Worried parents ask, “What’s the best food to feed a child with fever?”
There’s nothing quite as distressing for parents to see their little ones fall ill and run a high fever. The lack of energy, burning-hot skin and feverish eyes all combine to make this a worrying time for parents.
Adding to the misery is when a sick child refuses to eat making parents wonder what food to feed to reduce fever in their child. Your child isn’t the most cooperative during this period and that leaves you with limited options.
So, what is the best food to reduce fever in a child? Here’s a detailed look at the same. And while we’re at it, we also tell you about which foods to avoid that will aggravate the fever.
What to feed a child with fever is a concern many parents might have.
Why Your Child Loses His Appetite When He Has Fever
Parents need to understand that fever is not an illness. It is merely the symptom of an illness, and in fact, a sign that your child’s immune system is working just fine.
A person’s normal temperature is around 37 degrees C (98.6 F). A fever is anything above this.
Bacteria and viruses usually cause infections. Many of these thrive when your body is at its normal temperature. When your child gets a fever, it means his body is trying to kill these illness-causing microorganisms. Your child’s immune system is also activated in the process.
Having identified that fever is not an illness in itself, a child with fever will feel uncomfortable, especially if there are other symptoms like a sore throat and runny nose. It’s also important to not let a fever go too high, as this may set off febrile fits in some kids.
Additionally, it’s quite likely that your little one’s appetite will take a hit. While this is normal, many parents worry about what is the best food to reduce fever in a child.
While keeping in mind that it’s fine for your feverish child to eat their regular meals, if your little one is fussy, then the following foods can both nourish and help them recover faster.*
There’s nothing like a warm bowl of chicken and vegetable soup to soothe and nourish a sick child.
Foods To Reduce Fever In Child: 6 Soothing & Healing Foods
Wondering what food to give a child with fever? Check out which ones make it to our list of fever-reducing foods:
One of, if not the best food for a sick baby is actually your liquid gold.
If your child is still breastfeeding, let them nurse more frequently when sick. Your breasts can actually sense when your baby is fighting an infection (via the baby’s saliva). The composition of your breastmilk will then change to include more antibodies to help fight that infection and bring down the fever.
Also, the act of nursing will bring comfort to your little one, bringing more comfort.
2. Chicken soup
If your child has started solids, then chicken soup with added veggies is an ideal food to feed your child with fever. It contains a good balance of vitamins, minerals and protein which your child’s body needs in larger quantities when sick. This makes it one of the best foods to reduce fever in a child.
Chicken soup will also provide your little one with much-needed fluids and electrolytes. Again, good to help him battle that infection and bring down the fever. If your baby has a fever because of a cold or the flu, then the steam from the soup will help clear congestion.
At the same time, chicken contains an amino acid called cysteine. This has anti-viral and antioxidant properties that will also help manage the fever.
3. Frozen fruit or breastmilk pops
If you’re wondering what to feed a child with fever, try these little frozen treats. Blitz up fresh fruit, pour into popsicle moulds and freeze or do the same with breastmilk. Both of these foods pack antioxidants and other nutrients that help your child fight infections better.
Can You Eat Cold Food When You Have a Fever?
The misconception is that you shouldn’t have ice cream, popsicles or cold food when you’re sick, especially when you have a fever. But unless your doctor tells you to avoid these, eating cold food when you have a fever can actually be therapeutic. In fact, it can even help you rehydrate.
The coldness will help cool down your little one’s body temperature. Moreover, they’re a yummy food choice to reduce fever in your child.
However, if your child has a sore throat or is feeling chilly already with a fever, you may want to pass on the ice cream and popsicles first.
4. Coconut water
Coconut water is traditionally believed to have cooling properties in Asian culture. And when your child has a fever, you want to do your best to lower their body temperature.
Coconut water is also an excellent natural source of electrolytes in case your child’s fever is caused by a tummy bug. Also, its mildly sweet taste should go down well even with fussy eaters, who will likely get even fussier when ill.
Pure organic honey comes with antimicrobial compounds. There is also scientific evidence that shows honey may stimulate the immune system. Research also shows that honey can be more effective than cough medicines at soothing coughs in children. This makes it especially good food to reduce fever in your child if their fever is triggered by a throat infection.
Safety warning: NEVER feed honey to children under the age of one, due to the risk of infant botulism.
There’s something just so comforting about a steaming, creamy bowl of oatmeal. But this aside, oatmeal is a natural source of vitamin E, which boosts the immune system. Additionally, it contains polyphenol antioxidants and beta-glucan fibre which also help the immune system, making it a great food option to reduce fever in your child.
Avoid processed, instant oats and choose whole oats for the best results.
Image Source: Pexels
What to Feed a Child With Fever and Vomiting
Whether it’s stomach flu or a different kind of infection, it can be very challenging to feed a child who is running a fever and can’t keep the food down. But to avoid the risk of dehydration, you can try to feed a child even just in small amounts.
Try to give your child clear liquids even in small sips to prevent getting dehydrated. Plain, dry and bland foods like crackers (not the overly crunchy kind) can also help ease symptoms of nausea. Steer clear of flavourful foods and fuzzy drinks until the child can tolerate them without throwing up.
10 Immunity-boosting Foods To Help Your Child Fight Influenza And Fever
6 Natural Methods to Treat Your Child’s Fever When Medicine Isn’t an Option
How To Treat Baby’s Fever: The Do’s and Dont’s All Parents Must Know
What Food You Should Avoid In Order To Reduce Fever In Child
Parents, it’s best to avoid the following types of food in order to reduce fever in your child:
- Caffeinated beverages: While your child may not drink tea or coffee, fizzy drinks and sodas contain caffeine. These can make your little one dehydrated if consumed. Also, they contain way too much sugar.
- Hard or jagged foods. Avoid consuming crunchy crackers, chips, and other rough foods if a throat infection caused the fever. These can irritate the child’s throat which makes it a bad choice for food to reduce fever in your child.
- Processed foods. Low in nutrients, high in saturated fats and sugars, junk food will do nothing to help your child’s immune system battle the infection that is causing the fever. Avoid them completely.
*Please note that you should feed a baby solids only after six months of age (i.e., the food listed here, except for honey which you can give only after a year).
If your child gets sick with an accompanying fever before this age, continue to breastfeed or offer pure breastmilk pops. As always, you should consult a paediatrician for medical advice regarding food that is safe to consume to reduce fever in a child.
Image Source: iStock
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.