If you are feeling nauseous, choose dry, starchy, and bland foods like crackers, noodles, and toast. Plus, stay hydrated by drinking clear fluids.

Nausea is the unpleasant and sometimes debilitating sensation of feeling like you need to vomit. It’s surprisingly common, with 50% of adults experiencing it at some point each year.

First described in relation to seasickness, the term “nausea” comes from the Greek word “naus,” which means ship.

This article will explain what causes nausea and the best foods that you may consider to deal with this upset stomach.

What causes nausea?

Nausea begins in the brain, where emotional, cognitive, or chemical triggers may stimulate your nervous system. This causes your stomach muscles to work in an irregular way, making you feel nauseous.

Many factors can trigger this process, such as:

  • infections
  • surgery
  • gut conditions
  • medications
  • cancer treatment
  • hormone disorders
  • pregnancy
  • food allergies and intolerances

Though eating can be challenging when you feel nauseous, foods and drinks are important for hydration. They help replace lost electrolytes and help your stomach settle.

Here are the 14 best foods and drinks for when you’re feeling nauseous.

What are the best foods to eat when nauseous?

1. Ginger

Ginger originates in Southeast Asia and has a long history of use as a remedy, including helping with stomach problems in traditional and folk medicines.

It contains bioactive compounds, such as gingerol, paradol, and shogaol. Experts theorize that these compounds interact with your central nervous system and stomach to improve nausea symptoms.

Research shows that eating ginger may reduce nausea caused by motion sickness, surgery, and chemotherapy, though some results have been contradictory.

Additionally, ginger may be a safe and effective treatment for morning sickness during pregnancy.

Though there is no consensus on the amount of ginger necessary to achieve therapeutic effects, most studies use the equivalent of 0.5–1.5 grams of dried ginger root per day.

Ginger is commonly consumed as a tea, in ginger biscuits, as crystallized ginger, or in ginger beer or ale. It’s also available in capsule form.

However, some products may not contain significant quantities of ginger, minimizing their effect on nausea.

2. Water and clear beverages

When you’re nauseous, you may not feel like eating at all. However, drinking fluids and staying hydrated is crucial, especially if you have been vomiting or have a fever.

Water is always a good source of hydration, but if you have been throwing up or experiencing diarrhea, you may also need to replace lost electrolytes.

Some of the best drinks to fight dehydration and nausea include:

  • water
  • oral rehydration solutions
  • sports drinks
  • soda water or flavored sodas
  • iced tea
  • clear juices
  • coconut water

Very sweet, caffeinated, or dairy-based beverages may worsen your nausea, so it may be best to avoid them.

You may tolerate sipping cold drinks throughout the day better than drinking a lot at once, especially if you have been vomiting.

3–5. Crackers, pretzels, and toast

Dry foods such as crackers, pretzels, toast, and cereals are often recommended to people experiencing nausea — including those who get nauseous during pregnancy.

It’s not clear why people tolerate dry, plain foods when they’re nauseous, and no scientific research on the topic exists.

However, you may feel more nauseous on an empty stomach and react poorly to strong-smelling foods.

That’s why it’s best to avoid preparing and cooking food when you’re not feeling well, as the sight and smell of food could trigger nausea.

Crackers, pretzels, toast, and cereals are quick meal fixes that require little to no preparation, have no strong odor, and may help settle your empty, upset stomach.

6. Cold foods

When you’re not feeling well, you may tolerate cold foods better than warm dishes. That’s because they generally don’t have strong odors, which may lead to nausea.

Aversion to odor is particularly common during pregnancy. This 2020 study found that women with severe morning sickness were more likely to feel nauseous after smelling cooked foods.

Some good choices of cold foods include Jell-O, ice cream, chilled fruits, yogurt, custard, and frozen ice pops.

If your nausea makes it difficult to keep food down, simply sucking on an ice cube may help. This is also a good way to slowly replenish your fluids.

7. Broths

Chicken broth and chicken soup are common home remedies for everything from headaches to colds to fevers.

Fluids are often better tolerated than solid food when you’re nauseous. That’s why broths and soups may be a good first step toward eating again. They also provide hydration and electrolytes, which are particularly important if you have been vomiting or have a fever.

One cup (240 ml) of chicken broth contains 40% of the daily value (DV) for sodium, less than 1% of the DV for potassium, and 3% of the DV for niacin.

If you’re feeling up to it, including chicken or vegetables in your broth provides additional calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals to give your body back some energy.

Additionally, many people attest to naseau relief coming from chicken soup or hot broth when they’re congested or experiencing a common cold.

8. Bananas

When you’re nauseous, it can be difficult to eat significant quantities of food.

That’s why it’s important that the foods you do manage to eat are nutritious and provide energy to help your body stay strong and recover. This is particularly true if your nausea is due to a chronic condition and you’re trying to maintain weight.

