A bland diet consists of foods that are generally soft, low in dietary fiber, cooked rather than raw, and not spicy. Fried and fatty foods, strong cheeses, whole grains, and the medications aspirin and ibuprofen are also avoided. Bland diets are often recommended following stomach or intestinal surgery, or for people with ulcers, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and gas. A bland diet allows the digestive tract to heal before introducing more difficult to digest foods. Perhaps the most difficult adjustment to a bland diet involves meats and proteins.
In a strict bland food diet, softer meat substitutes such as smooth peanut butter, eggs and tofu are encouraged over any type of fibrous or seasoned meat. A bland diet also allows for soft or processed fruits such as applesauce, bananas and seedless canned fruits, but does not allow for acidic raw fruits or berries containing seeds. Some mild fruit juices are permitted, such as apple or grape juice, but acidic citrus-based beverages such as lemonade or orange juice are not. Acidic foods and seeds can irritate the gastrointestinal tract during digestion.
Here’s a list of recommended and not recommended foods:
- Well-cooked soft cereals
- Mashed potatoes
- Plain toast or bread, crackers
- Plain spaghetti
- Macaroni (with cheese)*
- Cottage cheese*
- Low fat yogurts*
- Low fat milk*
- Vanilla ice milk*
- Canned fruit (except pineapple)
- Very ripe bananas
- Apples without peels
- Plain meats (chicken, lean beef, turkey, fish – not fried)
- Cooked vegetables (avoid gas formers like cabbage, beans and broccoli)
*Avoid dairy products if you are experiencing diarrhea
- Hot dogs
- Fried foods
- Lunch meat
- Potato chips, etc.
- Nuts, candies (or other concentrated sweets)
- Spicy or highly seasoned foods, i.e., Pepper, paprika, chili, tacos, garlic, onions