried Honey Bananas

This recipe is as simple and quick as it gets. With only four ingredients and two minutes cooking time, you’d be forgiven for suspecting the results wouldn’t be anything too impressive. But trust us; this one is worth the (lack of) time and effort. Take one under-ripened banana and fry it in some honey, cinnamon and oil (coconut or olive will do). You can whip these up for a quick energy hit in the afternoon, or start your day off on the right foot. And if you’ve had good experiences with wholegrain pancakes, these are the perfect accompaniment. If you’ve got a stove or sandwich press at work, you can even rustle these up in the office. Just be prepared for the hordes of colleagues that will descend upon the lunchroom, as these smell like some sort of heavenly bakery-waffle-bar. Diet food? What diet food?!

Lemon Curd Flan

File this one under ‘Crohn’s recipes you can sneak onto anyone’s plate’. Almond meal, honey and coconut oil form the basis of this dessert which could easily please any family member or dinner party invitee, they won’t even realise they’re eating a ‘special’ version of this family favourite. It can also be topped off with stewed or baked fruit. Preparing fruit this way can break down the fibre in the fruit and making it more manageable for digestive systems prone to inflammation.

Apple Cake with Hot Coconut Brown Sugar

Coffee cake doesn’t need to be taken off the menu because of your Crohn’s. This tasty low-dairy, low-fibre cake is well suited to sensitive stomachs – especially when savoured with a soothing cup of peppermint or chamomile tea. Soy sour cream gives it a soft, moist texture, whilst cinnamon adds the desired sweetness.

Whilst these recipes will be perfectly suited to many Crohn’s sufferers, not everyone’s digestive system will welcome the same combination of ingredients. Regular open, honest dialogues with your healthcare team, along with a detailed food diary, are your best bet to identify the foods that work for you, as well as those that don’t. When you understand the individual ingredients that make your body sing, or cringe, that’s when you’ll know you’re on track to achieving a diverse, satisfying diet.

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