Being sick is terrible, but a sick day can be made so much better by having comforting foods at the ready.
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The moment I realize that someone in my home is sick, I begin going through this list and making sure I have all of the ingredients I need. I’ll post my full shopping list on the bottom. I’m a big fan of same day services like Amazon prime for these unexpected moments.
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Golden oatmeal contains turmeric, a natural anti-inflammatory. This recipe also contains cinnamon, which has been used as an antibiotic since the time of the bubonic plague. Lastly, it’s sweetened with honey. Honey has known antibacterial and antifungal properties that protect it from spoiling in nature. Have you ever wondered how something with so much sugar in it doesn’t mold? Nature is awesome.
Ginger is yet another of nature’s antibiotics. Carbonated drinks can also help settle sour stomachs. For a stomach bug, once liquids can be tolerated, I find that ginger ale over ice can do wonders for the person. It also boosts blood sugar, which may be low after being ill for some time. Look for brands that use real ginger to enjoy the antibiotic benefits. I favor Reed’s which is made from real pressed ginger and also contains honey.
Stovetop Chai for One is a warm, comforting drink with spices like cloves and cinnamon and sweetened with honey. I find this drink especially nice when I have a sore throat. The warm honey soothes while the spices get to work on the infection.
Sometimes it’s hard to even think of food when you are sick. Our bodies still need it though. A few saltines, easy on the stomach, can curb weakness and hunger in illness. My kids love these and it’s the first thing they ask for when they are sick. I recommend a classic saltine with natural ingredients, like Back to Nature.
Matzo Ball Soup
Matzo Ball Soup, coined “Jewish Penicillin” is the epitome of sick day food. Fresh garlic, skinless chicken thighs and golden turmeric pack a healthy punch in this recipe.
Are you the one sick? Nothing is harder than taking care of kids, a household and yourself when you are not at full strength. Here's some tips for how to get through it.
Plan in advance
Make a batch of Matzo Ball Soup. Now.
Seriously, though. Here's how to get it done. Keep the Matzo Balls separate from the soup. Once they cool, bag them in freezer safe plastic and store for up to 3 months. Allow the soup to cool without a lid so some of the liquid evaporates. For health and safety, as soon as the soup feels “warm” and no longer hot, store tightly and freeze. On the sick day, the soup can be defrosted with a cup of water on the stovetop. Add the Matzo balls and heat through.
Take Opportunities for Yourself
Take what opportunities you can to nap or rest. Prioritize yourself and your children only. That means ignoring anything non-essential. Do you need food? Try to order it in or ask a friend or family member to shop for you. House dirty? Ignore it. Make sure someone washes dishes, throws away any food wrappers, cleans up food messes and changes the garbage. Anything else can wait a few days. Wear your most comfortable clothes, shower with the door locked for some quiet and plow through your Netflix list. Whatever it takes to fill up your cup both physically and mentally.
Work Smart, not Hard
A simple scrambled egg provides a lot of nutrition for very little effort. Kids can have scrambled eggs and toast for dinner. Kids can also have cereal for dinner. I promise, they will survive. In my shopping list below, you will see a coloring book and crayons. When I am sick, my children want to be on top of me more than ever. It’s terrible irony, but I think they just worry. So, I will invite them to watch a show with me. I nap and they watch Bubble Guppies. Or I offer to sit and color with them. I keep a secret “special” coloring book and set of crayons. Since it only comes out rarely, it’s a special treat for them. We can all color together without expending much energy. If that doesn’t work for your kids, think of any calm activity that will put them at ease, allow them to be with you but also allow you to rest. Melissa and Doug Water Wow books are great mess-free distractors. Try reading a story, like my book “I Can Take Care of my Body.” Or even doing a simple puzzle together can satisfy their fears and keep everyone at peace.
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As promised, here is my complete sick day shopping list. This includes everything to make all of the recipes above as well as a few other essentials. Many of these things I keep stocked, but I’ll buy any that I might be missing. If I’m the one sick, I will buy the vegetables pre-diced. No one wants to stand up chopping vegetables with a fever. Also that sounds really dangerous.
- Kosher Salt
- Rolled Oats
- Ground Turmeric
- Ground Cinnamon
- Black Tea bags
- Cinnamon sticks
- Star Anise (whole)
- Black Peppercorns (whole)
- Ground Ginger
- Cardamom (whole)
- Reddi Wip
- Chinese 5 Spice powder
- Avocado Oil
- Matzo Meal
- Peeled Garlic Cloves
- Skinless Chicken Thighs
- Ground Sage
- Ground Basil
- Chicken Stock
- Bay Leaves
- Ginger Ale
- Nasal Rinse
- Coloring Book and Crayons (or other quiet activity)