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Help please: Guest on bland foods diet coming to Super Bowl party

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A friend coming to our Super Bowl party was just placed on a bland foods diet by their doctor. He is just getting used to the whole thing but I am trying to think of a menu for the party now.

He knows that he can't have the following: tomato, citrus, chocolate, coffee and tea, carbonated beverages, alcohol, peppermint, & fatty foods. Raw foods are out, cruciferous and gas producing foods are out. Even black pepper is out.

To top it off I am am lacto-ovo vegetarian and my house is animal/fish free.

He typically loves my cooking and is an adventurous eater so this new diet is killing him.

What ideas might any of you have on things that I can serve, especially that would be good for a game party? I am pretty good at this sort of thing but I need to get my menu banged out quickly and thought someone would have some ideas I might not think of.


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      1. re: Puffin3

        Yeah, hummus was the first thing I thought of, but beans aren't always the easiest thing to digest. I wonder if some legumes are easier to digest than others? you could research.

        When my husband was recovering from last summer's gall bladder/liver/pancreas disaster, we lived on mashed potatoes, scrambled eggs (twice as many whites as yolks), and hummus. He did OK with rice too. I realize those aren't the most fabulous party foods, but you could adjust. For instance, I bought some fresh farmer's market baby lima beas and made the best hummus EVER.

        Epicurious has a stuffed baked potato recipe w/ sauted mushrooms that can be altered to be low fat if you're willing to buy some of the ickier fat-free dairy products like sour cream and cream cheese. their deficiencies are not so noticeable in that preparation. Sprinkle a touch of real, high quality cheese on the top before final baking. You could make it in smaller portions and it would resemble the tradtional footbal food potato skins.

        I also made the husband mushroom soups (although I have to say, beef broth really helps) and blackberry popsicles. It turned out to be sorta fun to experiment with making nursing home food go upscale, and I actually felt a little better myself under this regimen. Makes me think you vegetarians might have something after all ;-)

        OH! and the only fun drink I can think of would be herb tea punch with non citrus juices, like apple, coconut water, etc. ( i assume herb tea is ok, that it's caffeine he's avoiding)

        1. re: danna

          "I wonder if some legumes are easier to digest than others?"

          Having interned years ago for the National Lentil Festival, I can tell you lentils are supposed to be the least gassy legume. ;)

          1. re: SAHCook

            How about mujadarra? Lentils, rice, caramelized onion. The fresh tomato goes in at the end so you can let people add it if they want it. It's flavor is more than the sum of its parts. I sometimes include sauteed mushrooms or cook the lentils and rice in broth rather than plain water.

        2. re: Puffin3

          any kind of roasted veg, especially carrots and red peppers, can be pureed with seasonings and a little olive oil to make wonderfully flavorful dips.

      2. Some sort of deviled egg? Maybe use yogurt in place of mayo? or along those lines, create an egg salad-like dip or spread to be served with crostini or pita.

        potato chowder

        sushi rolls, not sure about fillings...

        1. Baked potatoe bar.

          Mini soft pretzels w/different dips.


          Something using quinoa.

          Shrimp cocktail

          Mini frittatas or quiches

          Taco Bar.

          A salmon or crab cake. Baked instead of fried.

          Fruit crisps for dessert

          4 Replies
          1. re: viperlush

            You are SO much better at this than I am :) These things sound delicious!

            1. re: viperlush

              I was thinking baked potato bar too. That way other guests can load up on chili and salsa and he can still perhaps be pleased with sour cream and cheese sauce.

              1. re: katecm

                Yup, that's why I also suggested the taco bar. No idea what "bland filling" to serve (Scrambled egg? Shrimp? Tofu?), but I figure it might be a good one for the other guests as well.

                1. re: viperlush

                  She said her house was animal/fish free - salmon would be out and probably the crab and shrimp also.

            2. Not sure his diet and your group menu are going to find a happy middle ground on this one. What about making him an egg sandwich -- excellent bread, fried egg (if you have a nonstick pan, you don't really have to add any fat), and a cooked green vegetable (spinach?), or something like that?

              As far as foods for the group, I was thinking making pizza or foccacia, but then you're in fatty cheese and tomato sauce territory. Pasta salad usually has fatty or acidic dressing.... not an easy task!

