When the cold, flu, and tons of tummy viruses start to pop up this time of year, eating can be a challenge, which makes certain dinner ideas for when you’re sick such little lifesavers. I have a mental “go to” list of foods I like to eat when I just don’t feel like doing anything but laying on the couch or in the bed nursing myself back to normal. You can’t just eat junk out of the cabinet when you’re sick either. That usually makes things worse. Been there, done that, and take my word for it that no matter how simple that box of cereal or tub of ice cream looks, trust me, you won’t feel any better if that’s all you eat. Instead of eating junk, eat some of my other favorite easy, yet much more healthy, dinner ideas for when you’re sick. In the meantime, rest, drink a lot of herbal tea, and be patient with your body.
1. Veggie Broth Soup
My ultimate favorite choice of all dinner ideas for when you’re sick is a delicious veggie broth soup. It’s comprised of easy to digest root veggies and veggie broth. I like to buy unsalted broth varieties to keep in my pantry at all times, so that when a virus or cold hits, I have it on hand. Sure, I like homemade better, and it’s healthier, but who wants to cook homemade broth when you’re sick? I like Kitchen Essentials brand Unsalted Vegetable Broth. It’s gluten-free, vegan, has no MSG, no soy, dairy or anything else you would find in conventional soups. It’s also so healing and nourishing. For the veggies, I like to keep roasted veggies in my fridge most of the time anyway. I usually roast big batches of sweet potatoes, onions, squash, beets and carrots for the week, and they develop a delicious caramelized taste as they cool. Then you can just toss them right into the broth, heat, and add a can of fire roasted tomatoes, and you’re good to go! I also have a few favorite soups I like to keep stocked in the freezer known as Frugal Fall Harvest Soup, and Magical Healing Soup.
2. An Omelette
Unless you’re sick to your stomach, eggs are a great food to eat when you’re sick. Plus, if you can get yourself up off the couch for a few minutes, an omelette only takes a few minutes to make, and contains amino acids and protein, B vitamins, iron, Vitamins A and D. One specific amino acid it contains is tryptophan, which will help you relax and rest. I suggest buying organic or pastured eggs if you can though, to avoid pesticides, hormones and fertilizers that might not be so good for you. Prepare an omelette with 2 egg whites and 1 egg, toss in some no- salt- added canned tomatoes ( such as Muir Glen organic brand), and perhaps add some asparagus or spinach. This is a very satisfying, warming meal that can aid in healing and repair. Plus, it’s really tasty! I like mine topped with fresh black pepper and Italian spices.
3. Yogurt Smoothie
If your tummy is really upset, you might not feel like eating much, and that’s okay. If you tolerate dairy, I suggest buying some organic Greek yogurt to keep on hand for times of sickness. I like Stonyfield 0% plain Greek yogurt, or Fage 0% Greek yogurt. Both have no added sugars of any kind or hormones added. Make a smoothie with your yogurt, which can restore probiotics to your system and assist with helping you feel better fast. Probiotics nourish the gut and aid the immune system and yogurt provides Vitamin B12, B6, plus magnesium, calcium, and potassium. All of these nutrients are very healing. To make a smoothie, put your yogurt, a few berries, some stevia or honey, 1 tbsp. cocoa unsweetened, and maybe a banana or some spinach in it too. Add a touch of cinnamon, ice and just about ½ cup of almond milk and blend for a few minutes. In no time, you have a healing smoothie that’s just fine for dinner on nights when regular whole food just won’t cut it!
4. Fish Stew
If you like fish, that’s great! Since I don't eat chicken, I don't do chicken soup, so I like to make fish stew! Fish is actually incredibly healing to the gut and stomach, along with helping ward off colds due to its reaction with the immune system. Fish is rich in easy to digest protein that heals the body, iron, Vitamin B12, magnesium, and L-glutamine. L-glutamine is an essential amino acid that heals the body, especially the gut, and it fights off illness. I like to make a fish soup that has just fish, organic fire roasted tomatoes (organic, no salt added), and any other veggies you like that are quick and easy, such as celery or carrots. You can make it with water or broth, and it’s very soothing to have at dinner.
5. Baked Sweet Potato and Yogurt
This idea is super simple, and one of my favorites. Just bake a whole sweet potato in the oven, serve it with some Greek yogurt on top and maybe some cinnamon and ginger for a sweet taste, or some salsa for a spicy taste. This gives you carbs, protein, and antioxidants, all in a few bites.
6. Applesauce and Oats
Both applesauce and oats are very easy to digest, unless you don’t tolerate grains. You can opt for quinoa if you don’t tolerate oats. Adding applesauce to your oats is a nice way to sweeten it, and both foods actually help the digestive system excrete wastes that can build up when you’re sick. Add cinnamon, ginger and perhaps some stevia or honey to sweeten. You’ll sleep like a baby and be satisfied too.
7. Green Smoothie
Last, but not least, when you don’t feel like eating anything, just have a green smoothie! Nutrients, fiber, and tons of healing properties are all found in this easy dinner idea. Plus, it’s an excuse to have a fun milkshake-like drink for dinner!
Being sick is no fun, but you need to be sure you eat something healthy, nourishing and healing, so you can get back to feeling better fast. Do you have a go to dinner recipe you like to make when you’re sick?