Your doctor may prescribe a bland diet if you've had abdominal surgery, you have a stomach bug that causes nausea and vomiting, or you suffer from heartburn or ulcers. These diets are gentle on your stomach and digestive tract since they contain little fiber and aren't very spicy, giving your body time to heal. Since bland diets can be low in essential nutrients, only follow them until your doctor gives you the OK to return to your normal diet.
Fruits and Vegetables
Most fruit and vegetable juices are safe, and you can eat canned or cooked fruits and vegetables that don't include any seeds or skins if you're on a bland diet. However, raw fruits and vegetables, dried fruit and fresh berries are off limits. So are vegetables that often cause gas, such as corn, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber and green peppers. You should also avoid fruit juices that contain a lot of pulp, including many types of orange juice.
Avoid whole grains if you're on a bland diet, including popcorn, whole-grain bread, cereal and crackers, since these are too high in fiber. Instead, opt for breads, cereals and crackers made with refined grains, choosing those that are lowest in sugar. Creamed wheat and quick oats are both allowed on a bland diet, as are white rice, regular pasta, and waffles or pancakes made with refined flour.
You can consume low-fat dairy products on a bland diet, but you should avoid full-fat dairy products and strong cheeses, such as blue cheese. Because of the high fat content, don't use whipped cream or eat regular or premium ice creams. You may also want to refrain from consuming even low-fat ice cream, flavored milks and yogurts, since these can be high in sugars, which aren't recommended on a bland diet.
Avoid fried, smoked or cured meats if you're on a bland diet, as well as nuts, seeds, beans and other legumes. Tofu, creamy peanut butter and baked, grilled or steamed lean meats and fish are better options. However, make sure that you prepare and serve them without any added fat. Seafood and white-meat poultry are better options than beef or pork because they are usually leaner.
This diet is called bland because the foods you can eat are just that. Avoid using most condiments, spices and seasonings. Don't consume foods that are made with a lot of honey or sugar. You should also eat more small meals instead of a few large meals, and make sure to chew your food well. Don't eat near bedtime, and avoid any foods that cause digestive issues, even if they are on the approved list.
Based in Massachusetts, Jessica Bruso has been writing since 2008. She holds a master of science degree in food policy and applied nutrition and a bachelor of arts degree in international relations, both from Tufts University.