              1. Roasted cauliflower with tahini and cumin. Rice cakes with strained yogurt. Oatcakes or rye crisps with yogurt cheese and dill are good for low-fat cheese. Deviled eggs with low-fat mayo and a smokey mustard. The challenge in keeping things interesting is that while he should avoid outright sour foods like vinegar or citrus, you can lift flavors a little with slightly tart ingredients like yogurt or lean on herbs and spices to provide you with some punch.

                1. How about a baked potato bar? Others can top their potatoes with broccoli, hot peppers, sauces, whatever....and he could have the potato and whatever else is allowed.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: sandylc

                    This or a mashed potato bar. Same idea, but mashed potatoes with a variety of toppings that people can add.

                  2. 1) this sounds like a pretty bogus diet.

                    2) i second almost all of viperlush's suggestions. except i doubt that a taco bar would be able to fit the gas requirement, and shrimp cocktail/fishcakes obviously dont fit animal/fish free

                    3) my suggestions are baked/stuffed mushrooms, apples, potatoes. garlic bread/toast sounds like it fits, as does squash or sweet potato soup, possibly spinach/artichoke dip (with a low-fat base... possibly greek yogurt?). baked fries or chips....

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: mattstolz

                      It's pretty real. One group that might be prescribed a bland diet are people recovering from stomach surgery.

                      Tofu isn't in my culinary wheelhouse (working on it), but it is one of the foods often found on such a diet. So are breads that aren't whole-grain.

                      I'm thinking something like crostini with butternut squash and other roasted vegetables he is allowed to eat. A fruit salad made only with canned fruits, and to cater to his adventurousness, visit an ethnic grocery for some unusual fruits (but that may require some research). Some sort of custard-based dessert.

                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                        remind me to avoid stomach surgery.

                        ya know, just in case i ever start thinking of doing it for kicks

                        1. re: mattstolz

                          Yeah this dude should have put off his stomach surgery until after the Super Bowl. If I was the host I would set up a Cream of Wheat bar for him where he could select toppings such as raisins, honey or Jack Daniels. And don't seat him next to any big eaters (AKA chowhounds) where he might start stealing pigs_in_blankets and cheese dip off their plates

                          1. re: zzDan

                            Those are three things that are generally not allowed on a bland food diet.

                    2. try a nice corn bread made with a touch of millet flour and some natural sweetners. Bake it in a cast iron skillet. Maybe add a few fresh or canned nibblets to the batter. You can't miss.

                      1. I might ask the friend, "Hey, Jimmy, what would you like to eat that I might tailor to your new diet?" Less fishing in the dark.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: DuchessNukem

                          The best idea yet! When in doubt, ask!

                        2. If he's allowed to have dairy, ricotta is a dip lifesaver - blend it up with almost any veg (or fish if you're breaking your rules for him) and spread on crostini or crackers. Add garlic, basil, or any other herb if you can. I like it with spinach or broccoli (too cruciferous?) and garlic, or butternut squash and thyme and rosemary, but honestly almost any vegetable works. I would also think herbs would be very helpful in general for his diet if he likes adventurous food, playing with combinations in otherwise "boring" food like simple sauteed vegetables or plain pasta/rice/what-have-you. Mushrooms sauteed in a touch of butter and lots of sage and cinnamon is an awesome surprise taste; I also like to play with savory herbs like rosemary, thyme or sage in sweet desserts. If he can have cheese (not sure if it's too fatty?), a simple dessert or side that should fit the bill is a cheese plate with fruit, honey, and nuts, or crostini of brie and pumpkin butter or strong hard cheese like manchego or Dubliner with fig jam.

                          1. He can't have raw.....crudites are really good when you blanch and chill them.

                            1. OK, folks, I think it would be helpful if people knew what is allowed on a bland food diet. Here's one set of restrictions from a government website (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/en...


