Bland Diet: The Complete Guide

In short, a bland diet is one that consists of foods that are easy for your body to digest, such as those that are low in fiber, low in fat, and easy to chew. Additionally, as the name suggests, a bland diet should focus on foods that are mild in flavor. 

This kind of diet is sometimes referred to as the BRAT or BRATT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, as these are four common foods which can be incorporated into a bland diet plan.

What Are the Benefits of a Bland Diet?

Following a bland diet can have plenty of health benefits, especially if you were instructed to eat this way as a result of gastrointestinal issues. 

Switching to a bland diet, even if only for the time being, can reduce symptoms of heartburn, vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea that are traditionally caused by spicy foods or foods that are hard to digest.

Additionally, a bland diet can be highly beneficial for people struggling with peptic ulcers, and may work even better if it is coupled with other lifestyle changes as well, such as reducing stress. Bland diets work so well because these types of foods can help prevent acid reflux, acid production, or other digestive tract irritation.

What Foods Does a Bland Diet Include?

There are plenty of delicious foods that can be included in a bland diet. Foods that you can eat while on this diet include:

  • Low fat dairy products: This includes low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese, and yogurt. Cheese should be mildly flavored, like cottage cheese. Anyone with lactose intolerance or other dairy sensitivities should avoid these products altogether, and dairy products are generally meant to be avoided if you are on a bland diet to treat a peptic ulcer.

  • Vegetables: Certain vegetables are perfect for a bland diet. Beets, carrots, green beans, potatoes, and spinach are all top contenders, and are best consumed steamed or boiled. It is not recommended to consume these vegetables raw while on the bland diet, and they should be eaten with little to no butter.

  • Fruits with low fiber content: Bananas and melon are both low in fiber, making them great choices when it comes to fruit. Additionally, you can also opt for canned fruits that are low in fiber and do not have seeds. Avocados are higher in fiber, but they may be tolerated well, too.

  • Processed grains and breads: Processed grains, including white bread, seedless rye, and refined wheat products are another good choice for a bland diet, though people who are sensitive to gluten should proceed with caution. If you do not have a gluten intolerance, though, you can also choose to eat soda crackers, soft white pasta, cold cereals with low sugar content, and hot or cooked cereal like oatmeal. 

  • Eggs, fish, and poultry: As long as they are only mildly seasoned and contain little to no fat, lean protein sources are another safe option. This includes skinless chicken, fish like salmon and trout, shellfish like lobster or shrimp, eggs, and silken tofu.

Other foods like soups, broths, and nut butters can also make a bland diet highly delicious. When consuming these products, just make sure to check the ingredients beforehand to see whether or not they contain any other foods that are a no-go. 

What Foods Should Be Avoided?

Foods that should be avoided include those with high fat content, strong flavors or seasoning, and foods that are otherwise difficult for your body to digest. These include:

  • Raw vegetables and cruciferous vegetables
  • High fat dairy foods like whipped cream
  • Strong cheeses
  • Dried fruits
  • Whole grains
  • Fermented foods like sauerkraut
  • Spices and strong seasonings, including garlic and hot pepper
  • Fried foods
  • Alcoholic beverages and caffeine

While this may seem like a long list of things to toss aside for now, there are still plenty of ways to make a bland diet delicious, and oftentimes, the benefits outweigh the inconvenience of taking some time off from a few of your favorite foods.

How Can I Make Sure I Am Getting All Necessary Vitamins While On a Bland Diet?

A common concern while on a bland diet is that you may not be getting all of the most important vitamins and other nutrients as a result of the restricted list of foods to choose from. Because the bland diet ideally does not include whole grains and a number of fruits and vegetables, it is likely to lead to gaps in your nutrition which need to be filled through other methods. 

That being said, it may be a good idea to incorporate vitamins into your daily routine while on this restricted diet. The GoBiotix Prebiotic Fiber Boost works to regulate and promote digestion and gut health, making it a good choice if you are dealing with irregularity or other issues, and it may be a good choice considering the lack of fiber while on a bland diet. For more complete coverage when it comes to vitamins and minerals, opt for our Complete Probiotic Multivitamin, which incorporates vitamin C, biotin, and more to support your overall health.

A Few Last Tips 

Other tips for a bland diet include making sure not to eat within the two hour window before going to bed, as this can interrupt digestion. 

Eating small, more frequent meals throughout the day might be easier on your stomach than three big meals, and chewing your food slowly and thoroughly can aid digestion as well. 

The bland diet can be largely helpful temporarily, especially if you just need to get your gut health back on track, but it is not ideal for long term use due to gaps in nutrition. 

Consulting with your doctor will allow you to better understand when certain foods should start to be reintroduced, and doing so correctly will help you avoid any of the discomfort you were hoping to resolve in the first place. 

Summary

A bland diet can have a great deal of benefits when it comes to digestion and gut health. This kind of diet consists of easily digestible foods with low fiber and fat content, and it is ideal for anyone looking to get their gut health back on track. This diet includes foods that are mild in flavor and easy to chew and digest so as to be gentle on the stomach. Certain vegetables, low-fat dairy products, and processed grains and breads make great choices for bland-diet meals, and lean protein sources like eggs, skinless chicken, and some seafood are safe as well. Spicy or otherwise strong seasonings should be avoided as well as raw vegetables, high-fat meat and dairy products, and foods with lots of sugar as these are harder to digest and can cause stomach upset. The bland diet can be a great fix for short-term use, and consulting your doctor before reintroducing other foods will help keep you comfortable. 

Sources

https://www.mskcc.org/experience/patient-support/nutrition-cancer/diet-plans-cancer/bland-diet#:~:text=A%20bland%20diet%20is%20an,that%20are%20mild%20in%20flavor.

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000068.htm

https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/bland-diet

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