Healthy Foods to Feed Your Kids When They're Sick

By: Penelope Wall, Senior Digital Editor

Are there healthy foods you can feed your kids when they're sick to make them feel better? When I was a child and had a cold, my mother would make me "honeygar," a homemade tangy-sweet mixture of honey and apple-cider vinegar mixed with hot water. And when I had an upset stomach, a glass of ginger ale was the tasty cure-all. I'm not sure these home remedies did much to cure my illness, but they tasted good and they did make me feel better. Isn't that the point, after all?

Related: Surprising Health Benefits of Vinegar

If you have a sick child, that feeling of helplessness can be overwhelming. Sometimes the best thing to do is wait it out (or call the doctor). Your child may not even want to eat, but if you're going through the trouble of cooking up a meal, try adding some healthy foods to the menu that may help relieve your kiddo's symptoms.

Here's a roundup of home remedies from EatingWell's nutrition experts. Note: This is not meant to take the place of medical advice, and it's always a good idea to consult your pediatrician before introducing new foods or supplements into your child's diet.

Related: Common Cold Remedies to Keep You Healthy This Winter

Chicken Soup

Try it for: a cold

Classic Chicken Soup

Recipe to try: Classic Chicken Soup

You can't "cure" a cold, but having a bowl of chicken soup may help block inflammation, potentially easing cold symptoms. Chicken soup is the ultimate comfort food and can help kids stay hydrated. It's also a delicious one-pot meal the whole family will love, so cook up a pot tonight.

Related: Chicken Soup Recipes to Fight a Cold

Honey-Sweetened Popsicles

Try it for: a cough

Blueberry-Shrub Lemonade Pops

Recipe to try: Blueberry-Shrub Lemonade Pops

My mother may have been on to something with her honeygar concoction. There is some research that shows honey may help relieve your child's cough and is a safer alternative to over-the-counter medicine for kids under 4. Avoid giving honey to kids under the age of 1 year, as it can cause infant botulism.

Related: Health Benefits of Honey

Ginger Ale

Try it for: upset stomach

Ginger ale

Recipe to try: Rosemary-Ginger Honey Simple Syrup

Tummy troubles? Mom was right to offer ginger ale. Ginger has a well-supported reputation for relieving an upset stomach. But not all ginger ale contains real ginger. So make sure to read labels or try making your own homemade ginger ale by cooking up a batch of ginger-infused simple syrup and mixing with some plain seltzer water. Stir out some of the bubbles to make the ginger ale less fizzy. Doing so will help avoid gas buildup, which could actually make symptoms worse.

Related: Health Benefits of Ginger

Sage

Try it for: sore throat

Sage tea

If your child has a sore, scratchy throat, a simple noncaffeinated tea or broth made with sage leaves might offer some relief. Try adding a little honey to make it more appealing to kids' taste buds.

Plain Yogurt

Try it for: diarrhea

Rainbow Yogurt Bowl

Recipe to try: Rainbow Yogurt Bowl

Yogurt contains probiotics, which are sometimes used to treat chronic digestive conditions. Beyond yogurt, you can find probiotics in aged cheeses, sauerkraut, kimchi and tempeh. Probiotics are also available as supplements for kids, but check with your pediatrician first before giving your child probiotics in any form.

Related: Diarrhea: What to Eat and Avoid

Raspberry Smoothie

Try it for: constipation

Unicorn Berry Smoothie

Recipe to try: Unicorn Berry Smoothie

When it comes to getting things moving smoothly, fiber is key. Raspberries have 8 grams fiber per cup. Other high-fiber kid-friendly foods include fruit- and veggie-filled smoothies, beans, vegetable soup, oatmeal and chia seeds.

Related: Natural Food Remedies for Constipation

Video: How to Make a Unicorn Smoothie