Health Library

Bland Diet

The Basics

A bland diet is made of foods that are least likely to cause problems. You may need it if you have problems with your throat, stomach, or intestines.

Why It May Help

This diet may help those who have:

Eating bland foods can't cure these problems, but it can help ease symptoms.

Food Choices

Foods that are high in fat, spicy, fried, or acidic often make problems worse. Drinks with caffeine and alcohol can also cause problems. It is best to stop eating or limit these foods.

Food Eat this... Instead of...*
Grains Any (such as pasta, rice, bulgur) (Note: make them without adding fat.) Grains prepared with fat
Vegetables Any (Note: made without fat) Veggies made with fat (such as French fries, mashed potatoes made with butter or cream), tomato juice, tomato sauce
Fruits Any (except citrus) (Note: made 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: made 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 (such as 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 drinks
Fats and Oils Less than eight teaspoons per day

*These foods or drinks can bother the stomach. But there may be foods on this list that don’t bother you. There may also be foods not on this list that do bother you. Keep a food diary. Write down the food you ate, what you were doing, and what symptoms you had. This will help to find what foods are causing your problems.

Tips

Other steps that may help are:

  • Eat six small meals instead of three large ones.
  • Eat slowly. Put your fork down between bites.
  • Avoid lying down for three to four hours after eating.
  • A dietitian can help you make a meal plan. This may be helpful if you will be on a bland diet for a long time.

Resources

American Gastroenterological Association
http://www.gastro.org

Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
http://www.eatright.org

Canadian Resources

Dietitians of Canada
http://www.dietitians.ca

Health Canada
https://www.canada.ca

References

American Dietetic Association. Nutrition Care Manual. American Dietetic Association website. Available at: http://nutritioncaremanual.org. Accessed September 13, 2016.