Feeding your kids during illness: a guide for nourishing and soothing foods

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Raising kids and feeding them well can be a full time job. Growing bodies need healthy fats, lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, protein, and slow burning carbs. That can be a lot to get into a kid during a day.

Something that can be a bit more challenging is feeding our kids when they are sick. I know for me, when a cold strikes, I want Campbell’s chicken and stars soup, white bread with butter and sprite. Not exactly stellar nutrition.

Feeding your kids  during illness: A guide for   nourishing & soothing foods

But, I have good news, there are some great real food options that bring the same level of comfort for those that aren’t feeling well. It’s important to make every bite count when our little ones are ill. The better they are fed, the faster they can heal. Here are my favorite ways of feeding your kids during illness: a guide for nourishing and soothing foods.

Bone broth:
Bone broth is a great way to provide nutrients to kids in ways that they will easy eat, sick or not sick. My kids will drink it right out of the mug when not feeling well, it is a comfort food for them. It provides lots of mineral and is great for the gut. I like to sneak in some extra garlic, onions, turmeric, ginger and sea salt to make it pack a punch.

If your kids aren’t soup eaters, then cook rice using broth instead of water, that works every time here.

If you need some instructions on how to make bone broth, my friend Renee from Raising Generation Nourished has a great post on the how to’s of bone broth.

Here are a few great kid-friendly soups that will help chase away the germs:

Nourishing Chicken Soup from Simply Healthy Home
Roasted Garlic Soup from Raising Generation Nourished
Twice Cooked Bone Broth from Food your body will thank you for
Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup from Live Simply
Easy Borscht from Almost Bananas
Immune Boosting Soup from Hybrid Rasta Mama
Dairy Free Creamy Chicken Soup from Simply Healthy Home

Feeding your kids  during illness: A guide for   nourishing & soothing foods

Smoothies are an awesome way to get a good doses of vegetables and fruit into your kids. You can pack them with healthy items likes gelatin, coconut oil and probiotics.

If you are the type that likes to be prepared, Live Simply has a great tutorial on making smoothies packs to have in the freezer ready to go.

Need smoothie inspiration? Check these out: 

Strawberry Lemon Green Smoothie from Simply Healthy
Immune Boosting Smoothie from Raising Generation Nourished
Chocolate Smoothie with Herbal Tea Infusion from Recipes to Nourish
Orange, Lemon, Ginger and Goji Berry Smoothie from Loveurbelly
Detox Smoothie from Spirithealers
Coconut Raspberry Vanilla Smoothie with Kombucha from Recipes to Nourish

Feeding your kids  during illness: A guide for   nourishing & soothing foods


What kid doesn’t like gummies? While store bought gummies have about zero nutriention, if you make them at home you are giving your kids a great boost to their immune system. You can use grass fed gelatin (the red can), teas, homemade juice or even just have powdered herbs or vitamins.

Your kids will love them and won’t even notice they are being given something that is nutrient dense.

You also don’t need fancy molds. I have used my mini muffin pan and these cupcakes liners just fine.

There are some great recipes to get you started with nutrient dense gummies:

Yummy Gummy Lollies made with Gut Healing Gelatin from Loveurbelly
Ginger Honey Gummie Snacks from It’s a love thing
Probiotic Raspberry Fruit Chews from The Happy Health Nut
Fruit and Veggie Gummie Snacks from Live Simply
Make Your Own Kids Immune Boosting Gummies from Happy Mothering
Elderberry Syrup Gummies from Simply Healthy Home
Vitamin C Gummies from Kitchen Stewardship

Feeding your kids  during illness: A guide for   nourishing & soothing foods

Popsicles are the big guns when my kids are sick. They never refuse popsicles. Store bought popsicles are full of junk so I make them as full of nutrients as I can so that they are making an impact on keeping them hydrated and boosting their immune system.

All you need are popsicle molds and some creativity. Anything from flavored water to herbal teas with honey freeze well.

Here are a few Popsicle recipes that your kids will love!

Veggie Packed Popsicles from Live Simply
Elderberry Popsicles from Raising Generation Nourished
Kid-Friendly, Bone-Healing, Anti-inflammatory, Smoothie-turned-Popsicle from Naturally Loriel
Elderberry Juice Pops from Back to the Book Nutrition
Real Fruit Popsicles from Homemade Dutch Apple Pie
Strawberry Ice Lolly from Next Breakfast
5 Nourishing Summer Popsicles from Raising Generation Nourished
Herbal popsicles for Immunity Building from How to just about anything

Nourishing Beverages:
This can come in a lot of different forms but my favorites, are herbal teas, fermented beverages and homemade sodas. All of these can be made at home and can provide nutrients as well and keeping your kids hydrated. (Which is very important during an illness)

Store bought soda can sometimes soothe a belly but it also delays healing as it not only filled with sugar but lots of other junk like high fructose corn syrup.

Some great ideas for great tasting beverages for the kids. 

Lemon Ginger Soda from Simply Healthy Home
Water Kefir Soda from Natural Fertility and Wellness
Herbs that soothe (tea blends for children) from Hybrid Rasta Mama
Vitamin C herbal tea from Recipes to Nourish
DIY Herbal Immune Boosting Tea from Intoxicated on Life
Cinnamon Thyme Tea from Recipes to Nourish
Elderberry Soda from And here we are
Hot Garlic Ginger Lemonade from Recipes to Nourish
Fermented Blueberry Soda from Fearless Nutrition
Sarsaparilla and Root Beer Kombucha from Hybrid Rasta Mama
Grape Kefir Soda from Natural Fertility and Wellness

Feeding your kids  during illness: A guide for   nourishing & soothing foods

While store bought yogurt isn’t a favorite of mine, I like the nutritional dose of good bacteria it provides. It is easily served by itself or add it to smoothies or popsicles.

Yogurt is easy to make at home, check out this post: 

Crock Pot Yogurt from Richly Rooted

Feeding our kids well is an investment in their future, healthy habits made early will set them for life. It can be tough when they are sick but I hope the links above will help you able to keep their bellies full of good foods while still providing comfort!

While the BRAT diet has been handed down as advice for generations, I think we have learned there are can be nourishing foods that fill the same need. My friend Katie from Kitchen Stewardship lays that out nicely in this post specifically about the BRAT diet.

If you are interested in learning about home remedies for specific aliments you can check out these posts on  sore throats, viral infections, stuffy noses and chest congestion .

What are your favorite real food comfort foods when you aren’t feeling well? 

(And thanks for my friends from Live Simply, Raising Generation Nourished, Recipes to Nourish and It’s a Love Thing for allowing me to use their photos. )

*For the record, my thoughts and advice are only my experiences or what others have allowed me to share. We don’t claim to diagnose, treat or cure.*


  1. says

    What a great article! I do some of these, and am working on incorporating more into our lives. Thanks for writing and sharing this. It’ll help a lot of people.

  2. says

    Holy moly…this is a fantastic guide for feeding sick kiddos! You have packed in so many great recipes for nourishing them when they are sick (and just good for all of the time to keep them…and us…from getting sick). Fantastic resource!!!


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