Light diet: foods and recipes for gastrointestinal complaints

Light food is often recommended when gastrointestinal complaints such as  diarrhea , gastritis or intestinal inflammation affect digestion. But what is light food and which food is suitable? Here you will find tips for foods, recipes and dishes that are gentle on the stomach and intestines – from breakfast to dinner.

What is bland food?

A diet that is intended to protect and relieve the stomach and intestines is referred to as a light diet. Other common terms are “light whole diet” and “adapted whole diet”.

While light food used to consist mainly of  bananas , pretzel sticks and rusks, today value is placed on a balanced variety, personal preferences and individual tolerance of the food. Therefore, the general rule applies: You can eat what is healthy and good for you. Below you will find tips and recipes for light dishes that are well tolerated by most people.

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If the bland diet is used to improve acute symptoms in the digestive tract, then you should stick to it until  nausea , diarrhea etc. have completely subsided. It is then advisable to slowly return to your usual diet. In order not to overload the stomach and intestines, difficult to digest or greasy foods should be avoided for a few more days.

In the case of chronic diseases, it can make sense to change your diet in the long term. Professional nutritional advice helps to tailor the light diet to personal needs and preferences.

What to eat if you have gastrointestinal problems?

A light diet is recommended to relieve symptoms in the gastrointestinal tract, such as nausea,  flatulence , abdominal pain and diarrhea, as well as in the case of inflammation of the gastric mucosa (gastritis). Foods such as rice, white bread, potatoes, lean meat or steamed vegetables belong on the menu.

On the other hand, you should avoid coarse grain products with whole grains, heavily seasoned or greasy dishes, raw vegetables and salad, as well as acidic, very hot or cold drinks, as well as alcohol.

What to Eat When You Have Intestinal Inflammation

Even with a chronic inflammatory bowel disease such as  Crohn’s disease  or ulcerative colitis, those affected have to find out for themselves which foods are good for them and can be tolerated. In general, mild fruit, cooked vegetables, pastries made from finely ground wholemeal flour, eggs, dairy products and white, cooked meat are easily digestible. Suitable drinks are lukewarm tea without sugar and non-carbonated water.

Fruit and vegetables as a light diet

Mild types of fruit such as ripe bananas, low-acid apples or melons are well suited to a light diet. Vegetables steamed without fat, such as zucchini,  carrots , potatoes, fennel or parsnips, are also well tolerated.

On the other hand, acidic fruit and vegetables that cause gas or are difficult to digest, such as onions, various types of cabbage, peppers and legumes, should be avoided.

Spices and herbs – gentle on the digestion

Some spices and garden herbs are particularly good for the stomach and intestines because they alleviate digestive problems, reduce flatulence and relieve cramps. These include the classics anise,  caraway  and fennel. But parsley, dill and coriander are also easily digestible and give the food a tasty flavor.

Milk and dairy products: What is suitable as a light diet?

Soured, low-fat milk products such as  yoghurt , sour milk, kefir or buttermilk are often better tolerated than whole milk, cheese or cream. Many of these preparations contain valuable probiotic bacteria that are good for digestion and keep the natural intestinal flora in balance.

Bread and pastries – gentle classics

Bread and rolls made from finely ground wholemeal flour without grains provide important  dietary fiber  and energy in the form of carbohydrates. They can be eaten as part of a light diet. If you don’t like or tolerate whole grain products, you can use pastries made from white flour.

It is better to avoid fresh yeast pastries or very sweet or greasy pasta.

Fish and meat – what is well tolerated?

When it comes to fish and  meat  or meat products, it all depends on the preparation. Boiled or steamed fish as well as lean, well-done meat and ham specialties are easily digestible.

High-fat or smoked sausage products such as liver sausage, meat sausage, mettwurst or salami are less suitable. You should also stay away from smoked fish and mussels.

Soft-boiled  eggs , scrambled eggs and fried eggs from a coated pan without the addition of fat are suitable in moderation as part of the light diet. Hard-boiled or raw eggs, on the other hand, should not be on the menu.

Light food recipe for breakfast

A warm oatmeal soup for breakfast is easy on the stomach and easy to digest. The preparation for one serving is as simple as this:

  1. Put three heaped tablespoons of tender rolled oats in a saucepan with a cup of cold water or milk.
  2. Heat slowly and bring to the boil once, stirring constantly.
  3. Then let it cool down and season with a little  honey  or dextrose.
  4. If you like, you can add half a mashed banana.

The oatmeal swells up as it cooks and becomes slimy. This is particularly good for an irritated stomach lining.

Main course – light dish for lunch

A potato and carrot stew keeps you full for a long time and is still not heavy on the stomach. It is also wonderfully suitable for children.

 Preparation for one portion: Peel two medium-sized  potatoes and two carrots, cut into small cubes and cook in a little water until soft. Season with some salt. If you like and are tolerable, you can also add a dollop of butter and a little chives.

Light Food: Recipe for dinner

White bread, bread made from fine wholemeal flour or toast are suitable for dinner  . Low-fat quark with a little chives tastes particularly good as a topping, but light ham or low-fat cheese are also delicious and easy on the digestive tract. Instead of butter or margarine, simply use low-fat cream cheese or some yoghurt.

Rules for the light diet at a glance

This is to be considered for a stomach- and intestine-friendly diet:

  1. When preparing, pay attention to gentle cooking methods, do not deep-fry or bread.
  2. Eat as little fat as possible and avoid animal fats.
  3. Eat slowly , chew well and plan several smaller portions throughout the day.
  4. Do not eat cereal products with whole grains and nuts.
  5. Prefer boiled or steamed vegetables, avoid raw vegetables.
  6. Drink plenty of still water or unsweetened tea.



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