If you are experiencing heartburn, nausea, vomiting, gas or have an ulcer, your doctor may recommend you follow a bland diet. A bland diet consists of soft, low-fiber foods with minimal spices and seasonings. You will need to avoid many foods, such as fried foods. The diet is designed to help you meet your nutritional needs while limiting your symptoms.
Breads and Starches
Breads and starches contain carbohydrates and provide your body with energy. The number of bread and starch servings you need to eat each day depends on your calorie needs, but can range from six to eight servings a day. Talk to your doctor about your daily calorie needs. Choose refined flour breads and starches to limit your fiber intake and ease digestion when following a bland diet. Bread and starch choices for a bland diet include white bread, pasta, white rice, saltine crackers, cream of wheat and mashed potatoes. Try to eat more small, frequent meals to improve your tolerance.
Choose mostly soft and canned fruits on a bland diet. You should try to eat two to three servings of fruit a day. Fruits contain vitamin C and vitamin A, important antioxidants that protect your cells from oxidation. Fruit choices on a bland diet include applesauce, canned fruit cocktail, pears or peaches, cooked fruits without seeds or skin, bananas and mild juice such as apple or grape. Avoid acidic foods on a bland diet such as citrus fruits.
Aim for two to three servings of vegetables each day. Like fruits, vegetables also contain important nutrients for health such as vitamin A, vitamin C, folate and potassium. On a bland diet, you should only eat cooked vegetables -- either fresh, canned or frozen -- and avoid gas producing vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Healthy vegetable choices on a bland diet include soft cooked green beans, zucchini, carrots and winter squash.
You can have two to four servings of dairy foods a day on a bland diet. Healthy choices include low-fat cottage cheese, mild cheeses such as Colby or Muenster, custard, ice cream without nuts, pudding, low-fat yogurt and low-fat milk. Avoid any dairy products with chocolate when following a bland diet because it can exacerbate your symptoms.
Meat and Meat Substitutes
Meat and meat substitutes provide your body with protein, iron and zinc. Choose lean cuts of meat to decrease your fat intake. Foods high in fat delay stomach emptying and can exacerbate your symptoms. You will need 5 to 7 oz. of meat or meat substitutes a day on a bland diet. Healthy choices include soft tofu, creamy peanut butter, soft cooked eggs and tender meats, poultry or fish. Avoid any meats or meat substitutes with spicy or acidic seasonings such as hot sauce or tomato sauce.