Q: “I have just had a couple of attacks of gallstones. I know that I have to watch my diet and avoid fatty-type foods, but I have difficulty finding recipes. What can I eat? Some information says I can have avocado, others say no. Can I eat spicy food?”
A: Dietitian Amanda Johnson responds:
“Basically, a healthy balanced diet is recommended for people with gallstones; specific dietary restrictions and avoidance of particular foods are generally unnecessary.
Have a diet based on whole grain cereals, fruits and vegetables, with just moderate amounts of very lean meat and lower-fat dairy products. It’s a good idea to limit your intake of fatty and sugary foods. It shouldn’t be necessary for you to avoid spicy foods. However, if a particular food does disagree with you, then you may find it helpful to steer clear of that food. You shouldn’t need to avoid avocado completely, but just be aware that it does contain around 25% fat. Although this is mainly the healthier monounsaturated type of fat, you may wish to limit your intake if you are following a low-fat diet.
For those who are overweight, it can be helpful to shed some of the excess kilos – although weight loss should be slow and gradual. Have a healthy diet and watch your portion sizes.
In terms of recipe ideas, why not try the following:
- Vegetable stir-fries with strips of lean meat, poultry or fish, served with whole grain brown rice or pasta.
- Sandwiches with a range of different healthy fillings are great snacks or light meals.
- Fill up on a variety of colourful salads with meals, as well as having fruit (fresh, dried, frozen or canned) as snacks and for desserts.
- Enjoy barbecues with lean meat or fish and plenty of vegetables and salads.”