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Best meals and snacks for flu sufferer?

MickiYam Jan 4, 2014 11:29 PM

Seems like a timely topic, with the flu sweeping the nation -- and it's starting to make inroads on my household. *I'm* better, but now my baby (OK, my teenager -- but when she's sick, she's my baby) has got it, and my husband is about to get it.

We had chicken soup with lots of Napa cabbage and leeks last night. Tonight, we'll poach some eggs and more leeks in the leftover stock, and the healthier members of the family will have that with soba noodles.

I also made a mandarin orange "jelly" with lemon juice and agar agar (just because it's quicker to set up -- I have plain gelatin, too, and could make something tonight for tomorrow). That went down well with some crackers. Also, she ate half an apple with a little cinnamon sugar.

Thank goodness, it's not an intestinal flu, but what else would be comforting to a person with a sore throat, cough and fever?

(P.S. We'll be going to the doctor Monday morning unless the flu disappears -- I need yummy, soothing food advice.)

  1. g
    GH1618 Jan 11, 2014 11:08 PM

    If it's intestinal, it isn't influenza. If they really have the flu, they won't feel like eating anything until it's abating. Hydration is important, so just have water handy. In any case, you can't go wrong with chicken broth.

    1 Reply
    1. re: GH1618
      MickiYam Jan 12, 2014 04:38 AM

      Confirmed flu (type B), but strangely enough, we got hungry during the course of the illness. Made it much easier to get the soup down.

    2. eclecticsynergy Jan 5, 2014 08:35 PM

      On the subject of soups for the sick, don't forget miso soup. Wonderfully restorative, soothing to the tummy, and good for your system's electrolyte balance too. It is the traditional Japanese answer to a bad cold or a crummy day, much as chicken soup is in the West.

      4 Replies
      1. re: eclecticsynergy
        autumm Jan 5, 2014 08:47 PM

        I was a convert on Friday. The wind was blowing something crazy, when we went out for sushi for a "lunch date" (both of us had the day off yet kiddo still had prepaid day care) A bowl of miso soup at a chopsticks only place warmed us right up, cleared the sinuses, and we would have called it a meal after that. But the rest was good too.

        1. re: eclecticsynergy
          viperlush Jan 6, 2014 10:56 AM

          Yup, as I mentioned above the roommate has been eating bowls of miso soup since he got sick. I finally broke down and ordered some miso soup and sushi for lunch today. A sweet potatoe roll and a California, mainly for the pickled ginger and wasabi.

          1. re: eclecticsynergy
            redips Jan 6, 2014 11:01 AM

            Different type of sick, but Miso rules for a hangover. I can't stand the stuff, but will take it via IV if I have to after a night of cocktails.

            1. re: eclecticsynergy
              MickiYam Jan 12, 2014 04:35 AM

              It's funny, miso soup at our house is almost like water. It's so much a part of our lives that I don't even think about it. My in-laws make country-style miso soup with loads of veggies, and have it with breakfast, lunch and supper. I don't want to get tired of it, so I "save" it for special days . . . and then forget it's an option! I'd never heard of it for colds, but it certainly is nice on a sore throat. I'm going to have to remember it the next time we're down with a bug.

              (And maybe the three-miso-a-day habit is part of the reason my in-laws didn't get hit too badly with the flu -- that, and of course, they got their flu shots in December like I should have.)

              So many good ideas on this thread. Thank you, all!

            2. t
              Ttrockwood Jan 5, 2014 07:18 PM

              I make a super gingery carrot ginger soup and also a tomato ginger that are soothing for sore throats.

              Miso soup with tofu and noodles is very comforting and the probiotics of the miso are a plus. (Simmer, never boil miso)

              Savory oatmeal, baked potatoes, yogurt, and toasted english muffins all sound good when i'm under the weather

              1. s
                sandylc Jan 5, 2014 04:06 PM

                I would put ginger and garlic in that chicken soup.

                1. MickiYam Jan 5, 2014 03:53 PM

                  Thanks, all!

                  Oh, what I would give for a recipe of hot and sour soup like I remember it -- viscuous and a little vinegary with just a little kick of spice.

                  The mashed potatoes with an egg in them sound surprisingly good -- I might try baking a mound of potatoes with an egg nestled in them.

                  I certainly take note of the ginger recipes, and will add more ginger to my food. The kid isn't very fond of ginger at all, but I might be able to sneak it past her disabled taste buds . . . .

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: MickiYam
                    Tara57 Jan 6, 2014 02:40 PM

                    Simply inhaling some ginger-infused steam might be comforting.

                    1. re: MickiYam
                      Chemicalkinetics Jan 11, 2014 10:32 PM

                      How did the ginger soup/drink go? Did you made any?

