Here are some tips to help you decide what foods to eat and what foods to avoid.
General dietary recommendations for gastroparesis include:
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals
- Eat less fatty foods
- Avoid fiber
- Avoid foods that cannot be chewed well
- Foods that are generally encouraged include:
- Breads, cereals, crackers, ground or pureed meats
- Vegetables – cooked and, if necessary, blenderized/strained
- Fruits – cooked and, if necessary, blenderized/strained
- Juices, beverages, milk products, if tolerated
- Small, frequent meals
Reducing the meal size reduces the distention of the stomach from the meal. By eating smaller meals, you may not feel as full or bloated and the stomach may empty faster. With the reduction in meal size, increasing the number of meals to 4−6 per day is needed to maintain adequate nutritional intake.
Avoid foods high in fat
Fat can delay emptying of the stomach. Eating less fat-containing foods will decrease the amount of time food stays in the stomach. However, fat containing liquids, such as milkshakes, may be tolerated and provide needed calories.
A diet low in fiber is suggested
Fiber delays gastric emptying. In addition, fiber may bind together and cause a blockage of the stomach (called a bezoar).
Examples of high fiber foods that should be avoided include:
- Fruits – apples, berries, coconuts, figs, oranges, persimmons
- Vegetables - Brussels sprouts, green beans, green peas, lettuce, potato peels, sauerkraut
- Bran/whole grain cereals
- Nuts and seeds
- Legumes/Dried Beans – baked beans, lentils, soy beans
Fiber supplements for treatment of constipation should also be discontinued if possible.
Avoid foods that may not be easily chewed
Examples of hard to chew foods include:
Chew food well before swallowing
Solid food in the stomach does not empty well. Dental problems, such as missing or broken teeth, may lead to poorly chewed food. This may add to the problem of inadequate breakdown of food into smaller particles in the stomach for passage into the small intestine for absorption.
Taking fluids throughout the meal and sitting upright or walking for 1−2 hours after meals may help in the emptying of the meal from the stomach.
Vitamins and minerals
A daily multivitamin/mineral supplement can be taken if dietary intake is inadequate.
Adapted from IFFGD Publication: Dietary and Nutritional Recommendations for Patients with Gastroparesis by Carol Rees Parrish, RD, MS, Nutrition Support Specialist, University of Virginia Health System, Charlottesville, VA; Edy Soffer, MD, Co-Director of the GI Motility Laboratory, Division of Gastroenterology, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA; and Henry Parkman, MD, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.