It’s no fun coming down with a a croup-y cough, drippy nose and high fever — especially for the little ones who can’t bear to miss a minute of exploration. And when your little one’s sick (and sniffy), it can be hard on you too. So while you can’t wave a magic wand to make those miserable feelings go away, there’s plenty you can do (outside of what the doctor orders) to ease your own parenting worries and help your sick toddler feel better.
Most important being – feeding them a healthy and high on nutrition diet when they don’t want to eat anything!
My 2 year old recently fell very unwell with 104 fever and a bacterial infection – with more antibiotics on the menu than anything else and a complete loss of appetite, I had to make food exciting, tempting and irresistible for him to eat.
Sharing with you some of the food hacks and tips that worked like magic formula for me and my little one during this period.
If high fever is the only symptom, your child needs a calorie dense diet. This is because with such high fever, your child’s metabolic rate is raised and the body tends to burn a lot of calories – leading to immediate weight loss and weakness. Break meals into several small portions through the day and keep them VERY well hydrated.
With high fever comes the risk of dehydration. Kids sweat a lot once the fever comes down. Make sure you give few sips of water every hour. If they refuse, apply tricks, change cups, use straws anything that works for you but make sure they are taking enough fluids.
Soak nuts overnight and give this to your child in the morning. You can soak almonds, raisins, walnut, dried apricot and date. Dried nuts are a great source of energy. This is your child’s morning fuel and it’s super rich in proteins and iron. Add them to morning porridge (suji/dalia/oats with fruits) and it sure makes for an wholesome breakfast!
A favorite comfort food with kids – Custard ( even we can’t resist fruity custard!). Looking for a quick custard fix in the kitchen ?
- Make custard the usual way
- Mash in half a banana and an egg yolk
- Add brown sugar or honey (only for kids above 1 year) to sweeten it.
Utterly Custardy Delicious!
While making chapatis or paranthas for your child, add a teaspoon of flaxseeds and melon seeds powder in the dough. Adding this to breakfast porridge or custard is also a good idea.
Sometimes when they are unwell – they detest the plain glass of milk even more. Drinking Chocolate Powders might have too many preservatives. So use the natural way – fruit milkshakes ( banana, mango, chikoo, any seasonal fruit ). Add a drop of vanilla extract and a pinch of cinnamon powder to enhance the taste. Your child needs the energy to fight the infection.
You could also try Peanut butter milkshake . Peanut butter is super healthy and rich in proteins. It tastes best with bananas. Just add a tsp of peanut butter in banana milkshake and you’ll have your little one asking for more!
MASHED POTATOES & EGGS
While smiley fries is everyone’s birthday – avoid fried potato intake and try the boiled version.
Potatoes are rich in Vitamin C and egg without a doubt is super nutritious.
Simply sauté a clove of garlic in olive oil/butter. Add mashed potatoes. Season it with salt, oregano and black pepper. Add some mozzarella cheese and a whole boiled egg/yolk. Add 1/4th cup of milk. Mix and cook for few seconds and blend it coarsely in a blender so that the egg is well incorporated.
IRON RICH FOOD
Make sure you are feeding your child food rich in Vitamin C to boost their immune system. The best way to serve this is with iron rich food.
- Scrambled eggs: Grate red bell peppers, capsicum and broccoli (all three are great source of vitmain C) and some chopped spinach leaves. Sauté them in olive oil/butter till tender and then add the beaten eggs.
- Soup : A spinach, tomato, capsicum and potato soup works well – yummy flavours and good for the throat.
- Oats/ Upma : Add in all their favourite vegetables, make it colourful with carrots,beans and peas.
Increase the spinach intake. It’s rich in calcium, phosphorus, Iron and Vitamin C.
Make some colourful spincach paranthas . Quick Tip: Did you know adding mashed banana while you knead the dough adds a flavour ,is nutritious and helps balance the bitterness and strong flavours of methi/spinach making it more delicious.
Yoghurt in any form – plain,with fruits,lassi. Probiotics in yogurt will help boost your child’s immune and digestive system. Remember to serve this at room temperature.
Yes, not every child’s favourite but maybe the colors excite them! It’s super rich in not only Vitamin C but also Vitamin B complex and folate. It also has a mild laxative effect which can help your child poop well because medication often tends to constipate babies.
- You can puree steamed beetroots in mashed potatoes. Kids love the colour
- You can add beetroots in scrambled eggs
- You can make beetroot and banana smoothie
- Steam a slice of beetroot and blend it with half a banana and a glass of milk & yogurt. This worked for me wonderfully
Besides the foodie tips, sharing some tips that helped my child fight the infection :
- If you usually feed your child every 3 to 3.30 hours, when your child is sick,feed them every 2 to 2.30 hours
- Make smaller portions and bites. The medicine taste is over bearing and all they want to do is throw up. Check for signs. Feed wait for few seconds and feed again. Requires hell lot of patience but it’s all worth it
- Do not force feed your baby. Food is important but it’s ok if they take only few bites and leave the rest. Try after another hour
- Keep your little one hydrated at all times
- Also make sure you clean your child’s mouth and tongue. Sickness leaves a foul taste in the mouth because of the bacteria. One of the other reason, kids don’t like eating. Just make sure your baby’s tongue and mouth are clean at all times.
- Lastly and most importantly, ditch white sugar all together for your child especially when sick. Sweeten your child’s food with shakar/jaggery which are rich in iron or honey. They will get enough natural sugar from fruits and other food.White sugar will only lower your child’s immune system or lead to obesity.