                      This is a great season to make hot and sour soup. I was able to get some fresh winter bamboo shoot, and coagulated pork blood. Of course, I have all the other ingredients as well, so I made my hot and sour soup.

                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                        MickiYam Jan 12, 2014 04:31 AM

                        Mmm, sounds yummy!

                        The kid doesn't go for ginger soup, but I'm glad you mentioned the drink again -- I want to make up some chai base for tomorrow (I love it when the ginger steeps overnight, and then in the morning I just add tea, honey and cream).

                        Someone else recommended honey, lemon and ginger -- I had one lemon dangling off the tree, so I decided to use it for flu medicine. Unbelievably yummy . . . . I've been drinking that for the past few days. There's a Korean "tea" that uses a sort of yuzu marmalade, and the concoction reminded me of that. Mmmmm. I wish I had room in my windows for another lemon tree . . . .

                        Thanks for asking!

                    2. biondanonima Jan 5, 2014 01:00 PM

                      Hot and sour soup, all the way. There's something so soothing about the viscosity, and the spice cuts through all the phlegm so well. I like to stir in a couple of extra packets of hot sauce from the Chinese place. I also love brown rice with a little salt and a TON of butter (also available from the Chinese place).

                      1. viperlush Jan 5, 2014 11:16 AM

                        I've been eating instant mashed potatoes with an egg stirred in, jello, basic sandwiches ( turkey/ roasted chicken w/ mayo), and cucumbers. Oatmeal was attemptedbut i found it too gloopy. A lot if tea and water. Roommate has been eating miso soup and peanut butter.

                        1. p
                          pumpkinspice Jan 5, 2014 10:55 AM

                          Non cream soup for me (carrot, butternut squash, minestrone, chicken noodle are some of my favourites!). Sometimes a steaming hot cup of broth works wonders as well. I just sit my nose right over it.

                          I also boil fresh ginger and sip that. Add some honey if it is too strong for you.

                          Honey lemon tea is also a must for us!

                          1. tcamp Jan 5, 2014 09:37 AM

                            Soft tofu soup with spicy Kimchi. Hot tea with ginger. Poached or very soft boiled eggs with a piece of well-buttered toast.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: tcamp
                              d_doubleyew Jan 5, 2014 11:19 AM

                              second hot tea with ginger.

                            2. t
                              Tara57 Jan 5, 2014 09:26 AM

                              Soup is so soothing when you are sick. A big mug of chicken broth or tomato soup to sip is very comforting. Dry toast, saltine crackers, lots of fluids.

                              1. sunshine842 Jan 5, 2014 06:41 AM

                                we pretty much run with whatever they feel like eating -- typically soups and teas and tisanes, but sometimes mashed potatoes or pasta with butter....comfort food.

                                The only restriction is milk-based foods, as it tends to aggravate the congestion.

                                1. f
                                  foodieX2 Jan 5, 2014 06:11 AM

                                  Fluids are key, in any form. I start keeping a jar of this stuff in my freezer in Dec. Its great spooned into hot water for tea and soothes the throat.


                                  The other thing my family likes when we get bad colds/flu is a spicy asian broth. We either sip the broth straight out of mugs or I make a kind of Pho with lots of ginger, scallion, chicken and noodles.

                                  1. Becca Porter Jan 5, 2014 06:02 AM

                                    Elderberries? Seriously there's nothing better than elderberry elixer-1 teaspoon every 3 hours.

                                    1. Chemicalkinetics Jan 5, 2014 01:24 AM

                                      Excellent, you have chicken soup and jelly already. I think those are some of the best foods for cold and flu. Tasty, nutritious, easy to absorb. Soba is very tasty, but isn't it more suitable for hot weather summer than cold winter?

                                      For sore throat and cough, I like to use some herbal drinks, but I don' think you have them. Nevertheless, warmer drinks are more soothing for the throat. Try a warm glass of honey mixed drink or a warm glass of Brovil. Oh yes, by the way, I find a ginger brown cane sugar drink/soup to be very comfortable for throat.

                                      Try it:

                                      Basically, just water, ginger and sugar. Add more ginger to be more potent. Add more sugar or subtract ginger if it is too strong.

                                      Oh yes, if they start to get tired of chicken soup. Then try to mix it up. Try pork or beef soup.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                        Chemicalkinetics Jan 5, 2014 11:51 AM

                                        In addition, CHOW has this list of soups.


                                      2. i_am_Lois Jan 5, 2014 01:01 AM

                                        Flu or cold, I suppose that I find it important to stress fluids. Soups are good, especially chicken as you mentioned. For sore throat, fruit flavored ice pops, jello. I think when you're ill, your taste buds are off a bit. Food just doesn't taste like it should. After the first mouthful of a savory dish, you want no more. Foods that are less assertive can be managed better. Chicken, eggs, fish etc. I hope your family has a speedy recovery.

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