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Chicken Stew and Other Meals Too: What to Cook When a Loved One is Sick

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Whether your friend needs to take a sick day or you are caring for loved one with the flu, be prepared beyond the medicine cabinet with these cleansing and healing recipes. In order to keep someone who is battling a cold hydrated, fill them up with broth-based soups, infused waters, and even spicy popsicles to clear their sinuses. If their stomach is the problem, follow the tried-and-true diet of bananas, rice, apples, and toast - except our recipes that use these ingredients have a little more flavor that your loved ones will appreciate it. Let them cozy up in bed with these soups, juice, and grain bowls to bring back their energy and health, one sip at a time.  

When a loved one comes home feeling under the weather, keep these recipes on hand to make them better in no time. Stick with these recipes to rehydrate, energize, and boost their nutrients in order to have them back to themselves. Whether they have a head cold, flu, or stomach bug, these comfort foods are the trick to a swift and steady recovery. 

Comforting Soups:

Try to stick with clear and broth-based soups for not only the warmth and comfort factor, but to provide hydration and nutrients from the stock. Soup is easy on a stomach ache and will soothe a sore throat. We've included a few of our favorite soups with an extra kick of spice to clear sinuses and head colds - just make sure to have a box of tissues on hand as well. Along with our broth-based soups, our carrot soup is extra comforting once your patient is ready for a more filling meal. 

Matzo Ball Soup

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Ginger Chicken, Shiitake, and Scallion Soup 

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Sweet and Spicy Carrot Soup

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Coconut-Lemongrass Chicken Bowls 

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Miso Soup with Tofu 

Photo: Oxmoor House

Miso Noodle Soup 

Photo: Iain Bagwell


Besides water and ice chips, make sure to keep your sick one hydrated no matter what kind of cold or flu they are battling. These recipes provide extra nutrients and are made with flavors like turmeric, ginger, citrus, chile, and lemongrass that will not only aid stomach aches, but help release sinus pressure and soothe sore throats. The sparkling water and ginger ale also help calm a sour stomach - just tell your patient to sip on it slowly if it's carbonated. If sipping on something seems like too much for them, let them slowly enjoy a popsicle to stay hydrated. 

Turmeric-Mango Smoothie 

Photo: Daniel Agee

Glowing Green Juice 

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Blood Orange and Ginger Soda 

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Apple + Ginger + Lemongrass Infused Water  

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Orange-Turmeric Pops 

Illustration: Christina Harrison

Grapefruit Peach Ginger Smoothie 

Photo: Sara Tane

The BRAT Diet:

Standing for bananas, rice, apples, and toast, the BRAT diet consists of ingredients that are easy to digest when someone is feeling sick and will make sure your loved one is not on an empty stomach - even if they insist they have no appetite. These recipes go beyond a sad piece of toast and plain rice to add extra nutrients, protein, and flavor to help anyone battling with their stomach feel better. If they have clear sinuses, try giving them some yogurt for extra probiotics, but skip this if they still have a stuffy nose and are sneezing.  

Brown Rice Bowl with Miso, Poached Egg, and Kale-Radish Slaw 

Photo: Jennifer Causey

Butternut and Ginger Congee 

Photo: Iain Bagwell

Banana-Cinnamon Waffles 

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Avocado Toast

Photo: Rachel Johnson

Spiralized Cinnamon Apples with Greek Yogurt 

Photo: Rachel Johnson