Simple Bland Diet Menu to Ease Stomach Pain and Problems

Updated September 2, 2022
Fish and Veggies

A bland diet is commonly recommended for people who have an inflammatory bowel condition or who need to help reduce stomach irritation and discomfort. A bland diet includes foods that are easy for the gut to process, such as simple soft foods, foods with very little spice, and foods that are low in fiber. Fried foods, highly processed foods, high-fat dairy products, and raw foods are generally avoided on this eating plan.

While a "bland" diet doesn't sound very appetizing, it can be easy to maintain and even appetizing once you understand what to eat and what to avoid.

Foods to Eat on a Bland Diet

The bland diet, along with lifestyle changes, is designed to reduce the stress on the digestive tract and promote healing in those with or who are recovering from certain medical conditions such as ulcers, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or bowel or stomach surgery. Just a few foods listed by Medline Plus to include on the bland diet menu are:

  • Bread and pasta made with refined flour

  • Cooked or canned veggies
  • Eggs
  • Gelatin
  • Hot cereals
  • Lean white meats
  • Low-fat milk products
  • Popsicles
  • Potatoes
  • Puddings
  • Soups

If you're unsure about what foods to include in your meal plan, seek the guidance of your healthcare provider, or qualified nutritionist. They can also help you to gradually add foods back into your diet, if the inflammation or irritation subsides.

Foods to Avoid on a Bland Diet

Since the bland diet includes only foods that are easy for the digestive system to process, Medline Plus also lists the following foods to avoid:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Dried fruit
  • Fatty dairy foods (butter, whipped cream or high-fat ice cream)
  • Foods with a lot of sugar or honey in them
  • Fried foods
  • Garlic and hot peppers
  • Gassy vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, green peppers, and corn)
  • Highly seasoned cured or smoked meats and fish
  • Pickles, sauerkraut, and similar foods
  • Raw fruits and vegetables, especially berries
  • Seeds and nuts
  • Strong cheeses, such as bleu or Roquefort
  • Whole-grain bread, crackers, or pasta
  • Whole-grain or bran cereals

Other foods that may cause problems are spicy seasonings such as chili powder, mustard powder, garlic and onion powders, curry, and all types of pepper. Some condiments should also be avoided, including spicy mustard, horseradish, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce. Ketchup, yellow mustard, and low-fat salad dressings can be used in moderation as tolerated.

Sample Bland Diet Menu - Day 1

Chicken Breast Dinner

Despite the bland diet's limitations, there are many foods you can still enjoy. But before starting any diet, check with your healthcare provider to discuss if it's right for you and to ensure it meets your specific medical and nutritional needs.

For each item on the menu, try to choose organic versions with no added sugars. For each meal, choose a non-caffeinated beverage to drink, such as herbal tea, mild fruit juice, low-fat milk, or water.

Breakfast

  • Hominy grits
  • Scrambled or poached eggs cooked without fat
  • Stewed or canned pears

Snack

Lunch

  • Cottage cheese
  • Creamy peanut or almond butter sandwich on white bread
  • Vanilla pudding made with low-fat, skim, or rice milk

Dinner

  • Baked or broiled chicken
  • Cooked peas or green beans
  • Rice pudding made with low-fat, skim, or rice milk
  • Steamed white rice or boiled noodles

Snack

  • Arrowroot cookie
  • Low-fat cottage cheese

Day 2 Bland Diet Menu

Natural and juicy pickled pears in the jar

The bland diet can have a lot of variety. However, it's important to eat frequently. Since it's important to eat frequently, you'll want to eat snacks in between meals. You'll also want to make sure to chew your food thoroughly and drink fluids slowly. Here is a preview of what day two can look like:

Breakfast

  • Canned or stewed fruit
  • Cream of Wheat, oatmeal, or cooked rice cereal (sweetened with a small amount of honey or maple syrup)

Snack

  • Cup yogurt
  • Saltine crackers

Lunch

  • Grilled chicken breast
  • Mashed potatoes made with low-fat, skim, or rice milk and no butter
  • Steamed or boiled carrots
  • Stewed peaches or canned fruit cocktail

Dinner

Snack

  • Jell-O
  • Plain crackers (not whole grain)

Day 3 Bland Diet Menu

Peanut butter on rice cakes

When eating a bland diet, it's essential to stop eating about two hours before going to bed and avoid NSAIDs that can irritate your stomach, like ibuprofen. Try out this menu on day 3.

Breakfast

  • Rice cereal or cornflakes with low-fat, skim, or rice milk
  • Stewed fruit

Snack

  • Plain rice cakes with creamy nut butter

Lunch

  • Applesauce
  • Cottage cheese
  • Cup of chicken noodle soup
  • Plain crackers (not whole grain)

Dinner

  • Baked potato with low-fat or fat-free sour cream
  • Broiled whitefish
  • Cooked peas
  • Frozen yogurt

Snack

  • Baked apple drizzled with maple syrup

A bland diet may be a temporary or a permanent part of your lifestyle. Since there are many options to consider, the menus need not be boring. The key to success is to keep it simple and stick to easily digestible foods. The end result will be well worth the effort and help you live free of painful irritation and inflammation.

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Simple Bland Diet Menu to Ease Stomach Pain and Problems