What to Eat to Recover from Food Poisoning

updated Aug 25, 2022
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(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

After several days of severe food poisoning, you finally have the will to eat again. And while it may be tough to get excited about food, it’s important to nourish the body with something. When you’re ready for ‘real’ foods, ease into things gently and avoid foods that are high in dairy, fat, fiber, and sugar.

So, what should you eat while recovering from food poisoning?

The Most Important Thing to Do When You Have Food Poisoning

There are many causes of food poisoning and Salmonella, as it turns out, is not the biggest source of it. When food-borne illnesses lead to diarrhea or vomiting, one of the most important things to do is to replace lost fluids and salt. Yes, a bite of toast, a handful of Saltines, or a few spoonfuls of rice might help soothe your tummy, but hydration is key!

Liquid solutions like Pedialyte are effective and might also be the most palatable. Or, if you have the strength, you could make your own sports-type drink by soaking dried fruit in water overnight.

The National Institutes of Health also recommends broth, soup, and fruit juices. If you’ve got a healthy, live-in partner or just a good friend, have them make you a batch of homemade chicken stock.

And, a word to the wise: Sip slowly — don’t chug!

What to Eat When You’re Recovering from Food Poisoning

When you’re ready for “real” food, ease into things gently. Avoid foods high in dairy, fat, fiber, and sugar and opt for mild foods instead.

The BRAT diet – bananas, rice, applesauce, toast — is a good place to start. Bland foods like potatoes, crackers, and cooked carrots may also be gentle on the stomach.

We often turn to plain congee, a savory rice porridge that’s warming and nourishing. We’ve also relied on instant mashed potatoes (lapsed locavore alert!) and flat ginger ale — and some people swear by the curative powers of Coca-Cola for both prevention and treatment of tummy troubles.

Your turn: Is there anything you prefer to eat and drink while recovering from food poisoning?