diet and nutrition

There is no one diet that will help all young patients, but a well-balanced diet containing essential nutrients should be encouraged. Poor diet coupled with inflammation in the bowel can lead to rapid weight loss in a child with Crohn's or colitis.

While they are unwell, children may feel as if they have just eaten a big meal, so they might only want to (or be able to) eat small amounts of food. If a certain food appears to make a child’s symptoms worse, then it should be taken out of the diet. However, it is not a good idea to make drastic changes to a diet without the supervision of a doctor or dietitian, as avoiding too many foods will lead to further malnutrition.

Chemists sell several drinks that contain all the nutrients that children need. These milkshake-style drinks may help when there is a loss of appetite, but advice should be sought from a doctor, IBD nurse or dietician.