What Should a Kid Eat When Their Stomach Is Upset?

Upset stomach, also known as dyspepsia, is common in children. The causes of dyspepsia vary and may include viruses, stress, eating too much or any number of gastrointestinal problems. Take your child to the pediatrician to make sure his upset stomach is not a symptom of something more serious. If the dyspepsia is harmless, reintroduce food slowly to avoid aggravating your child's discomfort.

Guidelines After Vomiting

When your child is recovering from an upset stomach, adequate hydration is your primary concern. Two hours after vomiting, encourage your child to sip clear liquids every 10 minutes. After four hours, get your child to drink a little bit more. Six hours after vomiting, allow your child to drink whenever he feels thirsty. If liquids are tolerated for six hours, encourage your child to take a few bites of bland food. Return to step one if vomiting occurs at any point, recommends the Shiffert Health Center.


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An upset stomach may manifest as nausea without vomiting. Even if your child isn't throwing up, it's important to give his body a rest and stick with bland items which won't irritate his stomach. Allow your child to eat as he feels hungry, but push fluids so he doesn't get dehydrated.

Foods to Eat

The BRAT diet -- bananas, rice, applesauce and toast -- is often recommended as the foods are low in fiber. You don't have to limit your child to four foods, however. Other good options include:

  • plain pasta without cheese
  • butter or sauce
  • oatmeal
  • dry cereal
  • mashed potatoes
  • canned fruit

Ginger has a calming effect on the stomach. Offer your child ginger tea with sugar or gingersnap cookies.

Continued Recovery

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As your child improves, you can gradually diversify his diet. Encourage your child to eat frequent, small meals, but don't force food. It may take awhile for your child's appetite to return.

Foods to Avoid

For a week after nausea and vomiting have stopped, avoid foods which might irritate your child's stomach. Possible irritants include:

  • caffeine
  • chocolate
  • spicy foods
  • citrus fruits
  • fried or greasy food
  • carbonated drinks

Vegetables which cause gas, including broccoli and cauliflower, may exacerbate your child's upset stomach. It may help to limit or eliminate dairy for a few days if your child is experiencing diarrhea.