Here's What to Eat When You Have a Stomach Virus

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Shaking off a stomach virus and ready to re-enter the world? These are the best foods to eat after a stomach bug to restore your energy.

01 of 09

What to Eat with a Stomach Virus

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You've likely been there: A nasty case of the stomach flu or a random bout of food poisoning hit you, and you feel weak and shaky...but finally ready to eat something. Here, registered dietitians share their tips for rehydrating and what foods to eat after a stomach bug so you can start feeling like a functional human again.

But before you explore what to eat after the stomach flu, you might want to take notes on what to avoid when battling a stomach bug, so you don't exacerbate the pain. For starters, steer clear of caffeine, as it can irritate the stomach and may make certain symptoms (e.g. diarrhea) worse, advises Sheri Kasper, R.DN., a registered dietician and co-founder of Fresh Communications. "It's also important to avoid alcohol because the goal right after the stomach flu is to replace fluids and alcohol is a diuretic, which causes fluid loss," she adds. "Highly acidic (tomatoes, for example) or spicy foods can also trigger nausea or stomach pain, so they should be approached with caution."

02 of 09

Something Bland

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If you're struggling to figure out what foods to eat after a stomach virus, many health experts recommend the BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast) at first. The key is to start with bland foods after the stomach flu. Once your symptoms are resolved, slowly bring back other foods you love, says Katie Pfeffer-Scanlan, R.D., registered dietician and founder of One Hungry Bunny.

"These early forays back into solid food territory are also when you want to start incorporating more fluids to rebalance electrolytes and ease digestion gently, adds Jessica Spiro, R.D., a registered dietician based in California. "The worst thing that generally happens after the stomach flu or food poisoning is dehydration, so replenishing fluids is incredibly important. Soups, smoothies, and water-rich fruits and veggies (think cucumbers and watermelon) are excellent ways to rehydrate."

03 of 09

Coconut Water

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Coconut water is a great alternative to sugary sports drinks during and after the stomach flu, according to Thérèse Bonanni, R.D., a registered dietician at the Navesink Wellness Center in New Jersey. Loaded with potassium and a good source of other key nutrients such as sodium, magnesium, and phosphorous, it's her go-to sip for "a natural source of electrolytes without added sugar to replenish and hydrate."

04 of 09


sports drink pedialyte
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Nope, this brightly colored drink isn't just for kids. Many doctors and dietitians recommend Pedialyte to prevent or treat dehydration in adults too, and it can be especially helpful when you're looking for something to drink after the stomach flu.

"I usually recommend Pedialyte to help clients replenish their electrolytes since it's easy on the stomach, especially the unflavored version," says Angie Asche, R.D., registered dietician and founder of Eleat Sports Nutrition. Find it online or at your local drugstore either as a solution or as powder packets you can add to water. (

05 of 09


yogurt bowl
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Once you're feeling up to it, "try kefir and yogurt to replenish beneficial gut bacteria after GI distress," recommends Bonanni. This is one of the best foods to eat after a stomach virus because it introduces more protein, which will help stabilize your blood sugar to stave off energy-sucking crashes — and help you feel stronger, adds Asche. Avoiding lactose? Try a non-dairy yogurt that packs plenty of protein alongside beneficial bacteria, too. In gernal, plain is your best option, but even the fruit flavors are lower in sugar and don't have any artificial sweeteners—two sneaky irritants you'll want to avoid when planning what to eat with a stomach virus or belly bug.

06 of 09

Fermented Foods

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Once you can tolerate liquids and bland foods, try eating probiotic-rich foods at least once a day, says Gabriella Vetere, R.D.N., registered dietician and creator of Macrobalanced. Aside from yogurt and kefir, you can also try sauerkraut, kimchee, or miso. There's also kombucha, a fermented tea beverage, a favorite of Edwina Clark, R.D., a registered dietician based in San Francisco. Her pick? Ginger kombucha "to restore gut bacteria, ease nausea, and replace fluids."

Not into the whole fermented thing? Try a probiotic supplement — just be sure to chat with your doc before adding anything to your routine, as supplements are not regulated by the FDA. Since each specific type of bacteria does something slightly different, look for a supplement with multiple types in it to help repopulate the GI tract.

07 of 09


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If you're not ready for a full meal, can't stand the thought of yogurt, or have lactose intolerance (a temporary issue of a GI bug), try a dairy-free smoothie, says Charlene Pors, R.D.N., registered dietician at Euphoria Nutrition.

"Smoothies made with soy milk, fruit, and nut butter can be a great high-protein and nutritious meal to begin with since they're low in fiber and lactose, making them easy to digest," says Pors.

08 of 09

Chicken Noodle Soup

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Chicken noodle soup and toast are two of the best foods to eat after the stomach flu, says Linzy Ziegelbaum, R.D., a registered dietician based in New York. This home remedy is great for recalibrating your body following a stomach virus. "You get fluids from the broth, protein from the chicken, and carbohydrates from the pasta and toast," she says. It's also usually pretty bland, making it easy for a sensitive stomach to tolerate, she adds.

09 of 09

Lean Protein

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When figuring out what foods to eat after stomach flu or with an upset stomach, it's important to prioritize those that will help you regain your strength. The perfect example: lean protein (aka protein-rich foods that are low in calories, cholesterol, and total fat — particularly saturated fat), says Kasper. "Eggs are a great choice because they contain protein and a wide array of nutrients to help restore any nutritional imbalances," she explains.

If eggs aren't really your thing, mildly spiced lean meats, such as baked chicken or turkey breast, are also good options, says Kasper. "Bone broth is also a good idea," she adds. "It contains much more protein than traditional broth, and it can help replenish fluids at the same time."

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