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Comfort Foods: What To Feed Your Sick Toddler

It happens all the time… your toddler goes out into the world, and comes back sick! Whether they have a flu, cold, or stomach bug, it’s important to make sure they’re getting some nutrition and energy while they aren’t feeling their best. There are certain foods you can try giving them that may help them feel better, but don’t force anything on your sick kiddo. Certain foods can be great for soothing some illnesses, but time and rest are key. Here are some tips on feeding your little one while they’re feeling under the weather.

Understand that loss of appetite is normal. And actually, it’s not always a bad thing. For instance, with a flu bug, your little one’s stomach can be sensitive and need a rest from food and the digestive process to feel better. So, if solid foods aren’t the answer, what should you do?

Focus on the fluids. When your child is not ready for solid foods, it is important to keep them hydrated with fluids. That includes juices, soups, gels, and frozen-juice desserts. This will typically help to provide them with the much-needed hydration and energy they need until they can shortly ease back into solid foods. Of course, as with any illness, if this phase persists for too long, consult with your pediatrician.

Start slowly on the solids. When your little one seems up to it, slowly reintroduce solids back into their meals. Start with light, bland foods – crackers, toast, soups – anything like this that they have a taste for. If they only have a taste for one thing, that’s okay. The important thing is that they begin to eat and receive much-needed energy for recovery.

Your child determines the pace. When your child is ill, never force them to eat. Their eating patterns will naturally be more erratic when they’re sick and will eventually be back on their normal eating schedule. Once again, if their disinterest in eating solids persists for too long, consult your pediatrician just to be safe.

Feel-good foods. So, what specific foods are good for your little one during various illnesses? Here’s a quick review:

Diarrhea – Oatmeal, cooked vegetables, soups

Constipation – Unpeeled fruits, beans, sweet potatoes, bran muffins

Fever – Juices, soup, mashed potatoes, pudding

Colds – Chicken soup, eggs, yogurt, apple sauce

Sore Throat – Soup, broth, hot chocolate, Jell-o

Be sure to consult with your pediatrician and help your toddler ease back into comfortable eating patterns. The key is to be patient – by following smart dietary guidelines, your little one will feel better soon!


The information contained is for informational purposes only and is NOT intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely solely on this information. Always seek the advice of your healthcare provider.

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