Gluten-Free Bland Diet: A Complete Guide

A gluten-free bland diet can be a life-saver when you’re feeling sick and need still need energy in your body. In this post, we will discuss what a gluten-free bland diet is, what a BRAT diet is, and when you might follow these diets.

What is a Gluten-Free Bland Diet?

A gluten-free bland diet is a diet that focuses on easy-to-digest foods. These are foods that are typically low in fat, fiber, and have a mild flavor. It’s often used to give the digestive system a break without depriving it of food.

Gluten-Free Bland Diet A Complete Guide​ - Tayler Silfverduk, celiac dietitian - what foods are allowed on a bland diet, foods to avoid on a bland diet, foods to enjoy on a BRAT diet, foods to avoid on a BRAT diet

What Foods can you eat on a Gluten-Free Bland Diet?

Gluten-free foods to enjoy on a bland diet include:

  • Low-fat milk and milk alternatives (like rice, almond, and soy milk)
  • Canned and well-cooked vegetables
  • Canned fruit and fruit juice
  • Gluten-free crackers, bread, pasta, and white rice
  • Potatoes
  • Smooth nut butter
  • Chicken or turkey without the skin
  • Caffeine-free drinks (herbal teas, herbal coffee)

Gluten-free foods to avoid on a bland diet include:

  • Spicy foods
  • Super flavorful food
  • High-fat food
  • Fried food
  • Very sweet food (like candy, cookies, cake)
  • Raw fruits/vegetables
  • Alcohol
  • Butter and mayo

Why eat Plain Gluten-Free Foods?

A bland diet has been thought to help tolerability of foods when nauseous. Additionally, plain gluten-free foods could help with symptoms like heartburn, nausea, vomiting and more. In the case of celiac, these are all common symptoms of gluten exposure. Thus, enjoying bland foods when exposed to gluten may help with symptoms. On that note, you may want to include them in your gluten exposure recovery kit.

Bland Diet vs. BRAT Diet

Per Web MD, a BRAT diet is a diet focused on bananas, rice, apples, and toast (get it? B-R-A-T?). A bland diet is often used synonymously with a BRAT diet. However, in some cases a BRAT diet is specifically bananas, rice, apples, and low-fiber gluten-free toast. Because a BRAT diet is so restrictive, many people opt for a bland diet instead.

What to eat When Sick and Gluten-Free

When you’re gluten-free, eating when you’re sick can feel like a challenge. Whether you’re not feeling well because you’ve been glutened (learn more about what to do when you’ve been glutened here) or because you’ve got an infection, plain foods are a solid go-to.

They are comforting and easy on the digestive system which is perfect if your stomach is upset. Another tip is to make sure to keep your meals small and frequent. This will help make sure you’re not undereating which can lead to overeating later on and cause even more symptoms.

Below are lists of gluten-free recipes, snacks, and pre-made meals to buy when you’re sick.

One-Pot Chicken and Rice​ (gluten-free and dairy-free) - Tayler Silfverduk, celiac dietitian

5 Gluten-Free BRAT Diet Recipes

  • Homemade Gluten-Free Rice Porridge – Made with rice, this recipe will be gentle on the stomach. Choose to keep this recipe simple, incorporating the topping options once you are feeling better.
  • Gluten-Free BRAT Pancakes – This recipe includes simple ingredients like rice and applesauce. Of course, there’s the optional maple syrup to add if you feel you can tolerate it.
  • Flourless Apple Banana Muffins – These simple, deciduous muffins are made with banana, apple, and almond flour. A great recipe to start adding more ingredients to your diet once you are feeling better.
  • Banana Slushie – Sometimes something cold can provide a soothing effect when we are not feeling well. This two-ingredient smoothie will do the trick, it’s just banana and ice!
  • Homemade Applesauce with hints of cinnamon, this homemade applesauce is gentle on the stomach. You can skip the cinnamon on the first go at this recipe until you are feeling better.

10 Gluten-Free Bland Recipes to Make When you are Sick

  • One Pan Chicken and Rice – This recipe is one of my all-time favorite dinners. I probably eat a variation of this more than 2 times a week. It’s easy and absolutely delicious. The base recipe is plain and perfect for if you’re not feeling well. However, if you’re feeling some extra flavor this recipe is extremely versatile to whatever you’re in the mood for.
  • Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup – This classic recipe will provide comfort when you are not feeling well. Choose to reduce the garlic in this recipe for a more subtle flavor. 
  • Easy Miso Soup – While this recipe has ginger, which is known to help with nausea, it also is made with sesame oil, which can be an overpowering flavor. Omit the sesame for a similar version of this miso soup.
  • Potato Rosemary Risotto – Creamy and gentle on the stomach, this risotto can be eaten alone as a full meal, or add chicken if that sounds good to you.
  • Leek and Rice Soup This simple soup recipe is gluten-free and gentle on the stomach.
  • Swedish Inspired Rice Porridge – Rice and milk of choice provide gentle ingredients to help soothe an angry stomach.
  • Poached Chicken Pot au Feu  – A simple one-pot meal provides gentle ingredients for when you are not feeling well.
  • Gluten-Free Pasta with Lemon Chicken  – Simple gluten-free pasta dishes without a lot of spice can provide nutrition when everything else doesn’t sound good. You can also cut down on the lemon if this flavor seems too overpowering.
  • Slow Cooker Baked Potato Soup – You can customize this recipe for just the ingredients that sound appealing – just like you would for a baked potato!
  • Chicken and Rice Casserole – Gentle recipe when everything else doesn’t sound good, you can cut back on the herbs and garlic if you feel like it’s too much.
  • Gluten-Free Toast – Sweet or Savory – This recipe can provide you peanut butter and banana or avocado and lime – choose what you are craving!
Gluten-Free Bland Diet Snacks to Buy from Amazon​ - Tayler Silfverduk, celiac dietitian

Gluten-Free Plain Snacks to Buy

Gluten-Free Bland Meals to Buy

Gluten-Free Bland Meals to Buy from Amazon A Complete Guide​ - Tayler Silfverduk, celiac dietitian

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