(Rotavirus Diet; Stomach Flu Diet; Viral Gastroenteritis Diet)
What Is a Gastroenteritis Diet?
- Nausea and vomiting
- Abdominal cramps
- Muscle aches
Why Should I Eat a Gastroenteritis Diet?
Gastroenteritis Eating Guide
|Recommended Foods||Foods to Avoid (Adults)||Foods to Avoid (Infants and Children)|
For young infants—Breast milk or normal infant formula
For older children or adults—Normal food is usually best. This could include:
Special Guidelines for Infants
- If your child is breastfed, continuing breastfeeding often. You may want to try breastfeeding more often for shorter periods of time.
- If your child is formula-fed, offer small amounts of formula often. Having more frequent, smaller feedings may help to reduce vomiting. Be sure your child is receiving at least as much fluid and nutrition as he normally does. Extra feeding will almost certainly be necessary to avoid dehydration. Be sure to consult the doctor, nurse, or an emergency room if your infant seems ill or is not getting enough nutrition.
- Do not dilute formula. This can prolong your infant’s illness and will not supply adequate nutrition. Do not feed an infant salty foods or drinks during an episode of gastroenteritis. These can lead to a particularly dangerous form of dehydration under certain circumstances.
Special Guidelines for Children
- Give small amounts of fluid frequently.
- Avoid sugary drinks, like fruit juices, fruit drinks, soft drinks, or sports drinks.
- Offer your child the foods he normally eats. Avoid foods that may upset his stomach or make symptoms worse.
- Smaller, more frequent meals may be helpful.
- Give an ORS to your child if the doctor recommends it. Remember that these solutions do not cure diarrhea, nor do they cut down on the length of time children are sick with diarrhea. But, giving an ORS may help to prevent dehydration.
- Do not withhold food.
- Do not dilute (“water down”) food or formula.
Special Guidelines for Adults
- If you are vomiting, let your stomach settle before eating.
Suck on ice chips or take small sips of water. Drinking a large amount of liquid at once can make vomiting worse. You can also try drinking:
- Sports drinks (if you do not have a condition like diabetes that requires limiting your intake of simple sugars)
- Clear broth (if you do not need to limit your salt intake)
- Ease into eating. Once you are no longer vomiting, slowly return to your normal diet. This will help to shorten the amount of time you spend having diarrhea. You could try with easy-to-digest, bland foods. You might also try eating small meals throughout the day.
American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor.org http://www.familydoctor.org/
American Academy of Pediatrics Healthy Children.org http://www.healthychildren.org/
Canadian Paediatric Society http://www.cps.ca/
Health Canada http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Managing acute gastroenteritis among children: oral rehydration, maintenance, and nutritional therapy. MMWR. 2003;52. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/rr/rr5216.pdf . Accessed January 31, 2012.
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Koslap-Petraco MB. Homecare issues in rotavirus gastroenteritis. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 2006;18(9):422-428.
Rotavirus gastroenteritis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/ . Updated June 2011. Accessed June 16, 2011.
Shannon DW. Viral gastroenteritis. EBSCO Health Library website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated September 2010. Accessed June 16, 2011.
The treatment of diarrhea: a manual for physicians and other senior health workers. World Health Organization website. Available at: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2005/9241593180.pdf . Updated 2005. Accessed June 16, 2011.
- Reviewer: Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
- Review Date: 09/2013 -
- Update Date: 09/30/2013 -