When a cold or the flu knocks, your first instinct probably isn’t to reach for (or prepare!) a full meal. And that’s okay! For most people, appetite tends to wane when fighting illness. However, it’s important to fuel the body with fluids and nutritious foods to speed healing, give the immune system a reboot, and get back on your feet fast. Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with these sick day essentials so you’re prepared to fight the next time a nasty bug gets you down.

Water bottle/large cup to refill throughout the day

The importance of staying hydrated when you’re sick cannot be overstated. Hydration will help keep bodily fluids (mucus, digestive tract) moving and replenish fluids lost from fever, vomiting or diarrhea.

Coconut water

Extra hydrating because it also helps replenish electrolytes. Enjoy it plain, or add it to a fresh fruit smoothie, as a chilled drink may also reduce pain from a sore throat. Bonus points for vitamin C-rich fruits like citrus, strawberries, and pineapple, that can help shorten a cold’s duration.

Hot tea

Warm beverages feel good on sore throat and help loosen mucus/congestion. Try ginger or peppermint tea for nausea, calming chamomile, which will help you rest, or turmeric tea, which is packed with anti-inflammatory and immune boosting nutrients. Add a dash of honey – it’s antimicrobial properties can help you kick a sore throat. Do be sure to choose caffeine-free teas, as caffeine is a diuretic and could contribute to dehydration.

Kefir or Greek yogurt

Probiotics can help replenish “good” gut bacteria, especially important if taking antibiotics. Look for “live, active cultures” on the label. You may also want to choose drinkable yogurt, which is especially easy to swallow with a sore throat.


Easy to chew and swallow and a great source of calories that provides carbs and fiber. Bananas are easy to digest, which is especially important if you have an upset stomach too.


It’s important to speed healing. Try something soft and easy to digest like scrambled eggs or Greek yogurt, rather than heavy meat sources


Look for low sodium, broth-based options. Try to choose soup with lots of vegetables for extra healing nutrients. Personally, when I’m sick I love to eat Asian noodle soups with lots of hot sauce to help clear my sinuses.

Fruit popsicles

It’s easy to digest and the cold will help soothe sore throat. Look (or make) for popsicles that are 100% fruit, which will give you a dose of immune-boosting vitamin C too. Check out this recipe for orange, carrot ginger popsicles recipe from Luvo.

Did anything in this post surprise you? Share your questions and best practices in the comments section below!

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