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Best Foods for a Fever: 10 Ways to Keep Kids Comfortable

You’ve undoubtedly heard that the best course of action with minor illnesses is to “feed a cold, starve a fever” and you’re probably thinking “as a food blogger, you must know if that’s good advice.” Though I didn’t attend medical school, I do have an internet connection (a necessity for my futuristic job!), and having consulted all the best-designed and therefore most accurate health sites, I can definitively say “No one is really sure.” However, there are a few things that are definitely true about fevers and food, and we’ve got some simple tips that can soothe the sick.

The first is that no one is especially hungry when they have a fever, making the whole “starve a fever thing” thing much easier. The second is that regardless of how the patient feels about eating and drinking, he or she needs to stay hydrated and get some nutritive content. So whether you are treating yourself, your children, or your spouse for a fever, that should be your emphasis. Here are 10 things to help your loved ones down the road to recovery from fevers.


  • Juice Popsicles 1 of 10
    Juice Popsicles
    Freezing juice can make it a little more palatable to someone who's not feeling like drinking because it forces slow consumption. It can also provide cooling relief for sore throats.
    Make striped pomegranate yogurt popsicles
  • Chicken Broth 2 of 10
    Chicken Broth
    Chicken broth may or may not have anti-inflammatory effects as some believe, but even if it doesn't, it's a great way to get a little bit of nutritive content into someone who isn't feeling up to eating solids.
    Make slow cooker chicken stock
  • Tea with Honey and Lemon 3 of 10
    Tea with Honey and Lemon
    It's best to avoid regular black tea which has caffeine when sick, but an herbal tea, or plain hot water, with honey and lemon gets sick kids drinking and soothes sore throats.
    15 ideas for warming winter drinks for kids
    Image Credit: Jaime Mormann
  • Juice Spritzers with Electrolytes 4 of 10
    Juice Spritzers with Electrolytes
    A lot of kids don't really like the electrolyte beverages you can buy at the pharmacy which is probably exacerbated once the taste becomes associated with being sick. Mixing them with a little juice and seltzer can make them easier to get down.
    Make pomegranate lemonade spritzers
    Image Credit: Kelsey Banfield
  • Oranges 5 of 10
    Oranges
    Once you're already sick, it probably doesn't do much good to dose yourself with vitamin C, but it doesn't hurt, either. In any event, they will help you rehydrate and the sugar can give an energy burst, but they are acidic so be careful if your patient has an upset stomach.
    Image Credit: Wikimedia
  • Smoothies 6 of 10
    Smoothies
    A frosty, fruity smoothie can be a vitamin-rich snack for sick kids. Make the smoothie with whatever healthy ingredients you have around the house -- consider using banana, juice, berries, kefir or yogurt, coconut milk, or avocado. Note that while probiotic foods like yogurt or kefir may give the immune system a boost, some think dairy is best avoided when congestion is present.
    Make mango banana smoothies
    Image Credit: Angie McGown
  • Jello 7 of 10
    Jello
    Although it's a solid when served, Jell-O is a liquid at room temperature. And since it's mostly water, it's best to think of Jell-O as a beverage and a great transition food for someone who hasn't been eating. Also, hospitals serve it all the time, so it must be good for your health, right?
    Make grape juice-sweetened jiggle cups
    Image Credit: Jaime Mormann
  • Oatmeal 8 of 10
    Oatmeal
    Bland foods like oatmeal are often the easiest way to ease back into solid foods, and because it's high in vitamins and minerals, it makes for a very fortifying meal.
    Make cherry orange oatmeal
  • Whole Wheat Crackers or Saltines 9 of 10
    Whole Wheat Crackers or Saltines
    Recovering form a fever can be a long process, so ease sick tummies back into food with something simple like saltines or whole wheat crackers. These basic snacks are easy to digest, and can provide some quick sustenance for kids on the mend.
    Image Credit: Evan-Amos
  • Coconut Water 10 of 10
    Coconut Water
    Low in calories and high in electrolytes, potassium, and vitamin C, coconut water is a popular way to rehydrate without a lot of unnecessary sugar (although depending on the circumstances, sugar's not always a bad thing). Replacing water and electrolytes is especially important during a fever, because both are lost quickly during a fever, especially if it's accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea. The added vitamin C can also give a great boost to the immune system.
    Image Credit: Robert Wetzlmayr

Image Credit: Jaime Mormann

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