Bland Diet Benefits, Foods & More

By jackie
Reviewed: dr. vanta
Article Sources Article Sources
  • 1. 'Bland Diet.' Sara-Bethany Weir.
  • 2. 'The Golden Egg: Nutritional Value, Bioactivities, and Emerging Benefits For Human Health.' Sophie Réhault; Godbert-Nicolas Guyot; Yves Nys.
  • 3.
  • 4. 'Alcohol and Gut-derived Inflammation.' Faraz Bishehsari; Emmeline Magno; Garth Swanson; Vishal Desai; Robin Voigt; Christopher Forsyth; Ali Keshavarzian.
  • 5. 'Flatulence: Student Health and Wellness - Medical Care.' Andrew Bernard.
Medical Expert Medical Expert

An upset stomach can be a very unpleasant experience, especially when it's accompanied by nausea, vomiting or diarrhea. Whether it's caused by food poisoning, an ulcer or something else, the key to recovery is to help the gastrointestinal tract rest. That's where a bland diet may help.

A bland diet focuses on eating mild foods that don't contain any spices, strong flavors or seasoning, hence the name bland. The idea is to eat foods that are low in fat and fiber and less acidic, making them easier to digest. This should lead to fewer bowel movements.1‘Bland Diet.’ Sara-Bethany Weir.

Benefits of a Bland Diet

A bland diet can be beneficial to gut health and prescribed by physicians to treat stomach problems, diarrhea and vomiting that don't respond to other diets or treatments. Using the dietmay also benefit people with excess flatulence, stomach ulcers, inflammatory bowel disease and acid reflux.

A doctor usually recommends a bland diet after a person undergoes intestinal or stomach surgery to help the patient transition back to a regular diet. Everyone's dietary needs are different, so check with a physician or dietitian to ensure a bland diet is what's needed. A bland diet is recommended for the short term, and only when is necessary.


Foods To Eat on a Bland Diet

The list of foods that may be included in a bland diet is more extensive and varied than many people think. Low-fat or fat-free dairy products, such as milk, yogurt and cottage cheese, are included and, for those who are lactose-intolerant, plant-based alternatives, such as almond, flax and coconut milk, can be used as substitutes.

Eggs are also a good choice to include in a bland diet. They provide the body with essential vitamins, minerals, protein and other nutrients.2‘The Golden Egg: Nutritional Value, Bioactivities, and Emerging Benefits For Human Health.’ Sophie Réhault; Godbert-Nicolas Guyot; Yves Nys.

Fruits and Vegetables

One of the key caveats of a bland diet is to eat only cooked foods. Canned or frozen vegetables are ideal, but fresh veggies should be peeled and boiled or steamed thoroughly before serving. Beets, white and sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, spinach and pumpkin are good veggies to include in a bland diet.

Canned or cooked fruits are also acceptable, especially applesauce, and vegetable and fruit juices are permissible. However, people with acid reflux should avoid certain foods like citrus or


Lean Meats

Tender, lean meats with no added fat are a good choice. Grilling, steaming or baking poultry or pork is the best way to prepare them as part of a bland diet. Fish can also be included, especially types containing low levels of fat. Whitefish, such as cod, haddock or hake, are good options along with some shellfish, including shrimp, crab and lobster.

Tofu is also an excellent ingredient to cook with when following a bland diet. It's best to avoid anything fried.

Processed Grains, Cereals and Desserts

Pasta and bread made with processed grains or refined white flour are included in a bland diet. Crackers and tortillas can be consumed if prepared with refined flour. It's also permissible to top toast with creamy peanut butter or jelly. Other breakfast options include low-sugar cereals, cream of wheat or oatmeal.

The good news is that desserts are allowed under a bland diet. Sponge cake, puddings and plain cookies are good options and can be topped with plain custard.



In addition to low-fat milk and juices, water, carbonated soft drinks and sports drinks are some beverages allowed as part of a bland diet.

Alcohol may irritate the gastrointestinal tract and make symptoms worse, so it should be avoided when following this eating regime.4‘Alcohol and Gut-derived Inflammation.’ Faraz Bishehsari; Emmeline Magno; Garth Swanson; Vishal Desai; Robin Voigt; Christopher Forsyth; Ali Keshavarzian. Caffeine may also adversely affect the gut, so it's best to stay away from coffee or caffeine-based soft drinks. However, weak black tea and herbal teas, such as green and chamomile teas, may be good choices for soothing stomach problems.

Foods To Avoid on a Bland Diet

In contrast to all the foods that may be included in a bland diet, the foods to avoid are high in fiber, spicy, have a high-fat content or can contribute to flatulence.

Fried foods, items with a high sugar or honey content, fatty meats and cured, smoked or seasoned fish or meat should all be avoided. Strong-flavored cheeses, especially blue cheese, whipping cream and other fatty dairy products are also on the list of foods to omit when on a bland diet.


Other Items To Avoid on a Bland Diet

Seeds, nuts and whole-grain bread and pasta should be omitted when following a bland diet. Pickles and foods that contain strong seasonings and spices, such as chili, horseradish and garlic, can irritate the gut and should also be avoided. This includes strong dressings, barbecue sauces and pepper sauce.

Due to their high fiber content, some veggies may make people gassier than usual and may worsen an already upset stomach. These include brussels sprouts, green peppers, cabbage and corn. 5‘Flatulence: Student Health and Wellness - Medical Care.’ Andrew Bernard.

Risks of a Bland Diet

Fiber helps regulate bowel movements and keeps the gut healthy by feeding good bacteria. As a bland diet lacks fiber, some people may experience constipation. The body also requires more nutrients than the diet provides, and it's not a plan for weight loss.

Following a bland diet for an extended period of time is not advisable as it may cause changes in the body's overall health. People should consult a doctor if symptoms persist and for advice on how long to continue with the diet.

Other Diet Tips

Rather than having two or three large meals, it may be helpful to eat small portions regularly throughout the day. Waiting at least two hours after eating before retiring to bed gives the stomach time to digest food properly. It's also helpful to chew food completely before swallowing and drink fluids slowly rather than gulping them down.

When used in conjunction with these dieting practices, a bland diet may help alleviate the symptoms of gastrointestinal problems until the body is functioning properly.


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