When patients are told they have to follow a bland diet, they can be left wondering if they will ever enjoy their food again. Even the name ‘Bland Diet’ inspires dread, as you expect to be eating a lot of ‘blah’ foods! While it is true that some foods must be avoided on this diet, the good news is there are lots of tasty items you can have which are both nutritious and enjoyable.
As with any dietary change, the secret lies in being prepared. Here are some of the bland diet heroes which feature in many of our recipes. If you have these to hand, you can always create a fabulous dish which is anything but blah!
Keep your pantry stocked up with ‘white’ grains – white pasta, rice and couscous are all excellent low-fiber sources of carbohydrate which won’t irritate your gut. White potatoes and sweet potatoes are also good to have on hand as they will keep for a long time and can be used in a variety of dishes- just remember to remove the skin. Keep a stock of refined cereals like cream of wheat, farina and cornflakes for quick meal or snack options.
Fruit and Vegetables
As fresh fruit and veggies are too hard to digest, the canned versions can be substituted to provide nutrition that’s a little easier on the system. You should remove excess seeds or skin to minimize the amount of fiber you’re getting. Applesauce, fruit cocktail or canned peaches are ideal – try having them with yogurt or added to a smoothie for a sweet treat.
Canned vegetables are also an easily digested option-make sure to have a stock of staples such as carrots, green beans and peas.
Fridge & Freezer Foods
Any lean meat or poultry will be suitable for the bland diet, so make sure to keep these in your freezer for fast high-protein meals in the evening. Eggs are also a bland-diet favorite as they are naturally low fat, high protein and fiber free. When buying dairy, choose low-fat or fat free to minimize risks of adverse effects. Milk alternatives such as soy or nut milks are also suitable.
While high fat foods can cause issues, olive oil can be added in small amounts to add both healthy monounsaturated fats and delicious taste to your food. Coconut oil can also be used in very small amounts. This is because coconut oil is high in MCT fats which are more easily absorbed in the body than other fats.
Salt and pepper will add flavor to your food without upsetting your system. While very hot spices may be out on the bland diet, there are still many herbs you can use to add flavor. Stock up on rosemary, thyme, parsley, basil, dill, ginger, fennel and bay leaves. Leeks or scallions can also add some flavor if used in small amounts and as tolerated.
Anyone on a bland diet should avoid alcohol and caffeine as they are gastric stimulants. Instead, choose delicious fruit and herbal teas which are soothing and will provide you with the same warm pick-me-up.
Once you have the basics in place, you will find the bland diet a breeze. Check out our bland diet recipes for inspiration- we have breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks covered, so get cooking!
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