                              Acceptable foods

                              Milk and other dairy products, low-fat only
                              Cooked, canned, or frozen vegetables
                              Fruit and vegetable juices
                              Cooked or canned fruit with the skin and seeds removed, such as applesauce or canned peaches
                              Breads, crackers, and pasta made with refined white flour
                              Refined hot cereals, such as oatmeal and cream of wheat
                              Lean, tender meats, such as poultry, whitefish, and shellfish that are steamed, baked, or grilled with no added fat
                              Creamy peanut butter
                              Pudding and custard
                              Soup, especially broth
                              Weak tea

                              Unacceptable foods

                              Fatty dairy foods, such as whipped cream or high-fat ice cream
                              Strong cheeses, such as bleu or Roquefort
                              Raw vegetables
                              Vegetables that make you gassy, such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, green peppers, and corn
                              Fresh berries and other fresh fruit
                              Dried fruit
                              Whole-grain or bran cereals
                              Whole-grain breads, crackers, or pasta
                              Pickles, sauerkraut, and similar foods
                              Spices, such as hot pepper and garlic
                              Foods with a lot of sugar or honey in them
                              Seeds and nuts
                              Highly seasoned cured or smoked meats and fish
                              Fried foods
                              Caffeinated beverages

                              7 Replies
                              1. re: FoodPopulist

                                looks like most of us are go'in down. :(

                                1. re: FoodPopulist

                                  This is helpful! Maybe a peanut butter dipping sauce, thinned with apple or pineapple juice, with seared tofu cubes. It seems to be acceptable but also good and munchy.

                                  1. re: FoodPopulist

                                    How about some kind of plain, roasted chicken wings?

                                    1. re: southernitalian

                                      Astur wrote, "To top it off I am am lacto-ovo vegetarian and my house is animal/fish free." That's the condition that make this a bit harder.

                                      1. re: FoodPopulist

                                        I was referring to the friend on the bland food diet. But thanks.

                                        1. re: southernitalian

                                          If the house is animal/fish free the host is not going to be cooking outside that restriction -

                                    2. re: FoodPopulist

                                      Well, I know it's long past the game, but I have been looking up some new ideas as well for bland foods...I have Crohn's disease and sometimes have to resort to a bland diet for a week or two when I'm having a lot of pain from inflammation. The peanut butter dip I see suggested below looks like a great idea! With apples (PEELED!) and pear. Also, there's plain, roasted chicken wings suggested below - good idea! Skins, however, are NOT a good idea for a bland diet. Maybe make chick'n tender strips (seitan) breaded with panko breadcrumbs or cornflake crumbs? (note also, sometimes, glutens (yes, including seitan!!) can make a belly feel worse! Cornflake crumbs are an excellent sub for bread or cracker crumbs.)
                                      And no spices AT ALL. Herbs are always acceptable (Tarragon gets me though the tough chicken and rice only days). A little salt is always acceptable. But anything like cumin, pepper, caraway seed... No way!! A rule of thumb for me is to think that if it has been in seed form, don't eat it. If it's been in leaf form, usually ok. OH, except turmeric. It is excellent for inflammatory diseases. :)

                                    3. Poor you! And your poor friend! I think I'd rather die of the condition that caused me to go on the bland diet in the first place than eat such a diet.

                                      I think you're going to have to do something with tofu. Since he probably can't have legumes, and you don't have meat or fish, tofu seems like an acceptable protein. Maybe press the water out, cut into cubes, and broil it with some type of miso sauce?

                                      Or you could do a frittata. Some are good served cold, but they do need a lot of seasoning.

                                      I agree with others who said that you don't need to make all your food offerings suitable for this one person. Just make sure he has a few tasty things to eat.

                                      3 Replies
                                      1. re: Isolda

                                        really, you would rather die than eat this diet??????????

                                        1. re: magiesmom

                                          Well, it was a bit of an exaggeration, and certainly easy for me to say, since I'm not on such a diet, but it does sound horrid. And my grandfather did actually choose to die rather than live off a feeding tube in his stomach, so the precedent is not totally unheard of. He'd lived a decent life and his wife had passed three years before, and the foods he loved--gumbo and other rich, spicy treats--were his only pleasure. When he had to get the tube because of esophageal problems, he quietly chose to starve, developed pneumonia, and died peacefully in his sleep. I'm not saying I'd do the same thing, but I sure hope it doesn't come to such a choice!

                                        2. re: Isolda

                                          people don't go on bland diets for life. It's a temporary thing while the digestive system is healing (hopefully).

