Foods (and Drinks) That Soothe Sick Kids
For a cold
When your child's nose is stuffed up, she's coughing, or her throat is so sore it hurts to swallow, push fluids. This will loosen phlegm and make it easier for your child to cough it up. "Offer your child water first, then ice pops and ginger ale. Diluted fruit juice is fine, too, in moderation," says Michele Peterson, M.D., a pediatrician with the HealthEast Woodbury Pediatric Clinic, in Woodbury, Minnesota.
For a sore throat, either warm or very cold liquids are soothing as well: warm tea, hot chocolate, ice pops, and cold juice. You may want to skip citrus juices, since they're acidic and can hurt some kids' throats. (If OJ doesn't bother your child, though, it's fine.)
To encourage her daughter Nora, 2, to drink when she has a cold, Joanna Carrell of Lee's Summit, Missouri, gives her a sippy cup with a soft, rubbery straw in it. "She only gets to use a straw when she's sick, so this cup is a treat," says Carrell. "I fill it with half juice and half water, and it's a great way to make sure she gets fluid when she's very congested and doesn't feel like drinking anything."
Chicken soup, of course, is the classic remedy for colds and sore throats. And it is something special. Research has shown that chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties, reducing the movement of neutrophils -- immune cells that stimulate the release of mucus. Both homemade and canned soup -- even just the broth -- are effective. If your child has an appetite, try adding some crumbled-up whole-wheat crackers or cooked macaroni.
Rosemary Black, food editor at the New York Daily News, is a mom of six.