If a cold or flu bug hits, take care of yourself with these hydrating foods to eat when sick. Here’s a line-up of cool liquids, soothing soups, and soft foods that won’t be hard on your tender throat. Hopefully in no time at all, you’ll be back to your old self again.
Pro tip: These recipes are also handy to keep on hand after dental work!
Fall and winter bring so many festive things with them…
High school football games.
Snuggly nights getting warm by the fire.
They also bring that less-than-revelatory tradition – cold and flu season.
We do our best to avoid it, but sometimes it nabs you anyway.
Depending on your symptoms, you may want cold, refreshing smoothies. They’re handy, because they also work as breakfast or a snack.
Other times, warm, broth-y soups are appealing. They seem to take the sting out of a sore throat.
Finally, as sickness subsides and the appetite returns, it’s time for heartier fare like polenta, refried beans, and potatoes.
So if you should get hit by a bug, here are some soothing foods to eat when sick to get you through.
Just add blanket, comfortable pillow, good reading material, and a purring cat.
(By the way, this list of soft foods also works after dental work!)
Rooibos iced tea is made with freshly juiced peaches & loose red rooibos tea. Poured over ice, it’s a cool, refreshing drink that’s not overly sweet.
Carrot juice recipe with apple, cucumber & celery
This vegetable juice is made with a blend of carrot, apple, celery, romaine, and cucumber. It’s a hydrating and nutrient-dense drink that goes down easily.
Peanut butter and bananas were made for each other. This creamy smoothie is such a pleasure, it could almost be dessert.
This smoothie packs a wallop of cherry flavor. It can be made with or without dark leafy greens for an extra boost of nutrients.
Mango banana smoothie gives you a taste of the tropics. It includes the floral flavors of mango, ripe banana, and vanilla soy milk.
This velvety smoothie brings together everyone’s favorite duo – chocolate and peanut butter. You can eat it for breakfast, but it tastes like dessert.
This simple smoothie is made with just five ingredients. It includes blueberries, bananas, spinach, chia seeds, and cashew milk.
Warm soups for scratchy throats
This brothy soup is great on a scratchy throat. It’s packed with onions, garlic, kale, and carrots.
It’s extra easy to make, because it includes frozen potstickers. That means lunch or dinner is ready in no time.
For an extra kick of heat, add a spoonful of gochujang or squeeze of sriracha.
Udon noodle soup with miso tahini broth
Frozen udon noodles make this filling soup lightening fast to make. The base is a luxurious tahini miso broth. Then it’s packed with cubed tofu, spinach, onions, and garlic. Ready in just 15 minutes!
This brothy soup comes together in just 15 minutes. Perfect for when you don’t have the energy to stand over the stove. It’s full of good-for-you ingredients like onions, garlic, bok choy, and mushrooms.
For an extra punch of protein, add cubed tofu.
Nothing says cozy comfort like tomato soup. This full-bodied dish has a wonderful depth of flavor from the addition of sun-dried tomatoes.
Warming baked potato soup is velvety smooth. Then it’s piled high with seitan bacon, non-dairy cheese, and green onions. Go light or heavy on the toppings, as your appetite & throat allows.
Curry lentil soup makes great use of pantry staples. And a hit of spice from curry powder warms you up from the inside out. Ready in 25 to 30 minutes!
Split pea soup is a satiating meal in a single pot. It’s filled with carrots, onions, celery, garlic, and barley.
The warming flavors of creamy vegan mushroom soup are reminiscent of stroganoff without the noodles or vegan risotto without the babying.
With the fragrant addition of rosemary, thyme, garlic, and onions, this soup packs a wallop of homey deliciousness.
Creamy gnocchi soup with sausage & kale
Creamy gnocchi soup recipe is loaded with pillowy potato dumplings, savory vegan sausage, softened kale, and a luxurious cashew broth. It uses packaged gnocchi, which is really convenient & easy.
This African peanut stew recipe includes chickpeas for an extra dose of protein. Make a big pot of stew one day for easy meals throughout the week. The flavors only get better with time.
Soft foods for sore throats
Roll refried beans into a tortilla with guacamole for a soft & satiating burrito. Add jalapeño slices, non-dairy cheese, or hot sauce to increase the yum factor.
Kitchari is a lightly spiced Indian rice and lentil dish. Soft on the throat, but full of satiating protein.
At the holidays, I could happily make a meal of mashed potatoes. So when a scratchy throat has got you down, give into it and enjoy every spoonful.
This comforting potato salad is dotted with pickles, onions, and a pinch of paprika. Keep a batch in the refrigerator for something cool & filling.
Easy hummus recipe with pita
It’s easy to make your own hummus with just a few ingredients and the help of the food processor. Serve with pita for dipping, or roll it into a tortilla with some shredded vegetables for a tortilla pinwheels.
Air fryer eggplant dip (vegan baba ganoush) with pita
With the help of an air fryer, baba ganoush is on the table in no time. (I give standard oven directions as well!)
When you use fine grain polenta, this steamy dish is yours in just ten minutes. It’s seasoned with garlic and dotted with sun-dried tomatoes.
Best of luck on getting through cold and flu season unscathed! And if you do come down with something, remember to slow down, get some rest, and take care of yourself.
Content updated September 2020. Originally posted October 2018.