This post might make you squeamish, but if you’re like me you passed that point a long time ago. There’s nothing worse than sticking to the BRAT diet when you love food (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast), and there’s a limited amount of “safe” eating guides out there. So I thought my pain could be your gain, by sharing what I’ve eaten on the road to recovery from stomach troubles.
Traditionally, the BRAT diet doesn’t include many of the following items. But I chose to take a few liberties in the name of enjoying myself, not getting bored, and getting back to normal. So proceed with caution, stay away from veggies, and eat at your own risk…
- If coffee is too much, I recommend Penguin Caffeinated Wintergreen Mints. (Tea was much too acidic for me.)
- Oatmeal is a good choice and Malt-O-Meal with a drop of maple syrup is delicious (no milk, sorry).
- Plain bagels are safe and the chewiness distracts you from the lack of filling (or have eggs, but no cheese!)
- Bananas are the first letter in the BRAT acronym, but make sure they are nice and ripe to cut down on acid.
- When you’re ready, scrambled eggs with salt and pepper (avoid butter).
- TriscuitsEdit are satisfying and the texture is a little more exciting than saltines.
- Tortilla chips (without salsa) are a safe bet, especially for dining out.
- Toast with olive oil or honey (no butter).
- Raw, whole almonds.
- Brown rice or white rice: I purchased the microwave-ready kind for convenience at work, but cooked the rice in a ceramic bowl with a little water instead of the packaging (personal preference). Add canned tuna or chicken if you have the appetite – or stick to salt, pepper and soy sauce.
- Plain pasta with olive oil. Cook a large batch for several meals, including dinner. (Or cooked in chicken broth, as I did here.)
- Ramen with mild (not spicy!) broth; you can purchase Annie Chun’s Soup Bowl, but only use a small drop of sauce.
- Canned tuna with olive oil instead of mayonnaise, on bread, crackers or rolled up in a tortilla and sliced into pinwheels.
- When you’re ready, ease into sandwiches that don’t have mayonnaise or veggies (i.e. turkey, chicken and cheese worked okay for me in the later stages).
- At home, I made either rice or pasta and ate it plain or with olive oil, salt and pepper.
- When I was ready to add meat, the safest bets are white meat: chicken, turkey and pork. For me, beef is too hard to digest.
- Taco shells filled with ground turkey (cooked in its own juices, seasoned with salt and pepper), plus rice.
- At restaurants, menus can be intimidating. I found that roasted chicken was usually the best choice for me – not perfect – but better than other options and usually served with mashed potatoes.
- Skipping the salad or appetizer course is hard, but ask for a second bread basket to keep you from making a desperate move.
- See more BRAT-friendly dinner ideas here.
- I drank water with most meals and in between. (Smartwater and coconut water have electrolytes!) For me, juice and soda are too acidic.
- I eased back into adult beverages with beer, but made sure to combine it with food and lots of water. Don’t rush it until you feel ready though.
Godspeed my friends – and please share your own stomach safety tips in the comments section below.
10 thoughts on “Beyond the BRAT Diet”
THIS post has been a godsend. There is so very little out there regarding this topic, and when your obliged to deal with GI issues, there is fear as well. At least I have some confidence now of how to proceed. Many thanks.
This is super helpful, thanks!
I’m so glad!
Very helpful. Also I would guess that pancakes (without butter) could be a good option for breakfast?
I’m a bit confused about olive oil instead of mayo? Isn’t that much worse? Mayo is pretty much just oil and egg anyway. I thought the point of BRAT is to stay away from fats?
Yes, pancakes are a good idea. This is merely my personal experience. For me, olive oil was okay. Maybe because it’s plant vs animal fat?
Thank you so very much for this article! Had my gallbladder removed because of gallstones over 10 years ago and have had colonoscopies and endoscopies and doctors just frustrate me (‘try a lactose free diet,’ but even some crackers and kind of most things have that added in.) It felt like a nonchalant, dismissive solution to an ongoing problem, and they didn’t even do the lactose test correctly. Then the doctor wants to suggest, ‘Maybe it’s IBS.’ I forget which one they consider a real medical problem and which they sort of think is all in your head. I don’t even want to go back at this point.
However, every now and then the reflux, pain, and running to the restroom praying I will make it make me decide I really need to follow the BRAT diet. But I hadn’t come up with nearly as many good ideas as you listed. Of course, this usually comes at a point where we’ve eaten our way too much and I’m wondering if I’ve gotten food poisoning from the latest fast food eatery.
I’m so glad to hear you found it helpful! It can be really hard to modify your diet and not get bored or discouraged by menus at restaurants. Check out the milk-free recipes on here as well.
I will, thank you 🙂