Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

10 Foods to Eat When You Have the Flu

Popsicles

An icy popsicle can soothe a sore, prickly, swollen, or dry throat. It can also help keep you hydrated, which is key when battling the flu. Getting enough fluids can keep mucus thin and help lessen congestion. Look for popsicles made from 100% fruit juice to make sure you're getting vital nutrients and not sugar water. Some flavors to try: apple, grape, or strawberry.

Turkey Sandwich

Turkey is a good, lean protein, essential to solid nutrition. And although you may not feel like it, eating can help give your body energy to fight illness. Try adding cranberry sauce for a spike of flavor and comfort-food taste.

Vegetable Juice

Making and eating a salad is probably one of the last things you'll feel up to while recovering from the flu. Down a glass of low-sodium vegetable juice instead. You'll load up on immune-boosting antioxidants and keep yourself hydrated. Craving a sweet taste? Go with 100% fruit juice.

Chicken Soup

Nourishing and hydrating, there's also some scientific evidence that chicken soup may help with healing and have mild anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have found that hot chicken soup can improve the ability of cilia, the tiny hair-like parts of the nasal passages, to protect the body from bacteria and viruses.

Garlic

If you feel up to it, garlic can be a good choice to spice up foods like soup. It appears to have antimicrobial and immune-stimulating properties and may give you slight relief from congestion.

Ginger

Stomachache? Nausea? Ginger is a home remedy often used to soothe these symptoms. Some studies suggest it may help fight inflammation. Try adding it freshly grated or in powdered form to other foods, or drinking flat ginger ale.

Hot Tea

Green, oolong, and black tea offer disease-fighting antioxidants. And breathing in the steam can help relieve congestion. Add a spoonful of honey and a squeeze of lemon to help soothe a sore throat. If caffeine bothers you, opt for decaf or herbal versions.

Banana

Sliced, mashed, or whole, bananas are easy on the stomach. They can be a go-to food if you've been hit with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, which often occur in kids with the flu. Bananas, along with rice, applesauce, and toast, make up the BRAT diet -- often the first foods doctors encourage people to try when they’re recovering from stomach flu and ready for solid foods.

Toast

Although it brings up the rear of the BRAT diet, toast is nothing to ignore. If you can manage food, try toast or crackers. They can be convenient foods when you're fighting illness. Plus, they pair well with chicken noodle soup and their satisfying crunch can take the edge off hunger when your stomach can't handle much.

Meal Replacement Drinks

If your appetite has returned, try one of these to make sure you're getting proper nutrients and calories. Look for lactose-free drinks with at least 6 grams of protein and that are low in sugar. Flavors like strawberry and chocolate may make getting essential vitamins, nutrients, and calories more attractive.

Treating Flu Symptoms at Home

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on October 27, 2011

Sources: Sources

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information: Disclaimer

© 2011 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Additional Resources

Flu Fact

You cannot get the flu from a flu vaccine. Flu shots use a killed virus, taking away its ability to infect you. And the virus used in nasal vaccines has been modified to make it impossible for it to cause the flu.

Women's Health Newsletter

Find out what women really need.

Flu Symptom Poll

Which home remedy makes you feel better?

View Results