According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), millions of adults and children will come down with colds each year. The common cold is just that, common; everyone gets it at some point. Even worse, more than two hundred viruses have been implicated in causing cold symptoms, and since the cause is viral rather than bacterial, antibiotics can’t do anything to help. It happens to all of us occasionally. A sore throat, stuffed up nose, stiff muscles, headaches, the flu… It isn’t fun. For those sick days when you are ill and just want to stay in bed, having a few sick day foods ready to go will make it easier.
Here are some of the best things you can eat when you have a cold or a cough: Broth – It’s the perfect nourishing food for when you aren’t feeling well. Chicken soup is loaded with protein, veggies, and nourishing broth. I drink tons of decaf tea with honey when not feeling great. The warm liquid and honey hydrates you and feels good on a sore throat. Oatmeal is bland while still being nutritious. It’s good if you have an upset stomach. Avoid the sugary varieties and keep it simple with a little sugar, honey, or salt. Of course, there are also foods you should avoid when you’re under the weather. They simply don’t benefit your recovery. Dairy products can increase mucus production making stuffy noses worse. Alcohol can worsen illness related dehydration. Refined sugar and junk food -a little won’t hurt, but you really need nourishing foods to help you recover. Coffee and Sodas contain caffeine, sugar, and the carbonation in them can make your stomach hurt. Fried or fatty foods take longer to move through the digestive system and can make nausea worse and trigger acid reflux.
Hydration is important in feeling your best daily and when you are sick it is even more important. Your body requires extra fluids when you are sick so drink plenty. To help with this, I have a pitcher of lemonade on hand to refill my cup all day. I use a powdered mix with coconut water. Coconut water is a great source of both water and naturally occurring electrolytes. It is also neutral-tasting and gentle on the stomach. Also, flavored gelatin has long been associated with hospital food and liquid diets. I use Gatorade G2, the low sugar variety or coconut water to make gelatin. An hour or two before you’re ready to make your gelatin, pop a bottle of either liquid in the freezer. You don’t want it frozen, but well-chilled. Slightly slushy is even better. Boil the water and mix in the gelatin powder as usual. Then instead of adding cold water, add in the same amount of cold liquid. Chill gelatin as directed. G2’s flavors are light, making them gentle on upset stomachs, so they don’t change the flavor much. I have mixed fruit punch with cherry gelatin and can barely tell a difference.
It can be tempting to skip out on eating sufficient calories and healthy calories when you are sick. Cold symptoms can be miserable, prompting you to forgo food or reach for comfort foods instead. Growing up my mom used the BRAT diet, Bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, when I was sick. This diet is no longer recommended since it is such a restricted diet. Because BRAT diet foods are low in fiber, protein, and fat, the diet lacks enough nutrition to help a person’s gastrointestinal tract recover. The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends that kids resume eating a normal, well-balanced diet appropriate for their age within 24 hours of getting sick. So, a bowl of warm soup is a good option.
Feel better soup
1 (32 oz) box of low-sodium chicken broth
½ cup whole wheat couscous (dry, uncooked)
⅔ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
Optional: a pinch of salt
In a medium pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the couscous (and the pinch of salt if using) and cook until very, very soft.
While the couscous is cooking, in a small bowl, beat together the eggs and cheese with a fork.
Once the couscous is fully cooked, turn the burner off and stir in the egg/cheese mixture one forkful at a time until all the mixture has been added. Add in some snipped chives and serve.