Not Sure What to Eat When You're Sick?
By Marysa Anderson-Cardwell, MS, RDN, CD, CPT
Jan 17, 2018
Updated Nov 17, 2023
5 min read
Cold and flu season is once again here, which means try as you might, you’re likely still going to get sick at least once this winter. But what can you do to minimize it — and maybe even escape it?
Wiping down your shopping cart at the grocery store, sanitizing your keyboard at work, and avoiding others who are sick are all basic steps that can help reduce your sick days.
And here’s a more important solution: It’s always important to eat well — especially when you’re sick. Not eating when you’re sick can inhibit your body’s ability to heal itself. While you might crave junk foods while you’re sick, they won’t help your body heal either.
Stock up now on these healthy staples so you’re prepared for any sickness that might come your way this year.
Anytime your stomach is unsettled and you’re experiencing nausea, an upset stomach, or diarrhea, it’s best to stick with foods that are easily digestible. These can include:
One of the most important things you need when you’re sick is fluids. Staying hydrated will help your body heal quickly and help ease your symptoms while you’re sick. Stick with water as much as possible.
You can drink it hot or cold and even suck on ice chips. If plain water doesn’t appeal to you, try decaffeinated teas or enhance your water with lemon and honey. Skip sugar-loaded sports drinks, fruit juices, alcohol, and coffee (caffeine can dehydrate you). If you’re vomiting, you may want to replace some of your lost electrolytes with a store-bought or homemade oral rehydration solution.
No matter your diagnosis, it’s important to take care of yourself when you’re sick. Eating the right foods will help. If you have more questions about what to eat while you’re sick, talk to your doctor.