Square Meal: Blandest Foods?
May 24, 2012 1:30 AM   Subscribe

What can I eat that's bland as hell and healthy as hell?

I want to eat as bland as I can for a month so that when I eat extremely awesome food after that it'll be extremely extremely awesome (it's like the idea of saving sex for marriage). What foods can I eat that are bland as hell but will also be nutritious and give my body what it needs (I plan on taking whatever vitamins/supplements necessary to cover any potential holes in my diet). I'm not doing this to lose weight or even eat more nutritiously: I'm just doing it so that I can eat a pizza after a month and have it taste like the best pizza I've ever had. So, what're the blandest ass foods I can eat while maintaining a healthy diet? Thanks yall.

P.S. I plan to do P90X during this period.
posted by defmute to Health & Fitness (36 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Plain whole-milk unsweetened Greek-style yogurt (like Fage Total) is bland and nutritious, especially if you're interested in getting enough calories and protein. I eat a lot of it when I'm not feeling up to eating complicated food.
posted by dreamyshade at 1:35 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also: gently-steamed cauliflower, hard-boiled egg whites, tofu, cream of wheat.
posted by dreamyshade at 1:39 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Healthy choices: Eggwhites or plain scrambled eggs in neutral oil (probably canola), poached (plain, unseasoned) chicken breasts or lean pork, unsalted lentils and beans, I'd buy dried and boil them yourself, most canned ones have enough sodium added to make a difference to the flavour, oh and DEFINITELY plain tofu (seriously, that is the main selling feature of the stuff). (these are all decent foods for workouts so it shouldn't hurt your P90X)

Less healthy choices: Basically any white starch. White rice, plain rolled oats, mashed unseasoned/buttered mashed potatoes.

One caveat, this plan may completely backfire on you. YMMV, but I switched my diet and it happened to have a lot of blander foods and it made anything with sugar in it (and there's sugar in basically everything good) taste horribly artificial until I introduced some more processed foods back in. It even ruined my favorite wine for months :(
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 1:46 AM on May 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

One more idea, unsweetened, unflavored protein powder mixed with water.
posted by Sweetchrysanthemum at 1:49 AM on May 24, 2012

2nding the this may backfire - if you eat very bland and probably by virtue of the kind of food you'll end up eating low sugar, salt and fat and minimally processed food and then have a slice of pizza you may find that instead of tasting awesome all the fat, salt and sugar is so overwhelming that you wonder how you could ever enjoy eating that kind of stuff....
posted by koahiatamadl at 1:56 AM on May 24, 2012 [12 favorites]

Unseasoned quinoa?
posted by OHSnap at 1:57 AM on May 24, 2012

Beans. Lentils. Rice. Quinoa.

Also, if you go from eating very bland to eating a bunch of rich or fatty foods you're probably going to be sick from (possibly) both ends.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 2:06 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Plain oatmeal for breakfast
posted by zippy at 2:08 AM on May 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

Raw celery and cauliflower are also really pretty bland. They are even more bland when cooked.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 2:10 AM on May 24, 2012

Seconding plain oatmeal. I've been eating it for years and, without sugar or butter on it, oatmeal porridge is basically tasteless.
posted by DemographicLanguage at 2:17 AM on May 24, 2012

seconding the vegetable recommendation, espcially water-logged ones like celery, butter lettuce, jicama etc... Things like carrots are good if you don't mind a bit of natural sweetness. Unseasoned, steamed chicken breasts or fish filets are also pretty tame.
posted by nigeline at 2:23 AM on May 24, 2012

posted by gramcracker at 2:24 AM on May 24, 2012

If you'd like to speed up the process, try fasting for a day (water, coffee & tea only, no milk or sweetener.) Whenever I fast for 18-24 hours, that first meal afterwards is the best thing I ever ate. Even if it's just tomato soup.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 3:31 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Raw tempeh.
posted by John Cohen at 4:29 AM on May 24, 2012

Yeah. I was put on a strict lowsalt diet during a pregnancy. The pizza my friends brought me after delivery tasted horrible.

If you do a juice fast for a day or two you will achieve your stated objective.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:37 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Re-fried beans without any spices.
Boil pinto beans. Mash them with a potato masher. Make a big batch.
Microwave up a little bit for each meal. A bland side dish.

(to make a nice side dish, spice up the beans really good, and to re-heat fry them in olive oil)
posted by Flood at 4:42 AM on May 24, 2012

Oat cakes.
posted by Beardman at 5:21 AM on May 24, 2012

I brought what I call vegan mush for lunch, it's lentils and a littl tvp with kale in it, cooked together till its porridge like. If you don't dress it much, its really really bland and really good for you.

As noted above though, now I can't eat things like pizza. I've tried and ended up just puking everywhere. Its weird.
posted by stormygrey at 5:52 AM on May 24, 2012

For breakfast I have 8 egg whites with a cup of oats. Mix them and cook the mess together. Taste like cardboard but pretty healthy. Been eating this for a couple months straight. I actually like the taste now and can't eat normal cereal as it taste crappy and makes me sick.
posted by bleucube at 5:58 AM on May 24, 2012

Unseasoned steamed or boiled veggies (carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, etc.).

