Confused about what to eat with food poisoning? Find out what foods to eat – and what to avoid if you’re laid up with vomiting and diarrhea due to food poisoning.
After an unpleasant bout with food poisoning, the last thing you want to think about is food. On the other hand, you’ve lost a lot of fluid, electrolytes and nutrients from the vomiting and diarrhea, and you’ll feel weak until you start eating again. After too many trips to the toilet, it’s important to choose what you eat carefully to avoid stomach upset. What are the best foods to eat after food poisoning?
What to Eat for Food Poisoning: Liquids Are a Priority
The nausea and vomiting that comes with food poisoning can last anywhere from a day to four or five days. When you’re still nauseated and vomiting, the focus should be on replacing fluids. There’s no reason to force yourself to eat solid food while you’re still vomiting – especially if the thought of food makes you heave.
During this time, drink as much clear liquid as you can to avoid dehydration. Avoid carbonated beverages like soft drinks and beverages that contain too much sugar. Stay away from orange juice since it’s too acidic and milk since mild lactose intolerance can make milk difficult to digest. If you can’t hold down liquids or if you start to feel lightheaded or dizzy, you may be becoming dehydrated and need to see your doctor right away.
Foods to Eat After Food Poisoning: Once the Vomiting Has Stopped
Once you’re no longer sick to your stomach, try eating testing small amounts of bland foods. Start with Jello, rice or potatoes, and if these don’t upset your stomach, add lean baked chicken or turkey as a protein source.
At one time, a BRAT diet, a mnemonic for a diet consisting of bananas, rice, applesauce and toast, was the standard for people with diarrhea, especially children. It’s fallen out of favor recently, because it’s too restrictive. The advantage of a BRAT diet is it’s low in fiber, which makes it easier to digest, and it’s less likely to cause diarrhea or stomach upset. Eating BRAT foods once you’ve stopped vomiting is fine, but add other bland foods as soon as possible to replace nutrients lost from diarrhea and vomiting.
Avoid vegetables, nuts and legumes for a few days after food poisoning since their high-fiber content makes them difficult to digest, and they can cause gas. Spicy foods and sauces should be saved for when you’ve completely recovered. High-fat and fried foods are also on the list of foods to avoid since fat slows down the rate food moves through the digestive tract.
Foods to Eat After Food Poisoning: The Bottom Line?
Liquids are most important since dehydration is the biggest complication of food poisoning. Advance to bland, solid foods only after you can tolerate liquids. If the symptoms of food poisoning don’t completely resolve within seven days, see your doctor.
Merck Manual. Eighteen edition. 2006.