What can I cook for someone with an ulcer?

If you are cooking for someone with an ulcer, it’s important to choose recipes that are nourishing yet gentle on the stomach. Certain foods may aggravate an ulcer while others can help promote healing. With care and planning, you can make tasty meals that will be soothing and well-tolerated.

Understanding Ulcers

An ulcer is a sore that develops on the lining of the stomach, esophagus or small intestine. The main cause is infection from the bacteria H. pylori. Ulcers can also be caused by long-term use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen. Smoking, alcohol consumption and stress are additional risk factors.

Common ulcer symptoms include a burning stomach pain, bloating, nausea and fatigue. Treatment usually involves antibiotics to clear the H. pylori infection along with medications to reduce stomach acid production and promote healing.

Certain foods can aggravate an ulcer by increasing stomach acid levels. These include spicy foods, citrus fruits and juices, tomato products, caffeinated and carbonated beverages, alcohol, chocolate and mint. It’s best to avoid these items when cooking for someone with an active ulcer.

Recommended Foods

When cooking for ulcer patients, focus on foods that are nutritious and soothing. Some great options include:

  • Smooth nut butters – Try serving nut butters like almond butter or cashew butter on toast or stirred into oatmeal. The smooth, creamy texture is easy on the stomach.
  • Tender, well-cooked vegetables – Steam or roast carrots, green beans, broccoli, squash, potatoes and other veggies until fork-tender.
  • Broths and soups – Clear broths and blended soups provide nourishment without irritation.
  • Oatmeal and whole grain cereals – Look for low-sugar varieties. Serve plain or with nut butter and banana.
  • Eggs – Scrambled, poached or boiled eggs are an excellent source of protein.
  • Lean meats and poultry – Lightly cook tender cuts of beef, pork, chicken or turkey into a soft texture.
  • Plant-based proteins – Try tofu, lentils and beans. Go for smooth textures.
  • Yogurt and kefir – Choose plain, low-fat varieties.
  • Cooked apples and bananas – The soft texture of cooked fruit is preferable to raw.

It’s best to avoid spicy seasonings, onion, garlic, and any crunchy or fried foods. Focus on simple preparation methods like steaming, braising, baking and sautéing in broth or olive oil.

Sample Menu Ideas

Here are some nourishing sample menus that would be suitable for someone with an ulcer:


  • Oatmeal made with almond milk, topped with almond butter and banana
  • Scrambled eggs with steamed spinach
  • Peanut butter toast with sliced banana


  • Turkey sandwich on soft bread with lettuce, tomato and avocado
  • Minestrone soup with small pasta and vegetables
  • Tofu veggie stir-fry over brown rice


  • Broiled salmon with steamed carrots and rice pilaf
  • Beef and vegetable stew with mashed potatoes
  • Vegetable frittata with side salad


  • Smoothie made with banana, almond milk and nut butter
  • Applesauce with cinnamon
  • Cottage cheese with sliced peaches
  • Cooked quinoa with walnuts and honey

Helpful Tips

Here are some additional tips for cooking for someone with an ulcer:

  • Opt for low-fat cooking methods like grilling, broiling, poaching or baking.
  • Limit high-fat foods like creamy sauces, fried items and buttery baked goods.
  • Avoid known trigger foods like coffee, alcohol, chocolate and mint.
  • Drink liquids between rather than during meals.
  • Choose low-fiber grains like white rice or loaf bread.
  • Reduce added sugars, spicy seasonings and acidic ingredients.
  • Allow spices to infuse flavor during cooking, then remove herbs and spices before serving.
  • Slice, peel or cook produce to make it easier to digest.
  • Stick to low-acid juices like apple, pear or aloe vera juice.

Foods to Increase or Limit

When tailoring your cooking to someone with an ulcer, it helps to know which foods to emphasize or limit:

Foods to Increase Foods to Limit
  • Vegetables – well-cooked
  • Fruits – bananas, melons, cooked apples
  • Grains – refined bread, white rice, oats
  • Proteins – eggs, nut butters, tender meats
  • Dairy – milk, plain yogurt, cottage cheese
  • Spicy foods
  • Citrus fruits and juices
  • Tomatoes
  • Onions, garlic
  • Coffee, alcohol
  • High-fat fried foods

Recipes to Try

Here are some nutritious recipes that would be suitable for someone following an ulcer diet:

Butternut Squash Soup


  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
  • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1⁄2 cup plain kefir or yogurt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat oil in a pot over medium heat. Add squash, sweet potato curry powder and season with salt and pepper. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes until squash is tender.
  3. Puree soup with immersion blender or regular blender.
  4. Remove from heat and stir in kefir or yogurt.
  5. Garnish bowls with toasted pepitas or pine nuts if desired.

Baked Salmon with Rice and Asparagus


  • 2 (6-ounce) salmon filets
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lemon, zested and juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
  2. Place salmon filets skin-side down on prepared baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper. Bake 12-14 minutes until fish flakes easily.
  3. Meanwhile, cook rice according to package directions.
  4. In a skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add asparagus and garlic. Cook 5 minutes until asparagus is tender. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Fluff cooked rice with a fork. Stir in lemon zest.
  6. Serve salmon over rice with asparagus. Drizzle lemon juice over salmon.

Banana Smoothie Bowl


  • 1 banana, frozen
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp almond butter
  • 1 tsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
  • Toppings like chopped nuts, chia seeds or shredded coconut


  1. Blend all ingredients except toppings in a high speed blender until smooth and creamy.
  2. Pour into a bowl and top with desired toppings.


Cooking for someone with an ulcer doesn’t have to be complicated. Focus on smooth, low-fat, low-fiber foods prepared with simple cooking methods. Avoid known ulcer triggers spicy seasonings, caffeine, citrus, etc. With a little care and creativity, you can make nutritious meals that soothe the stomach and promote healing.

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