HF 415

Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD) Diet Guidelines

Graft-Versus-Host Disease (GVHD) is a side effect of a stem cell transplant. It can upset the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. This can cause symptoms like diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping, nausea, mouth sores or heartburn. Eating small amounts of easy-to-digest foods may improve these symptoms.

Use this handout to help you choose meals and snacks. Your dietitian can teach you more about this diet before you go home as desired.

Group 1

Try these foods first.


  • Plain white bread

  • Plain white bagel

  • Plain white dinner roll

  • Plain white English muffin

  • Plain white pasta

  • Plain white rice

  • Plain mashed potatoes

  • Plain hot cereal: Cream of Rice™, Cream of Wheat®

  • Cold cereal: Rice Krispies®, Cheerios®, Honey Nut Cheerios™, Corn flakes®, Rice Chex™

  • Saltine crackers

  • Graham crackers


  • Applesauce

  • Banana

  • Peaches or pears (canned, drained)


  • Hard candy

  • Popsicles

  • Broth (chicken, vegetable, beef)


  • Decaf tea (avoid peppermint tea)

  • Gatorade® or Powerade®

  • Rice milk, soy milk, almond milk, Lactaid® milk

  • Apple juice or cranberry juice diluted with water

Nutrition Supplements

  • Boost Breeze™ or Ensure Clear™

  • Gelatein®

Group 2

If you tolerate the foods in group 1, start adding these foods. Still include foods from group 1 in your diet.


  • Bread (sourdough, rice)

  • Pancakes

  • Tortillas (white or corn)

  • Flat bread (white)

  • Sun Chips®

  • Lightly buttered white pasta


  • Fish (baked, poached or grilled tilapia, cod, salmon, walleye)

  • Chicken (baked or grilled, skinless)

  • Turkey breast (roasted)

  • Turkey burger

  • Eggs (scrambled, hard boiled, plain omelet)

  • Deli meats (turkey, lean ham)

  • Chicken noodle soup

  • Plain shredded chicken for taco


  • Cooked carrots

  • Cooked green beans

  • Mashed potatoes


  • Cantaloupe

  • Honeydew

  • Watermelon


(*Limit use)

  • Fat-free mayo

  • Fat-free salad dressings

  • Low-fat cream cheese

  • Fat-free sour cream

  • Non-dairy creamer

  • Margarine or butter*

  • Peanut butter (creamy)*

  • Gravies and sauces*


(Take with Lactaid® supplement as needed)

  • Low-fat yogurt

  • Low-fat cottage cheese

  • Low-fat cheese


  • Mrs. Dash®

  • Cinnamon

  • Cinnamon sugar

  • Brown sugar

  • Salt

  • Honey

  • Jelly

  • Syrup

  • Soy sauce

  • Sugar


(Limit to 1 serving per meal or snack)

  • Angel food cake

  • Sherbet

  • Frozen yogurt

  • Italian ice

  • Pudding

  • Lemon cookie

  • Sugar cookie

  • Chocolate chip cookie


  • Clear soda (7UP®, Sprite®, ginger ale)

  • Gatorade® or Powerade®

  • Hot cocoa

Nutritional Supplements

  • Ensure Plus® or Boost Plus®

  • Magic Cup®

  • Glucerna®

  • Carnation Breakfast Essentials with Lactaid® milk

Who to Call

If you are a UW Health patient and have more questions, please contact UW Health at one of the phone numbers listed below. You can also visit our website at www.uwhealth.org/nutrition.

Nutrition clinics for UW Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and American Family Children’s Hospital (AFCH) can be reached at: (608) 890-5500.

Nutrition clinics for UW Medical Foundation (UWMF) can be reached at: (608) 287-2770.

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.