Bland Diet

What Is a Bland Diet?

A bland diet consists of foods that are least likely to irritate the gastrointestinal tract.

Why Should I Follow a Bland Diet?

This diet may be recommended if you are suffering from:

While this diet can’t cure these conditions, it can help manage their symptoms. In general, high-fat, spicy, fried, and acidic foods, and caffeinated and alcoholic beverages are the most likely to cause distress.

Food Choices on a Bland Diet

Food Category Foods Recommended Foods to Avoid*
Grains Any (eg, pasta, rice, bulgur) (Note: prepared without fat [eg, oil, butter]) Grains prepared with fat
Vegetables Any (Note: prepared without fat) Vegetables prepared with fat (eg, 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 nonfat milk, soy milk, buttermilk, powdered milk, low-fat or nonfat yogurt, low-fat or nonfat cheese, low-fat or nonfat 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 (eg, cakes and pastries), doughnuts, chocolate
Beverages Water, nonfat 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

*These are foods, beverages, spices, and condiments that commonly irritate the stomach. However, there may be foods on this list that don’t bother you. Likewise, there may be foods not on this list that do bother you. (For example, some individuals with GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) complain that high-acid fruits, such as oranges and tomatoes bother them). Therefore, it’s important to monitor the foods you consume and how well you tolerate them.

Suggestions

  • Eat small, frequent meals (eg, six small meals instead of three large meals).
  • Eat slowly; try putting utensils down between bites.
  • Avoid lying down for 3-4 hours after eating.
  • Keep a food log to try and pinpoint the foods that bother you.
  • Talk a registered dietitian about an individualized meal plan.
  • American Dietetic Association

    http://www.eatright.org/

  • American Gastroenterological Association

    http://www.gastro.org/

  • Dietitians of Canada

    http://www.dietitians.ca/

  • Health Canada

    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/index-eng.php/

  • American Dietetic Association. Nutrition Care Manual. American Dietetic Association website. Available at: http://nutritioncaremanual.org . Accessed December 20, 2009.

  • American Gastroenterological Association website. Available at: http://www.gastro.org . Accessed December 20, 2009.