What to Eat for Lunch When Your Stomach Hurts?

| | | Reviewed by: Rose Smith

Have you ever had to power through your day with a persistently grumbling stomach? Aches and discomfort in your gut can be a distressing derailment in your daily routine. But did you know that the right food choices for lunch could potentially soothe your aching stomach rather than aggravate it? That's what we'll delve into in this comprehensive guide.

Why Does Your Stomach Hurt?

Stomachaches are like that uninvited guest who drops by when you least expect them. Various factors, from stress, food allergies, digestive disorders, and infections, can trigger them. While the exact causes can be diverse and complex, the role of food in contributing to or mitigating these aches cannot be understated.

For example, gastritis—an inflammation of your stomach lining—can be caused by prolonged use of certain medications or excessive alcohol consumption. But dietary factors play a crucial role too.

A 2018 study published in the Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology found that diets high in processed foods and sugars and low in fiber can increase the risk of gastritis. Conversely, a diet rich in antioxidants and fiber could help manage the symptoms.

Multiple scientific studies echo the same truth: the food you consume can either soothe your aching belly or further irritate it.

The Importance of Choosing the Right Food

Now that we understand the significant role diet plays in managing stomach discomfort let’s explore why choosing the right foods is crucial. Certain foods have natural soothing properties, helping your digestive system perform more smoothly.

According to a 2017 review in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, foods high in fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can help regulate your digestive system and reduce symptoms of various gastrointestinal disorders.

In the same vein, the Journal of Food Science points out that ginger, used in many traditional medicine practices, can help alleviate symptoms of digestive discomfort.

The goal is to ensure that your lunch includes ingredients that can help mitigate stomach discomfort, aid digestion, and provide the necessary nutrients to keep you active and healthy, despite the discomfort.

Choosing the right food is not just about symptom management—it’s about feeling your best even when your stomach might not cooperate. So, let’s equip you with the knowledge to make the best choices for your lunch when you’re dealing with a hurting stomach.

Foods to Avoid When Your Stomach Hurts

Just as some foods can be your allies in calming a turbulent tummy, others might fuel the storm. Knowing which foods to avoid is equally important as knowing what to consume.

Although delightfully tangy and tantalizing, spicy foods are a common irritant for an upset stomach; a study in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found that capsaicin, the compound that gives chili peppers their kick, can cause abdominal pain and nausea for some people. Similarly, high-fat and fried foods are difficult to digest and may exacerbate stomach discomfort.

Foods and drinks containing caffeine or alcohol can also stimulate acid production in your stomach, causing or intensifying discomfort. Furthermore, artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol, found in some diet drinks and sugar-free candies, can lead to bloating and other digestive issues, according to research in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology.

Identifying and avoiding these potential triggers can go a long way in mitigating stomach discomfort and reducing the frequency of future episodes.

Safe Bets: What to Eat for Lunch When Your Stomach Hurts


Now, onto the good stuff. What are some soothing lunch options to consider when your stomach is giving you a hard time? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Bananas are easy to digest and rich in pectin, a fiber that can help regulate digestive function. A study in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition found that bananas could help soothe stomach ulcers.
  • Rice: Plain, cooked white rice is gentle on the stomach and can be a good energy source when you’re not feeling well. Plus, it’s versatile enough to be paired with other soothing foods.
  • Ginger: As previously mentioned, ginger has long been used as a remedy for stomach discomfort. Incorporating a little into your meals might help to soothe your stomach.
  • Yogurt: Preferably plain and low-fat, yogurt is rich in probiotics, beneficial bacteria that can promote a healthy gut, as suggested by a review in the Journal of Nutritional Science.

Each of these foods has properties that can help soothe an upset stomach and can be easily incorporated into various lunch recipes. The next section will provide some delicious, stomach-friendly recipes for you to try.

Read: How to Incorporate Fitness into Your Busy Lifestyle

Try These Soothing Lunch Recipes

Banana Yogurt Smoothie

When your stomach hurts, you last want a complicated meal. Here are some simple, soothing, and easily digestible lunch ideas for those tough days:

1. Ginger Rice Soup: Cook a small amount of rice until it’s very soft. Add thinly sliced ginger and a pinch of salt. This simple soup is gentle on your stomach and provides comforting warmth.

