When your child is down with a fever, it can be worrisome for parents. However, offering proper nutrition can play a pivotal role in their recovery.
Fever is the body's natural response to infections, acting as an immune defence. However, with a higher metabolic rate during a fever, it's crucial to keep children nourished.
Here's a guide to the best foods you can give your babies, toddlers, and kids during a fever to support their immune systems and speed up recovery.
Briefly discuss how a child's nutritional needs change when they have a fever. Emphasize the importance of hydration and easily digestible foods.
1. Foods for Babies (6-12 months):
a) Breast milk or Formula:
- Why it's beneficial: Breast milk offers antibodies and essential nutrients. Formula-fed babies should continue with their regular formula.
- Recipe/Feeding tip: Ensure the baby is fed in smaller quantities but more frequently.
b) Rice porridge:
- Why it's beneficial: Easily digestible and offers energy.
- Recipe/Feeding tip: Keep the consistency runny and avoid adding spices.
c) Fruits purees (like apple or pear):
- Why it's beneficial: It is gentle on the stomach and provides necessary vitamins.
- Recipe/Feeding tip: Steam the fruits before mashing them to a smooth consistency.
You can offer this barley water to your baby as an energy booster when they are sick down with an illness. Barley water works well for treating fever and diarrhoea in babies and kids. It is applied to adults as well.
2. Foods for Toddlers (1-3 years):
a) Khichdi (rice and lentil mix)
- Mild, nourishing, and easy to digest.
- Why it's beneficial: Easy to digest and rich in potassium, which can help maintain electrolyte balance.
- Recipe/Feeding tip: Mash it up or offer it as finger food slices.
c) Chicken Soup:
- Why it's beneficial: Hydrating and providing essential proteins.
- Recipe/Feeding tip: Keep it light, and avoid spicy additions.
d) Plain toast or crackers:
- Why it's beneficial: It provides energy without being too heavy on the stomach.
- Recipe/Feeding tip: Serve with a small amount of honey or a light spread.
3. Foods for Kids (3 years and above):
- Why it's beneficial: It is packed with nutrients and energy and is easy to digest.
- Recipe/Feeding tip: Add some fruits for flavour, but avoid sugar.
- Why it's beneficial: Probiotics support gut health and digestion.
- Recipe/Feeding tip: Opt for plain yoghurt or those with less sugar.
c) Vegetable soups:
- Why it's beneficial: Nutrient-dense, hydrating, and can boost immunity.
- Recipe/Feeding tip: Use mild vegetables like carrots, zucchini, and spinach.
General Tips and Precautions:
- Always consult with a paediatrician about any dietary changes during illness.
- Keep the child hydrated with frequent sips of water or rehydration solutions.
- Avoid spicy, fried, and sugary foods, as they can aggravate symptoms.
- Monitor any signs of food allergies or intolerances, especially when introducing new foods.
While seeing your child unwell is challenging, providing them with the proper nutrition can aid their recovery. Always always offer foods in a calm environment and prioritize those gentle on their tummy.