The 15 Best Foods for Morning Sickness and Nausea

Wondering what you can possibly stomach when you're dealing with the unpleasant symptom of queasiness in early pregnancy? We rounded up the best foods to eat when nauseated, such as salty crackers, toast, and ginger—plus what to eat after throwing up—so you can show morning sickness who's boss.

An image of sorbet.
Photo: Getty Images.

There's no question morning sickness stinks, but scientists aren't entirely sure why it happens. It seems that pregnancy trips the part of the brain that controls vomiting, which leads to nausea. The queasiness may also be linked to increases in some hormones (such as hCG and estrogen) and your heightened sense of smell, which may be nature's way of protecting your baby.

"Your body uses odors to assess safety," explains Miriam Erick, M.S., R.D.N., author of Managing Morning Sickness. "Sensing rotten food saves you from eating something bad." But that sensitive nose can make perfectly safe meals a no-go as well. Here, we rounded up the best foods to fight nausea during pregnancy.

01 of 15

Salty Crackers

crackers
Bryan McCay

Stash a box of crackers on your bedside table and nibble a few as soon as you wake, since eating early in the day can help stave off morning sickness. "An empty stomach ups nausea," Erick explains. And not every cracker is alike: "The saltier, the better," she adds. Saltines will never taste so good, and after pregnancy, you just might wonder why they were so appealing.

02 of 15

Lemons

halved lemon and lime
Patryk Kosmider/Shutterstock

If you're in the trenches of morning sickness, keep lemons on hand. Sniff them, squeeze them in drinking water, or even lick slices—the refreshing smell and taste can calm your stomach when nausea hits. Lemon drops can help, too, so stash some in your bag before leaving the house.

Although the science is still out on how safe consuming large amounts of lemon is during pregnancy, there is evidence that smelling lemon is not only safe but effective at stopping nausea in its tracks. In a 2014 study, researchers found that sniffing lemon-scented aromatherapy had a statistically significant impact on lower nausea in pregnant people.

03 of 15

Ginger

Glass of Ginger Ale Soda and Ginger Root on Wood

A root commonly used in Chinese medicine, ginger is one of the best foods to eat when feeling nauseated. Ginger has been studied extensively and found to be particularly effective at relieving symptoms of nausea. According to the National Library of Medicine, roughly 80% of all pregnant folks will experience nausea and vomiting early in pregnancy and ginger was found to be a powerful antidote to feeling icky.

Try ginger teas and sodas, ginger-infused ice pops, crystallized ginger candy, or ginger snaps. Better yet, add some fresh ginger to your recipes.

04 of 15

Cold Foods

An image of sorbet.
Getty Images.

To combat nausea, try reaching for cold foods. Hot bites are more likely to have an aroma that triggers your gag reflex. That's because in order for smells to be picked up by the olfactory sense it needs heat. The warmer something is, the more it will smell. By sipping on cold beverages and snacking on cold foods, you can help eliminate scents that might otherwise upset your stomach.

Some yummy options include sorbet, yogurt, popsicles, chilled fruits, or ice cream.

05 of 15

Vitamin B6

Salmon steaks
Shutterstock

Studies have shown that B6 can reduce nausea and vomiting in pregnancy. And while researchers do not yet understand how this miracle vitamin works, they have observed since the 1942 that B6 can reduce morning sickness.

The vitamin is found in pork, chicken, some fish, fortified cereals, nuts, chickpeas, fortified tofu, turkey, bananas, potatoes, plenty of vegetables, and more. Talk to your doctor before taking any B6 supplements.

06 of 15

High-Protein Foods

Raw Meat Ground on Wooden Table
HandmadePictures/Shutterstock

Research shows that protein-rich foods—like beef, poultry, fish, and eggs—can keep nausea at bay while replenishing your energy. Researchers believe that protein may help reduce morning sickness by increasing a hormone called gastrin. By increasing your protein intake, you can help curb those waves of nausea. Talk to your doctor about how much protein is safe to eat.

And don't worry if you have an aversion to meat while pregnant; you can find natural sources of protein like nuts, beans, and Greek yogurt.

07 of 15

Bananas

bananas and milk
Brie Passano

Most people can stomach a banana when fighting morning sickness thanks to all the B6 packed into one serving. The nausea-reducing fruit also provides nutrients and potassium to refuel your pregnant body.

08 of 15

Pretzels and Chips

Pretzels and plain potato chips can help settle your stomach. Why? Because they're bland, salty, non-acidic, easy to digest, and require minimal effort from your gastrointestinal system. Remember, foods with strong odors and flavors can make nausea worse. Reaching for a pack of pretzels might be just the thing to help settle your stomach between meals.

09 of 15

Toast (And Other Dry Foods)

Toasted white bread on plain background
Aleksandrs Samuilovs/Shutterstock 

Many pregnant people also swear by toast, bagels, rice, potatoes, and other dry foods. These carb-heavy items don't have an overwhelming flavor, so they're less likely to trigger morning sickness. The starch can also absorb stomach acids to relieve a raunchy tummy.

10 of 15

Cereal

Bowl of Oat Cereal
timages/Shutterstock

Cereal usually doesn't have a nausea-triggering smell or taste. Choose one that's fortified with minerals and vitamins for some added nutrition, and avoid cereals that are jam-packed with added sugars.

11 of 15

Applesauce

Peels-On Instant Pot Applesauce
Lauren Volo

Some experts recommend eating unsweetened applesauce when nauseated or after throwing up. Applesauce is a easy to digest, and thanks to pectin, it can help relieve constipation. The fiber in the apples can help with diarhea, and when you're feeling especially quesasy and vomiting, consuming apple sauce can give you much-needed calories.

If you don't want to buy applesauce, try making your own at home. Simple peel, core, and chop up some apples. Add to a pot with a little bit of water, sugar, cinnamon, and lemon and cook down until it turns into a thick sauce.

12 of 15

Peppermint

Anecdotal evidence shows that peppermint might treat morning sickness symptoms. Opt for peppermint-flavored tea if you're relaxing at home, and stock up on peppermint hard candies for on-the-go relief.

13 of 15

Herbal Teas

Cold Woman Wrapped Under Blanket Holding Mug
stockfour/Shutterstock

Staying hydrated is key to settling your stomach and rehydrating your body after throwing up. And while water is always a great choice, pregnancy-safe herbal teas (like red raspberry, lemon, spearmint, peppermint, peach, or chamomile) can provide some added nausea-relieving benefits. Take small sips so you don't set off the nausea. Is the hot too aromatic? Try cooling your tea and adding ice for a refreshing change.

14 of 15

Broth

matzoh ball soup
Andrew Zimmern

Not only does broth go down easily, it also contains electrolytes to prevent dehydration—a common side effect of throwing up. Electrolytes are key to hydration since they contain sodium and potassium. These essential minerals help keep blood volume up and flowing smoothly, which can prevent dehydration and nausea.

15 of 15

Watermelon

Watermelon Day
Elizaveta Galitckaia/Shutterstock

Thanks to its high water content, watermelon can also fight dehydration if you're throwing up. Not in the mood to eat? Try drinking a refreshing glass of watermelon juice instead!

Updated by
Nicole Harris
Nicole Harris, SEO Editor
Nicole Harris is the Editor at Parents. She joined the team in 2018 as a Staff Writer and was promoted to SEO Editor in 2021. She now covers everything from children's health to parenting trends. Nicole's writing has appeared in Martha Stewart Weddings, Good Housekeeping, The Knot, BobVila.com, and other publications. A graduate of Syracuse University, Nicole currently lives in New Jersey with her husband.
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