2. Banana Yogurt Smoothie: Blend a ripe banana with a cup of plain yogurt. Add a drizzle of honey for a touch of natural sweetness. This smoothie is easy to digest; the cooling yogurt can help soothe your stomach.

3. Baked Chicken with Rice: Bake a chicken breast with a sprinkle of salt and pair it with cooked white rice. Chicken is a good source of protein that is typically easy to digest, and it pairs well with white rice.

Remember, it’s best to keep portions small and eat slowly. These recipes offer a blend of ingredients known to be gentle on the stomach, providing nourishment without discomfort.

Additional Tips for Eating with a Hurting Stomach

In addition to selecting the right foods, there are other important factors to consider. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can help regulate digestive processes and prevent the discomfort of overeating.

Staying well-hydrated is also crucial for good digestive health, but avoid drinking large quantities of liquids during meals as this can contribute to feelings of bloating.

Lifestyle modifications can also complement dietary changes. Regular physical activity, stress management techniques, and adequate sleep can positively impact digestive health, according to a 2018 study in the American Journal of Gastroenterology.


There you have it – a guide to what to eat for lunch when your stomach hurts.

Remember, listening to your body and adjusting your diet accordingly is key. While these suggestions can be a good starting point, individual responses to food can vary.

So, take these tips as a general guide and tailor them to what suits you best. Through mindful eating and lifestyle modifications, you can navigate the challenges of a hurting stomach and hopefully find some relief. After all, nourishing your body should never be a pain in the gut!

FAQs – What to Eat for Lunch When Your Stomach Hurts

  1. What can I eat for lunch with an upset stomach?

    You can opt for gentle, easy-to-digest foods such as bananas, white rice, ginger, or plain low-fat yogurt. Recipes incorporating these ingredients, such as ginger rice soup or a banana yogurt smoothie, are also good options.

  2. Is pasta good for an upset stomach?

    Plain, well-cooked pasta can be a good option for an upset stomach, as it’s easy to digest. However, avoid adding rich, creamy, or tomato-based sauces, potentially irritating your stomach further.

  3. What foods to avoid with upset stomach?

    You should avoid spicy foods, high-fat and fried foods, caffeine, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners, as these could exacerbate stomach discomfort.

  4. What foods are easy to digest?

    Easy-to-digest foods include bananas, white rice, ginger, and plain low-fat yogurt. Other options could include cooked vegetables, baked chicken, and well-cooked pasta.

  5. What foods bind diarrhea?

    Foods that help bind stools and reduce diarrhea include bananas, white rice, applesauce, and toast. These are often referred to as part of the “BRAT” diet.

  6. Is mac and cheese good for an upset stomach?

    Mac and cheese could cause discomfort for an upset stomach, as it’s typically high in fat and contains dairy, which can be difficult for some individuals to digest, especially if lactose intolerant.

  7. Can I eat pizza with an upset stomach?

    Pizza, typically high in fat and spicy or acidic due to tomato sauce and toppings, might not be the best choice for an upset stomach. Opt for mild, easy-to-digest foods.

  8. What is the healthiest food for upset stomach?

    The healthiest food for an upset stomach would be those that are easy to digest and potentially soothe the stomach. These include bananas, white rice, ginger, and plain low-fat yogurt. It’s also crucial to stay well-hydrated by drinking water or herbal teas.

  9. What should I drink if my stomach hurts?

    When your stomach hurts, hydration is key. Drink plenty of water, or sip on herbal teas such as chamomile or peppermint tea, known for their soothing properties. Avoid alcoholic, caffeinated, or overly sweet beverages, as they might worsen the discomfort.


About Amy Smith

Amy, an award-winning journalist with a Master's in Journalism from Columbia University, has excelled for over twelve years, specializing in parenting, pregnancy, nursing, fashion, and health.

Her acclaimed blog, AmyandRose, demonstrates profound expertise shaped by her journey from pregnancy to nurturing a teenager and a toddler. Recognized by several parenting awards, Amy's work has been featured in top-tier health and lifestyle magazines, underscoring her authority in these fields.

Her contributions, grounded in evidence-based research and personal experience, provide invaluable, credible insights for parents navigating the complexities of modern child-rearing and personal well-being.

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For Educational Purpose Only! For medical advice, consult your physician.

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