I used to get sick a lot. Not twice a year, not at the change of each season, no — I’m talking a nasty cold that struck almost every other month, strep throat a truly ridiculous number of times, all of it. Thankfully my rate of illness took a nose-dive (hope I’m not jinxing myself.) Still, all those sick days taught me a life lesson: The right dish can be a soothing antidote.
When you’re sick, you can only stomach so much. Your taste buds are dulled, you’re tired, your nose is running and your throat is sore. And yet you must eat. You’ve already got your classic hot water with lemon and honey, but what else could you make to feel better? Here are some great sick-day meals and treats.
Aromatic Chicken Noodle Soup, above. This soup takes no time to prepare. Quickly saute garlic, ginger, chile and lemongrass to add to a broth, and your base is done. This soup is super adaptable, meaning you can tinker with whatever flavorings you love or have on hand.
Takeout-Style Hot-and-Sour Soup. A little heat and a powerfully mushroom-y broth can make you feel alive again — clearing your sinuses and perking up your taste buds. You can add pork, chicken or tofu to the soup for a belly-filling protein boost.
Ginger-Garlic Chicken With Green Beans. If your stomach is in queasy knots and you can’t handle strong flavors, try this simple ginger- and garlic-flavored chicken with rice. Need to keep it vegetarian? Tofu will work wonderfully here.
Millet, Amaranth and Toor Dal Kitchari With Kohlrabi. When I was a kid, I ate a lot of kitchari. I daresay too much. When your throat is sore and your energy levels (and spirits) are low, kitchari might be the key to getting your protein in the form of cooked-down lentils and grains, commonly rice. This version uses millet. Try other versions like our Brown Rice and Split Moong Kitchari With Cauliflower for a variation.
Creamy Greek Noodle Soup. A creamy soup without dairy? This noodle soup gets its creamy texture from whipped eggs and lemon. It will make you feel warm all the way to your fingertips.
Tahitian Honey Coughsicles. Straight from a nurse practitioner, these coughsicles can be a boon when it feels like you’ve swallowed iron wool. Honey, mint and lime — iced — soothe all those scratches. You can even toss one of these cubes in a mug of tea if it’s too hot to drink.
Tomato-Basil Peach Paletas. Back when I got my tonsils out, it was hard to even think about eating because of the pain. I was also incredibly bored. I wish I’d had these fun, flavorful tomato and peach paletas to distract me from that achy throat. Or a Strawberry-Lime Granita.
Avocado and Coconut Ice Cream. Here’s another cooling confection for sore throats that deserve a treat. Best part is, if you don’t have an ice cream maker (or don’t feel like using one), you can just chill the avocado coconut mixture into a soft mousse. Yum! Perfect for wisdom tooth recovery.
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