Bland Diet Menu

Annette McDermott
Fish and Veggies

If you need to treat an inflammatory condition of your gastrointestinal system or follow a specific diet to help reduce irritation and discomfort, a bland diet may be for you. This diet can be quite easy to maintain once you understand what is to be avoided and what should be included.

Soft and Not Spicy

According to Medline Plus (Medline), a bland diet consists of soft foods, uses very little spice and is low in fiber. It also avoids fried foods, highly processed foods, high-fat dairy products and raw foods.

The diet is ideal for those who are recovering from certain medical conditions such as ulcers, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or if you're recovering from bowel or stomach surgery. It's meant to reduce stress on the digestive tract and promote healing.

What to Avoid

Medline lists the following foods to avoid while on a bland diet:

  • Fatty dairy foods (butter, whipped cream or high-fat ice cream)
  • Strong cheeses, such as bleu or Roquefort
  • Raw fruits and vegetables, especially berries
  • Gassy vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, green peppers, and corn)
  • Dried fruit
  • Whole-grain or bran cereals
  • Whole-grain breads, crackers, or pasta
  • Pickles, sauerkraut, and similar foods
  • Garlic and hot peppers
  • Foods with a lot of sugar or honey in them
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Highly seasoned cured or smoked meats and fish
  • Fried foods
  • Alcohol

Other foods that may cause problems are spicy seasonings such as chili powder, mustard powder, garlic and onion powders, curry and all types of pepper. Some condiments should also be avoided including spicy mustard, horseradish, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce.

Ketchup, yellow mustard and low-fat salad dressings can be used in moderation as tolerated.

Sample Bland Menu - Day One

Despite the bland diet's limitations, there are many foods you can still enjoy. For each of the items below, try to choose organic versions with no added sugars. For each meal, choose a non-caffeinated beverage to drink such as herbal tea, mild fruit juice, low-fat milk or water.

scrambled eggs

Breakfast

  • Scrambled or poached eggs cooked without fat
  • Hominy grits
  • Stewed or canned pears

Snack

  • Strained fruit or applesauce
  • Sponge cake

Lunch

  • Creamy peanut or almond butter sandwich on white bread
  • Cottage cheese
  • Vanilla pudding made with low-fat, skim or rice milk

Dinner

  • Baked or broiled chicken
  • Steamed white rice or boiled noodles
  • Cooked peas or green beans
  • Rice pudding made with low-fat, skim or rice milk

Snack

  • Low-fat cottage cheese
  • Arrowroot cookie

Day Two

bowl of oatmeal

Breakfast

  • Cream of Wheat, oatmeal or cooked rice cereal (sweetened with a small amount of honey or maple syrup)
  • Canned or stewed fruit

Snack

  • Cup yogurt
  • Saltine crackers

Lunch

  • Grilled chicken breast
  • Mashed potatoes made with low-fat, skim or rice milk and no butter
  • Steamed or boiled carrots
  • Stewed peaches or canned fruit cocktail

Dinner

  • Broiled salmon
  • White rice or couscous
  • Steamed asparagus
  • Angel food cake

Snack

  • Jell-O
  • Plain crackers (not whole grain)

Day Three

Breakfast

  • Rice cereal or cornflakes with low-fat, skim or rice milk
  • Stewed fruit

Snack

  • Plain rice cakes with creamy nut butter

Lunch

  • Cup of chicken noodle soup
  • Plain crackers (not whole grain)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Applesauce

Dinner

  • Broiled whitefish
  • Cooked peas
  • Baked potato with low-fat or fat-free sour cream
  • Frozen yogurt

Snack

  • Baked apple drizzled with maple syrup

Making a Lifestyle Change

A bland diet may be temporary or a permanent part of your lifestyle. Since there are many options to consider, the menus need not be boring. The key to success is to keep it simple and stick to easily digestible foods. The end result will be well worth the effort and help you live free of painful irritation and inflammation.

Before starting any diet, check with your doctor to discuss if it's right for you and to ensure it meets your specific medical and nutritional needs.

Bland Diet Menu