                                        3. Stuffed grape leaves would be great, as would baba ghanouj, and various vegetarian kibbees. There are actually many Middle Eastern dishes that would be okay under this regimen.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                            Oh my, yes, pumpkin kibbee would be delicious!

                                          2. Is your friend expecting to be completely accommodate in your menu? Is this a dinner party? If not, then if you even included two items that he could eat, then the rest of the party would still have other items to choose from. Or, is it possible to make a small separate batch of whatever you already had planned, but without any offending ingredients?
                                            YMMV, but none of my friends on special diets expect the entire menu to accommodate them. Which is good, because I would otherwise go nuts. My friend who is allergic to black pepper, garlic and a few other of our favorite seasonings, gets invited to a one-on-one, fully accommodating dinner, rather than big parties.

                                            1. cottage cheese w/pineapple
                                              iced tea w/fruit juice
                                              low-fat chicken or turkey tetrazzini over spaghetti
                                              baked custard

                                              1. Decided on my menu. Savory muffins with butternut squash, spinach and feta, Sweet potato oven fries and a corn soup that he will be able to eat the way I am making it.

                                                I am used to the bland foods diet because my mother-in-law is on a version for life. She can however have raw food and some whole grains but generally speaking bland food for life due to many issues. I don't like making food for her or speaking to her if it can be helped because if it is talk about food all she does is bitch about what she can't eat so I decided to see on here if anyone had some ideas regarding game food. You can only imagine how the dinners we attend are and taste. I think what I came up with will satisfy everyone coming and actually taste great for not having a lot of extras.

                                                Poor friend though, he is hopefully off of this soon but it might be a while as they are trying to get a diagnosis for him regarding several issues. Most of the problem with dealing with all this is once you get all the things like garlic, onion, spices etc as well as fatty things out of the food that he can actually eat it certainly loses most of it's appeal and cuts down greatly on what you can make.

                                                3 Replies
                                                1. re: Astur

                                                  wow, i didn't realize people got stuck with that FOR LIFE! I'd probably do nothing but bitch about it either in your m-i-l shoes.

                                                  Are the squash,spinach and feta in the muffins, or arhe those side dishes? Sounds good either way. I'm sure your friend will be really grateful you did some brainstorming on his behalf.

                                                  1. re: Astur

                                                    Sounds delicious, Astur. It will be nice for him to forget about bland for a while and just enjoy the game and good food. Plus, he can take your ideas and build.

                                                    I feel for him, sounds like a troubling time. You're a good friend!

                                                    1. re: Astur

                                                      That menu sounds fantastic! If it were me I'd consider adding a modified tzatziki sauce of low-fat yogurt with mint for dolloping on the spinach-feta muffins. Would also be nice on the side for the sweet potato fries. I guess a dip just seems de rigueur at a Superbowl party. But I'd say you nailed this challenge.

                                                      Edited to suggest: maybe add a dessert custard (bread pudding incorporating canned peaches, a speck of cinnamon & nutmeg...?) or pudding such as tapioca with light whipped cream. But I love tapioca pudding and hardly ever have it; your friend may be sick of pudding and similar.

                                                    2. Omelet bar? Blintzes? Waffles? Crepes? If your skillet is well seasoned you don't need much butter for the omelet or pancake type foods. You can set out bacon, sausage, tomatoes, etc. and have some cooked spinach and a sprinkle of parm for your friend. What about a bagel bar, and he can have a bagel with a little bit of neuchatel or butter and fruit preserves. Ellie Krieger has a really good edamame hummus and baked pita chip recipe on Food Network. Don't know if that causes gas or not. It's got raw garlic in it, yogurt, lemon juice, etc. Maybe you could roast the garlic and incorporate it that way, and cut way back on the lemon??? Are we talking ZERO quantities of the forbidden foods, or just in moderation? How about vegetable sushi? You can buy cans of pickled veggies at your local asian market and roll with those instead of raw, or blanch some julienned carrots & cucumbers. Good luck, let us know what you decide to do.

                                                      1. what about potstickers? could fill them with tofu and non-gassy veg with a mild dipping sauce

                                                        1. I like your menu. I also thought about kale chips as a munchy, and baked fruit kabobs with cinnamon as a sweet option.