The doctor just told you to go on a bland diet.
But just what is a bland diet?
A bland diet is what it sounds like.
This type of diet is made up of soft foods that are cooked (no raw food), no spices and low fiber.
It also cuts out fried foods, high fat foods and highly processed food.
It is called a bland diet because removing all these components generally make your meals lack flavor. Another reason for its name is because such a diet helps soothe our digestive tract.
By removing certain foods and condiments from our diet, we reduce the amount of tissue irritation.
Why Put Yourself Through This?
Unfortunately, it probably won’t be by choice.
A bland diet never sounds enticing to anyone. Its lack of flavor makes it very difficult to maintain over a long period of time.
However, it is sometimes necessary especially if you’re experiencing certain digestive disorders including diarrhea, vomiting, ulcer and heartburn.
This type of diet is also what doctors recommend to patients recovering from stomach or bowel surgery.
It helps promote our digestive track’s healing by reducing the amount of stress experienced by the tissues in that region.
The good news is, this kind of diet of often temporary in nature. Once you feel better, you’ll slowly return to a regular diet.
Bland Diet Food List
Protein (Poultry, Fish, Meat and Soy Products)
In a bland diet, protein can be a bit tricky.
If you’re limited to soft foods, then protein choices like tofu, dairy products and eggs.
You’ll need to check with your physician for more because it can vary.
- Poultry (chicken, turkey) and fish are the main protein sources in this kind of diet. Lean meat are also permitted.
- For non-meat eaters, soy products including tofu, soy milk and yogurt are all great sources of protein.
With protein, the method of preparation is very important.
Heavily fried, processed or breaded foods are to be avoided. It also means little to no seasoning depending on what your doctor tells you. Healthier preparation methods like grilling, baking, poaching and steaming are recommended.
Protein is very important in keeping a balanced diet. It helps you maintain a good weight and prevents muscle wasting as you recover.
Fruits and Vegetables
Usually the healthiest options in a meal, fruits and vegetables aren’t necessarily so in a bland diet.
Unlike protein where you can choose from the different varieties, you’ll need to be more careful as many fruits and vegetables can aggravate your condition.
- Fruits, even fresh, can be quite tricky, as certain fruits like dates, grapes and prunes are to be avoided. Meanwhile, bananas, oranges and grapefruits are on the okay list.
- For vegetables, those that are spicy as well as cause flatulence are out. This means asparagus, peppers, onions and even cabbage are to be avoided. Safe veggies include potatoes, green beans and carrots. As with the other foods, except fruits, vegetables are to be cooked before eaten. So no salads for the meantime.
- Fruit and vegetable juices are often allowed, though avoiding acidic juices like grape, tomato and grape is recommended. Apple juice, as well as celery and carrots are good choices.
- Canned fruits are good to go. But do be careful with your choices since some do contain a lot of sugar.
Normally, we’re told to get more fiber in our diets.
However, when you’re on a bland diet, the opposite is true.
White breads and grains or those processed are more soothing to the lining of our stomachs. Whereas, unrefined or whole grain products cause more irritation.
So rice, pasta and breads are okay, as long as you avoid the unprocessed ones.
Other carb options include potatoes and low sugar cereals.
If you like dairy, then you’re in luck.
Because dairy is easy on our stomachs, most dairy products including ice cream, yogurt, milk and cheese are on the okay list.
There are a few exceptions though.
- One is nuts, which are to be avoided.
- Chocolate is another forbidden food.
- For cheeses, the high fat and stronger cheeses are likewise not recommended.
Snacks and Desserts
For snacks, many baked goods are allowed. Since most of these items are made from flour and dairy, they are okay for anyone on a bland diet. Note that they do contain a good amount of sugar, so cookies, cakes and candies are still to be eaten in moderation.
The no-no’s are chocolate and mint. Both of which aggravate our digestive issues.
Snacks on the forbidden list include those that contain fiber like granola and popcorn.
Foods to Avoid on a Bland Diet
If you’re like me, making a quick list of things to avoid is just as important as the things you can eat. In fact, I’ve learned that many people prefer knowing what to avoid, since those are what can harm you.
Here are the foods to avoid when on a bland diet.
- Fried Foods
- Raw fruits and vegetables
- Sugary foods, including those sweetened with honey
- Whole grain (including breads and pasta)
- Vegetables that cause gas (including cruciferous veggies like broccoli and cauliflower)
- Spicy foods, including hot peppers
- Cereals that are made from bran or whole grain
- Dairy that contain lots of fat, including butter and whipped cream
- Smoked or cured meats and fish
- Strong cheeses
Many condiments are also off limits. These include the powders like chili, curry, onion and garlic powders. Barbeque sauce as well as hot sauce are also off the menu.
You can have ketchup and mustard as well as some low fat salad dressing in moderation.
Always Consult Your Doctor
When it comes to changing one’s diet, make sure you consult your physician before doing so.
I don’t know anyone who’d voluntarily go on a bland diet unless it is necessary. So you’re probably on it because your doctor recommended it.
That said, a bland diet does take away a number of different food and condiment choices. However, there are still a good number of food items that allow you to enjoy your meals.