A plain steamed or baked sweet potato.

Brown rice.

Egg whites.


Cooked, unsalted pinto beans.

Caveat: I don't know that I'd call any one of the above "really really healthy" on their own, but they each have their merits.

It also could wildly depend on your particular taste preferences. I, for one, do not think plain Greek yogurt is bland at all - I found it tangy and a little sour and eat it plain all the time, albeit usually with a few chopped walnuts.

Also...you were probably making a joke, but I do not think this is why some people save sex for marriage.
posted by pecanpies at 6:05 AM on May 24, 2012

Tofu is also as bland as you can get and relatively healthy. (Although when I ate a lot of it, I found that it started making me crazy.)

But yeah, going a whole month might be too much. Maybe a better experiment would be to eat bland stuff during the week, and then have your fabulous, mind blowing meal on Saturday with friends or loved ones.

Also, this may backfire. When I was a kid, we were poor-ish. We didn't get things like pizza or other fun/junk foods except on our birthdays. The backfire of that was that when we did finally get our treat, if it wasn't PERFECT, we would get disappointed. "I waited three damned months for Bob's Pizza, and the sausage didn't taste as ungodly awesome as I remember it!?? WTF, this sucks."

Even as an adult, who is more cheap than poor, I find myself maintaining these patterns. When I go out to eat, I dither about getting the perfect meal when I go out to eat, and get bummed out when something doesn't meet my expectations.

Anyway, that's why I suggested the once a week instead of once a month. You aren't investing so much into that one meal.

Also, make sure you get enough protein.
posted by gjc at 6:05 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Eat fiber bars.
posted by lstanley at 6:35 AM on May 24, 2012

Cottage cheese.
posted by Kat Allison at 6:58 AM on May 24, 2012

Plain popcorn, with no salt or butter, popped using the brown paper bag method in your microwave.
posted by CheeseLouise at 7:02 AM on May 24, 2012

You could also get a pizza made with sun dried tomatoes, fresh spices, and exquisite cheeses so the flavor would be more intense.
posted by effluvia at 7:03 AM on May 24, 2012

Chicken breast poached in plain water.
posted by scratch at 8:23 AM on May 24, 2012

posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 8:43 AM on May 24, 2012

posted by kitcat at 9:11 AM on May 24, 2012

This will backfire, likely spectacularly.

So I'm Indian. We have arguably some of the best-tasting food in the world. I went to France for seven months, ate mostly extremely healthy but very very bland French food. Came back to India, and now even the blandest Indian food is spicy to me. Kind of hard to enjoy anything when you're going 'Yee! Water! Now!'

YMM, of course, V.
posted by Tamanna at 9:20 AM on May 24, 2012

Textured Vegetable Protein.
posted by cmoj at 11:02 AM on May 24, 2012

Healthy for the stomach climate, not necessarily overall, but quite bland: BRATTY. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Tea, Toast, Yoghurt. I recently ate this for several days to help restore an upset stomach.
posted by meijusa at 11:59 AM on May 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Kale soup.
posted by snorkmaiden at 12:24 PM on May 24, 2012

I eat undressed salads all the time and people seem to be horrified by this, so that might work as far as getting your veggies. Lettuce, carrots, those rock-hard pink tomatoes -- just skip anything like green peppers that has a lot of flavor.

Nthing plain oatmeal. I ate it every morning for about a year and can't stomach more than one or two kinds of prepackaged breakfast cereals anymore, the rest just taste like I'm eating a bowl of sugar. And I'm a girl who considered Fruity Pebbles my #1 favorite cereal well into my 20s. This experiment will have a long-term effect on taste buds for sure.
posted by jabes at 4:25 PM on May 24, 2012

Not just plain foods, but reduced variety. Every day: oatmeal for breakfast with raisins and almonds, lunch - tuna salad(egg salad, tofu, etc.) on whole wheat, milk, salad with no dressing, dinner - rice and veggies with soy sauce. Before you re-introduce livelier foods, reduce your calorie intake by 5 - 10%. a little bit of hunger makes food taste great.
posted by theora55 at 9:14 PM on May 24, 2012

Whoa, there. Soy sauce is loaded with salt and FLAVOR. If we're going for bland, skip the soy sauce.
posted by Night_owl at 10:22 PM on May 24, 2012

Get a cold :)

Joking aside, it's true that things taste blander when you have a cold. The reason is because how good something tastes depends on variety of other things as well: aroma, temperature, texture, etc.

My advice if you want blander food is to eat what you normally eat and do these:

1. skip aromatic: ginger, onions, herbs, etc
2. skip or reduce seasonings: salt, pepper, cayenne powder, soy sauce, what-have-you
3. cold food (that is normally eaten hot)
4. reduce the texture by using a blender.
5. add water. Either making soup out of your food or steaming.
posted by 7life at 11:30 AM on May 25, 2012

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