Eating a bland diet is often recommended for conditions like gastritis, ulcer, diarrhea, and reflux disease. By adhering to a bland diet, patients can experience relief from symptoms and promote healing of the digestive system, particularly after surgery.
A bland diet consists of soft foods that are not spicy and low in fiber. Too much fiber can be taxing on the digestive system so if it isn’t working properly.
A bland diet is based on the principals of avoiding spicy foods, fried food, raw food, as well as alcohol and caffeine.
You should follow a bland diet until otherwise notified by your doctor. They will instruct you on when it is safe to resume eating all types of food once again.
When should you be on a bland diet?
The premise of a bland diet is avoiding or at least limiting your intake of foods that can irritate the digestive system. A bland diet is therefore recommended for individuals dealing with certain health conditions or recovering from surgery.
Some of these conditions include acid reflux or frequent heartburn, diarrhea, eosinophilic esophagitis, ulcers, frequent gallstones, and hiatal hernia. People who are looking to lose weight and breastfeeding women who have a sensitive stomach can benefit from a bland diet, too.
Bland diet: Foods to eat and avoid
Foods you can eat while on a bland diet include:
- Milk and other dairy products, low-fat or fat-free only
- Cooked, canned, or frozen vegetables
- Fruit juices and vegetable juices (some people, especially GERD patients, may want to avoid citrus juices)
- Breads, crackers, and pasta made with refined white flour
- Refined hot cereals
- Lean, tender meats, such as poultry, whitefish, and shellfish that are steamed, baked, or grilled with no added fat
- Creamy peanut butter
- Pudding and custard
- Soup, especially broth
- Weak tea
Foods to avoid on a bland diet include:
- Fatty dairy foods, such as whipped cream or high-fat ice cream
- Strong cheeses, such as bleu or Roquefort
- Raw vegetables
- Vegetables that make you gassy, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, green peppers, and corn
- Seedy fruits such as berries or figs
- Dried fruits
- Whole-grain or bran cereals
- Whole-grain breads, crackers, or pasta
- Pickles, sauerkraut, and similar foods
- Spices, such as hot pepper and garlic
- Foods with a lot of sugar
- Seeds and nuts
- Highly seasoned, cured or smoked meats and fish
- Fried foods
- Alcoholic beverages and drinks with caffeine
Bland diet chart
The bland diet chart below developed by Genesis and outlines what to eat and what to avoid in each food category.
|Food Category||Foods Recommended||Foods to Avoid|
|Grains||Any – such as pasta, rice, bulgur
(Note: prepared without fat [such as oil, butter])
|Grains prepared with fat|
(Note: prepared without fat)
|Vegetables prepared with fat (such as French fries, mashed potatoes made with butter or cream), tomato juice, tomato sauce|
|Fruits||Any (except citrus)
(Note: prepared without fat)
|Citrus fruits and juices|
|Milk||Low-fat or non-fat milk, soy milk, buttermilk, powdered milk, low-fat or non-fat yogurt, low-fat or non-fat cheese, low-fat or non-fat ice cream, sherbet||Whole and 2% milk products, cream, regular cheese|
|Meats and Beans||Lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, soy, dried beans, nuts, and nut butters
(Note: prepared without added fat)
|Fried meats, bacon, sausage, pepperoni, salami, bologna, hot dogs|
|Snacks, Sweets, and Condiments||All unless listed||Pepper, chili powder, ketchup, mustard, vinegar, rich desserts (such as cakes and pastries), doughnuts, chocolate|
|Beverages||Water, non-fat or low-fat milk, juice, caffeine-free soda, and herbal tea||Peppermint or spearmint teas, decaffeinated or regular coffee and tea, caffeinated soda or energy drinks, chocolate milk, hot cocoa, alcoholic beverages|
|Fats and Oils||Less than 8 teaspoons per day|
Bland diet suggestions
There are other considerations to be aware of when embarking on a bland diet. You should switch to eating smaller meals more frequently, make sure you chew your food slowly and properly, quit smoking, avoid eating within two hours of bedtime, eliminate foods on the “avoid” list, drink fluids slowly, and avoid medications that contain aspirin or ibuprofen as these can be irritating for the stomach.
Bland diet sample menu
To get started, here is a sample bland diet three-day menu.
|Day 1||Day 2||Day 3|
|BreakfastScrambled or poached eggs cooked without fatHominy gritsStewed or canned pears||BreakfastOatmeal or cooked rice cereal (sweetened with a small amount of honey or maple syrup)Canned or stewed fruit||BreakfastRice cereal or cornflakes with low-fat, skim, or rice milkStewed fruit|
|SnackStrained fruit or applesauceSponge cake||SnackCup yogurtSaltine crackers||SnackPlain rice cakes with creamy nut butter|
|LunchCreamy peanut or almond butter sandwich on white breadCottage cheese Vanilla pudding made with low-fat, skim or rice milk||LunchGrilled chicken breastMashed potatoes made with low-fat, skim or rice milk and no butterSteamed or boiled carrotsStewed peaches or canned fruit cocktail||LunchCup of chicken noodle soupPlain crackers (not whole grain)Cottage cheese Applesauce|
|DinnerBaked or broiled chickenSteamed white rice or boiled noodlesCooked peas or green beansRice pudding made with low-fat, skim, or rice milk||DinnerBroiled salmonWhite rice or couscousSteamed asparagusAngel food cake||DinnerBroiled whitefishCooked peasBaked potato with low-fat or fat-free sour creamFrozen yogurt|
|SnackLow-fat cottage cheeseArrowroot cookie||SnackJell-OPlain crackers (not whole grain)||SnackBaked apple drizzled with maple syrup|