If you have frequent heartburn (aka you experience it more than two days per week), you’ve probably talked with your doctor about ways to prevent it (like eating at least two to three hours before bed, not overeating, and avoiding tight clothes) and ways to treat it, like trying an over-the-counter medicine like Nexium 24HR. Your doctor may also have recommended switching to a bland diet to avoid any heartburn-triggering foods. But is there anything more snooze-sounding than the idea of following a bland diet? It brings to mind plain oatmeal and boiled chicken breasts—zzzzzz. But it could be worth it; by removing certain foods, you might find that your symptoms don’t occur as frequently or even go away completely.
Luckily, bland food doesn’t have to be boring! Here are some ways to follow your doctor’s orders while still looking forward to mealtime. And remember: Not everyone has the same heartburn triggers, so it may take a while to figure out exactly which foods are making your symptoms worse
Roast your veggies.
You’ll want to avoid raw vegetables and vegetables that could give you gas, like broccoli and cabbage. Instead, load up a baking sheet with mushrooms, sweet potatoes, and any other favorite veggies, and a dash of olive oil. Roast the veggies until they’re brown; it will give you more flavor than simply steaming them.
Add an egg to everything.
Eggs aren’t just for breakfast (though they are delicious scrambled, fried, over-easy, poached…the list goes on!). They can bring filling protein to any meal. Put them on top of polenta, a potato and kale hash, or avocado toast. You can even put them on top of soup — trust us!
Start your day the cozy way.
Hot cereals like cream of wheat are perfect for a bland diet, but they can be oh-so-plain. That’s where toppings come in. Skip the nuts, dried fruit, and berries, and instead spoon on a dollop of creamy peanut butter and some banana slices.
Fire up the grill.
Plain boiled chicken? No, thank you. Use the grill or a grill pan instead to get some extra flavor going. Choose cuts of poultry that don’t have a lot of fat, like skinless chicken breasts, and lean seafood like shrimp and white fish. Instead of spices, use some simple flavorings like fresh herbs to bring more flavor to the meal.
Don’t forget dessert!
While high-fat dairy is out (sorry, no ice cream!), low-fat or fat-free pudding and custard are in. You can buy it premade or try a recipe yourself, like this dairy-free banana rice pudding.
Get more great health and wellness stories at EatingWell.com/Strive.