Tuesday's Tip: BRAT and BAGS

January 11,2011
Sweet Pea Chef
Jessica Efird( )

Jessica, aka the Sweet Pea Chef, is a former U.S. Senate staffer/weekend gourmet turned full-time mom/family gourmet. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband and two sons.

Sorry to say, I have had more than a couple friends and their families fall victim to the dreaded stomach flu in the past several weeks.  There have been a few instances of the stomach bug going through entire families within days, and since our family has “been there, done that,” I can honestly say I wouldn’t wish a stomach virus on my worst enemy. 

Obviously when you are in the throws (pun intended, sorry) of a stomach bug, eating is the last thing on your mind.  But once the virus has passed, and you are ready to regain your strength through a little sustenance, what is the best thing to eat?  I have found that each family seems to have their go-to upset belly foods.  For my mom, usually the first thing she recommends is to scramble an egg.  Not sure where this comes from per se, other than she is a big believer in the power of protein to regain energy…and eggs are a good mild form of protein.

For my Tuesday’s Tip of the week, I share an acronym that can help guide you in your quest to gain some nourishment without enraging your delicate belly:  BRAT (Bananas, Rice, Applesauce and Tea). 

Let’s break down the BRAT acronym:

“B”—Bananas are very easy to digest and yet bananas are high in starch and sugar, two ways to up your energy level.  The vitamins and minerals in bananas are helpful to recovery too.

“R”—Rice, like bananas, are easy to digest and also offer carbohydrates to sustain energy after you begin to feel better.

“A”—Applesauce, with its mild texture and taste, is also easy to digest (see a pattern?).  Also, like bananas, they offer some sugar to help you feel a wee bit more vigor.

“T”--While I never have offered my family members tea after a stomach bug, the tea represents a vitally important post-flu component:  hydration.  I do not know for certain, but I wonder if tea was offered initially as the drink of choice due to its having a bit of caffeine, again for regaining energy? 

In our home however, we should probably rename “BRAT” to “BRAG,” replacing the final “T” with a “G” for “Ginger Ale.”  Ginger is a natural anti-nausea cure; pairing it with the carbonation of Ginger Ale makes the perfect post-stomach bug drink.   And actually, I have found that Saltines offer us the same benefit as the rice, without the hassle of boiling water.  I guess you could say we have now changed our acronym to “BAGS.”

Whatever method you use to remember easy-on-the-tummy foods, your children and family will thank you when you are able to provide them with something to eat that won’t send their belly reeling.

SPC