Bland Diet

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
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What is the bland diet?

A bland diet is an eating plan that emphasizes foods that are easy to digest. If you’re following this diet, you should choose foods that are low in fat, low in fiber, and easy to chew. And as the name implies, the bland diet calls for foods that are mild in flavor.

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Are there other names for this diet?

The bland diet is sometimes called the BRAT or BRATT diet. BRAT is an acronym that stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. If you’re following a bland diet, you can incorporate these four foods into your meals, but there are many other options to choose from.

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How can a bland diet help someone with cancer?

Bland diets are generally helpful for people with digestion problems. This includes those with nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or changes in taste. If left untreated, these symptoms can cause you to lose too much weight and prevent you from getting enough nutritious food. A bland diet can help make sure that you get enough to eat and that you maintain a healthy weight.

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What are the foods you can eat on the bland diet?

Focus on low-fiber, starchy grains. Raw fruits and vegetables tend to have too much fiber to digest easily. Canned or bottled fruits and vegetables may work for some people. You can also eat cooked vegetables, but they should be soft. Avoid vegetables that have been steamed or blanched.

Good sources of protein on the bland diet include skinless roasted or baked chicken, eggs, low-fat milk and yogurt, and smooth peanut butter and other nut butters.

FOOD GROUPS FOODS TO INCLUDE
Milk, Dairy Products, and Milk Alternatives Low-fat milk and yogurt
Any milk alternative (such as rice, soy, and almond milk)
Vegetables Canned or bottled vegetables in moderation
Vegetables cooked until very soft
Fruit and Juices Canned or bottled fruits in moderation
Diluted fruit juice
Breads and Grains Potatoes, crackers, bread, pasta, rice, and plain cereals
Meats and Other Proteins Roasted or baked poultry without the skin
Smooth nut butter
Fats and Oils Healthy oils, such as olive oil, in moderation (a drizzle for flavor)
Beverages Caffeine-free beverages
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What are the foods to avoid on the bland diet? 

Stay away from these items:

  • spicy or highly seasoned foods, such as curry, hot sauce, hot peppers, and onions
  • high-fat foods, such as red meat, cream, and anything fried 
  • sugary foods, such cookies, doughnuts, cake, candy, and ice cream
FOOD GROUPS FOODS TO AVOID
Milk and Dairy Products Full-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese
Cream
Dairy-based ice cream
Vegetables Raw, steamed, and fried vegetables
Fruit and juices Fresh, raw, and frozen fruit, unpasteurized juices
Breads and Grains Any product with more than 5 grams of fiber per serving
Meats and Other Proteins Fatty or marbled meat
Poultry with skin
Fried meat, poultry, and shellfish
Fats and Oils Butter
Mayonnaise
Beverages Alcohol
Caffeinated beverages (if diarrhea is a problem)
Cream-based beverages (if diarrhea is a problem)
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Are there medications to avoid while on the bland diet? 

No.

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What are some common complaints from people on the bland diet, and how do you solve them?

The lack of variety in foods and flavors can be difficult for some people on the bland diet. Planning meals in advance can help you avoid repeating foods.

Marinades are a nice way to bring out the natural flavors of poultry. Marinate poultry in fruit juices such as orange juice or pineapple juice. You can use onions or garlic as long as you remove them before you cook the meat. Sea salt is another way to bring out the natural flavors of your meat.

Foods on the bland diet tend to be binding, meaning that they can cause constipation. It’s important to drink plenty of fluid throughout the day to help ease constipation. 

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What are some tips for people on the bland diet?

If you’re experiencing nausea or a lack of appetite, try eating smaller meals more frequently instead of three large meals. 

  • Focus on mild flavors. Avoid strong flavors and odors. 
  • Avoid drinking during meals. This can help make sure that you get enough nutrition from your food rather than filling up on liquids.
  • To give your digestion a jump start, be sure to chew well and select foods that require less chewing. 
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