Diarrhea happens to everyone, kids and adults alike. Defined as the passing of three or more loose or watery stools within a day, most cases of diarrhea will clear up quickly on their own without medical attention. However, diarrhea in toddlers and young children should be taken seriously as diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration and become a dangerous situation.
As a parent, when your toddler has diarrhea, one of the first things that comes to mind is the question: “What should I feed my toddler?” If your little one is suffering from diarrhea, it’s important to know what foods and beverages can help them recover quickly.
Here are the best foods and drinks for toddlers with diarrhea:
Because diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration in younger children, water is a top priority for any toddler with diarrhea, and should always be offered instead of fruit juices or other sugary beverages. In fact, studies show that sugar-sweetened drinks and fruit juices can actually draw water into the large intestine and make symptoms worse.
Both vegetable and bone-based broths (especially the latter) are an excellent way to get your toddler the nourishment they need to feel better. Broth is very easy to digest and provides protein, nutrients, and amino acids.
Coconut water is rich in electrolytes, and studies show that it can work to prevent and support dehydration. A major bonus of coconut water is that your toddler is sure to love its naturally sweet taste, whether on its own or as a base for a smoothie.
If your toddler has a stomach bug and is struggling to keep food or liquid down, offer small sips of pure water and coconut water every 10-15 minutes.
Soups and Stews
If you’re wondering what to feed your toddler with diarrhea and they’re able to handle some solid foods, soups and stews are perfect. Feel free to follow your favorite recipe, just be sure to cook any vegetables or meats for an extended period of time (a slow cooker or crockpot makes this easy), as this makes them easier to digest.
Studies have shown that the pectin in apples acts as a prebiotic (AKA, food for friendly gut bacteria), which supports a healthy intestinal tract and helps with fluid loss. The added bonus here is that most toddlers love applesauce. It’s best to feed your toddler a homemade version or be sure to buy a brand without added sugars.
Bananas are also easy to digest and are high in potassium, which has been shown to help gut bacteria generate short-chain fatty acids that stimulate fluid absorption. Thankfully, bananas are another kid-friendly food that are a daily go-to in many households and a natural choice for toddlers with diarrhea.
You can also give your toddler DiaResQ, a food for special dietary use clinically proven to resolve most cases of pediatric diarrhea on day 1 of use. DiaResQ provides beneficial nutrients and immune factors that work with your child’s body to help rapidly restore normal intestinal function and relieve diarrhea. And most importantly, DiaResQ is safe for children as young as 1 year of age.
For a more detailed look at how to support a toddler with diarrhea, check out this article.
While the above foods are a good starting point, there are many other foods that can help to support your child during a bout of diarrhea. When feeding a toddler with diarrhea you’ll want to choose foods that are:
- Low in fat
- Low in insoluble fiber (which can be irritating to the intestines and stomach),
- Are bland (won’t cause queasiness)
- Hydrating and help to replace lost electrolytes