Food you can make even when it hurts to stir a spoon.
(If you want help in easing your discomfort, click here for my article on digestive first-aid. But if you are having serious pains, see your doctor immediately.)
One of the hardest parts of dealing with inflammation is eating when you feel extremely sick. I know that when I’m sick, depending on the type of illness, I don’t want to leave the couch or my heating pad…or the bathroom. And it makes “normal” illnesses like the flu feel ten times more excruciating. On those days, the last thing I want to do is eat.
Therefore, I’m adding tools for your digestive first aid kit – easy recipes that are tasty but kind to your digestive tract. They don’t require much work to complete, and they’re nutritious.
Some quick tips:
- Consider all of your ailments when you are choosing your meal. For example, when I’m sick my IBS acts up due to additional medication. So food that I can normally eat in small amounts become trigger-y when I’m sick. Be mindful of what your body can handle.
- Be sure to peel your fruits and vegetables to make them easier to digest.
- Don’t skip a meal because you’re afraid of throwing it up. If you cannot stomach solid food, peel and puree tame fruits and vegetables until it’s the consistency of baby food.
- Eat slowly.
The ingredients I’ll be using for these recipes are tame for the digestive tract (but if one of them is your trigger food, don’t eat it!). Most of the fruits are interchangeable, so if you don’t like one substitute with another. (NOTE: if you are dealing with a baby or young child who is sick consult your pediatrician first. NEVER give babies honey – it puts them in danger of botulism. Source)
Fruits (preferably peeled):
Vegetables (preferably peeled):
- Romaine Lettuce
- Sweet Potatoes
- Plain Broth
- Egg Whites (sparingly)
- Lentils (note: I wouldn’t suggest beans/legumes for anyone with intestinal issues when they’re sick)
- Don’t use dairy – a non-dairy yogurt or probiotics will be better to aid your intestines when you are super sick to cut back on phlem production (Source)
- Water, water, water, water, and, oh yes, water! Hydration is important.
- Good spices for a sore digestive tract: ginger, cinnamon, basil, turmeric
- If you have inflammation problems in your intestine, use caution when eating very fibrous foods like kale, spinach, etc. They’re important for your immune system, but they might be harder to digest when you’re fighting off an infection
- Avoid overly sugary sweets (to keep bad bacteria from flourishing [Source])
- Be cautious with acidic foods (citrus fruits, tomatoes, chocolate, etc. are hard on the esophagus if you have already vomited)
- Be cautious with spicy foods (they’re great for clearing your sinuses, but terrible on the esophagus if you have already vomited)
- 1 – 1/2 cup of rice milk (more if you like thinner smoothies)
- 1 cup non-dairy yogurt
- 1 TBS of cinnamon
- 1 – 1 1/2 cup frozen fruit of your choice
a) Pour all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.
- Bananas tend to thicken smoothies.
- If you don’t have frozen fruit use fresh fruit and add ice.
- For best results, place rice milk into the blender first.
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Warm Quinoa with Fruit
- 1/2 cup quinoa (any color)
- 1 banana
- 1/2 mango
- 1 tsp of honey (if you have a sore throat)
- 2 tsp of cinnamon
a) Cook quinoa in a rice cooker or in a pot on the stove.
b) Peel & cut the banana and mango into small pieces.
c) When quinoa is done, put into a bowl and mix with the fruit.
d) Add the honey and cinnamon and stir.
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Chicken Rice Bowl
- 1/2 cup rice
- 1 carrot
- 1 celery stalk
- 2 ounces cooked chicken meat
- 1/2 of an avocado
- 1/2 tsp of turmeric
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional Dressing: 1/4 tsp apple cider vinegar mixed with 1 tsp water
a) Cook rice in rice cooker or in a pot on the stove.
b) Peel & slice carrot, celery, and avocado.
c) Slice the chicken into thin pieces and add turmeric.
d) When rice is done, combine with vegetables and chicken meat.
e) Sprinkle dressing on top is desired. (Note: apple cider vinegar may be too harsh if your throat is hurting)
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- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 4 ounces mushrooms
- 2 carrots
- 2 celery stalks
- 1/2 avacado
- 2-4 tsps of broth (vegetable or chicken)
- salt, pepper, basil to taste
- Optional: 1 tsp of lime juice or to taste IF you can handle it
a) Cook quinoa in rice cooker or in a pot on the stove.
b) Wash your vegetables. Peel and cut carrot & celery stalk into small pieces. Slice mushrooms.
c) Cook carrot, celery, and mushrooms in a pan with the broth until all are tender. Add more broth or water if needed.
d) Add salt, pepper, and quinoa. Stir frequently until all of the broth is gone.
e) Chop basil and combine with lime juice. Add 1 tsp of water. Slice the avocado.
e) Place finished quinoa and vegetables on a plate or bowl. Top with the avocado and basil mixture.
Keep in mind that you can mix and match a lot of these recipes. Quinoa and rice can be substituted for one another, and you can make several different smoothies just by swapping out different fruits. Also, the carrot soup and chicken soup should last for several meals.
I didn’t include snacks in this menu since I personally don’t get hungry at all between meals when I’m super sick. I’d keep it simple for snacks, such as eating rice crackers or making a fruit salad using the tame fruits I have listed above this menu. And drink lots of water.
Good luck, feel better, and thanks for reading! And feel free to post any questions or comments down below.
- TL;DR: Easy meals to make when you’re under the weather, including suggestions for tame foods and some breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus.
- PS – Sorry this post is so late – I’ve been really sick this past week, so it took me a long time to finish this one post. (How relevant! 😀 ) I’ll add pictures to my own recipes later. Also, this will probably be the only post for the week. (Because given the choice, I’d rather publish one good post in a week than rush out two half-hearted ones.)
- PPS – I am not a medical professional.