Page header image


What is the BRAT diet?

The BRAT diet is used to treat diarrhea in children who eat solid foods. Diarrhea in children and babies has many causes, including illness, infection, and food sensitivity. Diarrhea may be caused or worsened by what the child eats or drinks. Changing the diet for a few days may help.

BRAT stands for:

  • Bananas
  • Rice (or other starchy food)
  • Applesauce
  • Toast

These foods are low in fiber. Other foods like this are crackers, cooked cereals, and pasta. Other easily digested foods include yogurt or eggs. Avoid giving your child foods or liquids with high sugar content. Do not give your child carbonated soft drinks, some juices, like apple or pear juice, gelatin desserts or presweetened cereals. High sugar content can make your child's diarrhea worse.

In addition to these foods, give babies and children lots of clear fluids for the first 24 to 72 hours. Give babies under 1 year of age Kao Lectrolyte or Pedialyte. For children older than 1 year, give water, diluted Kool-Aid or diluted Gatorade as the main fluids. Fluid is very important because it is easy for a child with diarrhea to become dehydrated. Dehydration is very serious in babies and young children.

A BRAT diet is usually not used for more than 1 to 3 days. As stools become more formed, your child can return to a normal diet. Slowly begin adding other types of food. Foods high in fiber such as raw fruits and vegetables, should be added last.

Call your child's healthcare provider right away if:

  • Your child has not urinated in 8 hours (12 hours for older children) or has a very dry mouth or no tears.
  • There is any blood or mucous in the diarrhea.
  • Diarrhea is severe or lasts longer than 3 days.
  • Your child throws up repeatedly, has a fever that lasts more than 3 days, or starts acting very sick.

Contact your child's provider if diarrhea starts within 1 week of a trip outside of the US or after a camping trip. The diarrhea may be due to bacteria or parasites and may need to be treated with medicine.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2008-08-11
Last reviewed: 2007-07-19
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
2008 RelayHealth and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
Page footer image