Diet plays a pivotal role in the onset and course of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Patients are keen to know what to eat to reduce symptoms and flares, but dietary guidelines are lacking. To advice patients, an overview of the current evidence on food (group) level is needed. This narrative review studies the effects of food (groups) on the onset and course of IBD and if not available the effects in healthy subjects or animal and in vitro IBD models. Based on this evidence the Groningen anti-inflammatory diet (GrAID) was designed and compared on food (group) level to other existing IBD diets. Although on several foods conflicting results were found, this review provides patients a good overview. Based on this evidence, the GrAID consists of lean meat, eggs, fish, plain dairy (such as milk, yoghurt, kefir and hard cheeses), fruit, vegetables, legumes, wheat, coffee, tea and honey. Red meat, other dairy products and sugar should be limited. Canned and processed foods, alcohol and sweetened beverages should be avoided. This comprehensive review focuses on anti-inflammatory properties of foods providing IBD patients with the best evidence on which foods they should eat or avoid to reduce flares. This was used to design the GrAID.