GI Virus? What to eat now?

IMG_1196I’ve been fortunate enough to be  in my daughter’s school a lot lately teaching nutrition.  Our lessons have focused on healthy eating, know your food groups, fluid consumption, sugar, eating local and how to try new foods (just to name a few topics).  While I’ve been at her school, I’ve noticed lots of kids are going home with a stomach bug.  I hate stomach bugs (both as a mom and as patient)!!

The GI virus or “throw-up virus” as my daughter calls it can be a real pain to deal with.  Caregivers and parents always ask me lots of questions about keeping hydrated and what liquids and foods to try after the vomiting has stopped.  Here are some helpful tips:

1.  Once the vomiting has stopped, try sucking on ice chips (if over 2-3 yrs old).

2.  Then if tolerated, try 1 teaspoon of a clear liquid (water, apple juice, tea (cold or warm), lemonade, ginger ale, seltzer water or sports drink) every 10 minutes.  (Yep, you read right, every 10 minutes!!).

3.  If tolerated, increase to 1 Tablespoon every 20 minutes.  Keep doubling the amount every hour. (If you are experiencing diarrhea, you may want to try a beverage with some electrolytes added).

4.  Once you’ve been throw-up free for 8 hours, try adding some solid food in small amounts.  I’d recommend foods low in fat and low in insoluble fiber.  Eliminating spicy foods is also a good idea.  Some of the best foods are dry crackers, pretzels, rice, baked potato, dry toast, chicken broth, baked chicken, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, frozen pops (juice type, not the kinds with lots of fruit).

5.  Continue alternating with liquids and solids until you are feeling better.


Wet Your Whistle!

You can lead a horse to water…

If you do not feel thirsty enough to drink 8 glasses of water a day, you are not alone. Research shows that the sense of thirst for older adults is less strong, even after exercising on a hot day.2

Drink early and often

Try drinking the 8 cups of water on a schedule:

• Start and end your day with a glass of water.

• Drink water with each meal, even at restaurants.

• Keep a reusable water bottle nearby during the day so you can drink between meals.

• Flavor your water with a slice of lemon or lime.

  • Finally, drink up before, during and after exercise!3

How does your body lose water?

• Going to the bathroom

• Sweat: increases with heat, exercise, and fever

• Breathing3

How does your body get the water back?

Drinking about 8 glasses of water a day and eating foods with water in them replaces what you lose.

Take Control

By drinking plenty of water, you can prevent symptoms of dehydration such as dark or reduced urine output, dry mouth, sleepiness, confusion, headaches and dizzy spells.3 Make staying hydrated part of your daily routine!

Hydration Handout: Hydration Handout

Guest Blogger:  Liesel Daughtery

References and photos


2. Kenney, WL, and P Chiu. Influence of age on thirst and fluid intake. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise 2001; 3309: 1524-1533.

3. “Hydration: Why it’s so important.” American Academy of Family Physicians: January 2010. Accessed 21 September 2010 at < home/healthy/food/general-nutrition/1013.html>.