A bland diet is made of foods that are least likely to cause problems. You may need it if you have issues with your throat, stomach, or intestines.
Why It May Help
This diet may help those who have:
- Peptic ulcer
- Chronic gastritis—swelling in stomach
- Reflux disease
- Dyspepsia—stomach problems like swelling, belching, and pain
- Other stomach irritations like infections
Eating bland foods cannot cure these problems, but it can help ease symptoms.
A bland diet contains foods that are easy to digest and those that are soft, low-fiber, and gentle on the digestive tract. Foods that are raw or uncooked, 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 low-fiber grains (such as pasta, rice, and bulgur) (Note: make them without adding fat.)||Whole-grains (such as wheat, whole wheat pasta, and cereal) and grains prepared with fat|
|Vegetables||Any non-gassy vegetables (Note: made without fat)||Veggies that cause gas (such as cabbage, cauliflower, onion, and peppers), veggies made with fat (such as French fries and mashed potatoes made with butter or cream), and 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, pickles, 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.
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.
American Gastroenterological Association
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
American Dietetic Association. Nutrition Care Manual. American Dietetic Association website. Available at: http://nutritioncaremanual.org. Accessed February 3, 2021.
Weir, S., & Akhondi, H. (2020). Bland Diet. In StatPearls. StatPearls Publishing. PMID: 30844169.
Last reviewed December 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN Last Updated: 2/3/2021