Bananas are a nutritious, energy-dense snack. They’re easy to eat even when you’re sick.

Plus, bananas help replace the potassium that may be lost if you have been vomiting or have had diarrhea.

Just 1 medium-sized banana packs 105 calories, 27 grams of carbs, 9% of your daily potassium needs, and 25% of the DV for vitamin B6.

Other soft, energy-dense foods include avocados, porridge, stewed fruits, mashed potatoes, and peanut butter.

9. Applesauce

Applesauce is a popular food for people with nausea or diarrhea. In fact, it’s part of the BRAT diet, which stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast.

This diet used to be routinely recommended to people with upset stomachs, particularly children. Though it’s now considered overly restrictive, many people still find the foods it mentions helpful.

Applesauce is a good source of carbs and is gentle on your stomach.

Half a cup (122 grams) of unsweetened applesauce contains about 50 calories and 14 grams of carbs.

What’s more, it’s high in the dietary fiber pectin, which may be beneficial if you’re experiencing diarrhea in addition to feeling nauseous.

10–12. Rice, potatoes, and noodles

Starchy, plain foods like rice, potatoes, and noodles are good choices when you’re nauseous.

They’re easy to prepare and high in calories. They also help settle your stomach.

Bland, colorless, and odorless foods are often more easily tolerated by your body, as they trigger nausea to a lesser extent than strongly flavored foods.

Rice can be boiled or steamed and eaten plain or with light seasoning. It can also be eaten cold if hot foods are off-putting.

Alternatively, potatoes can be boiled, steamed, baked, or mashed with a little butter and milk for extra calories.

Finally, noodles can be boiled and eaten plain. They can also be added to a light broth or sauce to increase your fluid intake.

13. Protein-rich meals

Studies going back more than two decades have investigated the effects of the macronutrient composition of meals on nausea, but recent research confirms many of those older findings.

In this 2023 study, researchers found that dietary patterns were linked to higher risk of nausea in pregnant people. The study authors suggested pregnant people should have more more eggs, milk and dairy products, fish, shrimp, and non-processed poultry. They should also make sure to drink enough water each day.

That same study also encouraged pregnant people to reduce or avoid carbonated and sugary drinks, as well as coffee, sweets, and processed meats.

Older research also encourages more protein-rich meals to reduce nausea symptoms, compared to carb- or fat-rich meals. Other research pints to ginger and protein supplements for people going through chemo to reduce nausea.

It’s unclear why protein has this effect on nausea.

Protein-rich meals are particularly important for people experiencing chronic nausea due to illness, as this macronutrient helps keep your body strong and reduces the risk of malnutrition.

14. Herbal tea

Herbal tea is commonly used as a remedy for nausea.

However, there is no scientific evidence to back up these claims. Research on specific compounds such as peppermint and chamomile has primarily been carried out in capsule or aromatherapy form.

For example, peppermint aromatherapy has been found to reduce nausea in people who had undergone open-heart surgery, while combined peppermint and lemon aromatherapy had the same effect in pregnant people.

Despite a lack of scientific evidence, many people with nausea find that herbal teas are well tolerated.

Drinking a cup of peppermint tea or adding a slice of lemon to hot water may ease your nausea. Even if the herb itself may show no effect, the fluids aid hydration when you’re sick.

Other tips for treating nausea

Besides consuming certain foods and beverages, you can take other steps to relieve your nausea:

  • Eat something small every 1–2 hours. Avoid skipping meals, since an empty stomach can worsen nausea.
  • Eat and drink slowly and in small amounts. This allows you to relax during meals and take time to enjoy your food. You may also want to avoid consuming liquids and solids at the same time.
  • Do not lie flat after eating. Avoid lying down for at least 30 minutes after eating, as this can put pressure on your stomach, making nausea worse.
  • Avoid food preparation. The smell while cooking and preparing food can worsen nausea. If possible, avoid or shorten the time spent in the kitchen.
  • Keep your mouth clean. Nausea and vomiting can leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth, which may prevent you from eating. Rinse and brush your teeth regularly and use sugar-free mints to keep feeling fresh.

In addition, avoid the following types of foods when you feel nauseous:

  • fatty, greasy, or fried foods
  • very sweet foods
  • spicy foods
  • foods with strong odors
  • alcohol
  • caffeine


Nausea is a very unpleasant sensation that can make it difficult to eat, drink and keep down food. Those experiencing it seem to tolerate certain foods better than others, including bland rice, pasta, potatoes, salty crackers, and cold foods.

Other foods and beverages may even improve symptoms of nausea, such as ginger, certain teas, and protein-rich meals.

What’s most important when you’re not feeling well is to ensure proper hydration by drinking plenty of water and electrolyte-rich beverages.

By trying these foods, you can keep yourself nourished while you’re under the weather and in the long term.