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Bland diet

Self-care

A bland diet can be used to treat ulcers, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and gas. You may also need a bland diet after stomach or intestinal surgery.

A bland diet is made up of foods that are soft, not very spicy, and low in fiber. If you are on a bland diet, you should not eat spicy, fried, or raw foods. You should not drink alcohol or drinks with caffeine in them.

Your doctor or nurse will tell you when you can start eating other foods again. It is still important to eat healthy foods when you add foods back in. Your doctor can refer you to a dietitian or nutritionist to help you plan a healthy diet.

Foods You Can Eat

Here some foods you can eat on a bland diet:

  • Milk and other dairy products, low-fat only
  • Cooked, canned, or frozen vegetables
  • Fruit and vegetable juices
  • Cooked or canned fruit with the skin and seeds removed, such as applesauce or canned peaches
  • Breads, crackers, and pasta made with refined white flour
  • Refined hot cereals, such as oatmeal and cream of wheat
  • Lean, tender meats, such as poultry, whitefish, and shellfish that are steamed, baked, or grilled with no added fat
  • Creamy peanut butter
  • Pudding and custard
  • Eggs
  • Tofu
  • Soup, especially broth
  • Weak tea

Foods to Avoid

Here are some foods you should NOT eat when you are on a bland diet:

  • Fatty dairy foods, such as whipped cream or high-fat ice cream
  • Strong cheeses, such as bleu or Roquefort
  • Raw vegetables
  • Vegetables that make you gassy, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, green peppers, and corn
  • Fresh berries and other fresh fruit
  • Dried fruit
  • Whole-grain or bran cereals
  • Whole-grain breads, crackers, or pasta
  • Pickles, sauerkraut, and similar foods
  • Spices, such as hot pepper and garlic
  • Foods with a lot of sugar or honey in them
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Highly seasoned cured or smoked meats and fish
  • Fried foods

You should also avoid medicine that contains aspirin or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)

Other Diet Tips

Here are some tips for when you are on a bland diet:

  • Eat small meals, and eat more often during the day.
  • Chew your food slowly, and chew it well.
  • Stop cigarette smoking, if you smoke.
  • Do not eat within 2 hours of when you go to bed.
  • Stop eating foods that are NOT on the "do not" list if you do not feel well after eating them.
  • Drink fluids slowly.

Review Date: 6/8/2012
Reviewed By: Jeffrey Heit, MD, Internist with special emphasis on preventive health, fitness and nutrition, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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