Healthy ways to fight the flu


For years when my kids have the flu, I’ve treated it with a few hours of rest for the tummy, then a bit of Sprite.  If that stays down, we then we try some dry toast, maybe with a little more Sprite.  If the bug seems long-lived, we’ve occasionally bought Gatorade to help restore the electrolyte balance.  Thankfully kids usually heal quickly.

But with my increased interest in healthy food, I’ve become more and more uncomfortable giving sick kids drinks laden with sugar and food coloring.  (Did you know that sugar suppresses immune function in your body?) Recently I did a little online research and discovered some healthier options to try when kids are not feeling their best. (Please use good judgement and consult with your doctor regarding any illness that lasts longer than a day or two, especially in a child younger than age 2.)


Homemade pedialyte is incredibly easy to make.


Homemade Pedialyte

Mix together:

  • 1 quart water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Coconut water  is another easy alternative to pedialyte.  It naturally contains all sorts of good electrolytes.



Don’t forget the power of the BRAT diet to help settle tummies plagued with diarrhea.


R- Rice

A- Applesauce

T- Toast

For added power, season the applesauce with cinnamon– cinnamon fights all sorts of bacteria, including e. coli.  And spread the toast with a little coconut oil, because coconut oil also has antibiotic effects.


Here’s a smoothie that combines most of the above ingredients into a tummy-soothing treat.

Tummy-Healthy Smoothies


  • 3/4 cup of rice milk 
  • 1/2 frozen banana
  • 1/2 tsp of cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp of raw, local honey
  • 1/2 tsp of coconut oil 

Combine everything except the coconut oil in a blender.  Then melt the coconut oil and add to the mixture slowly while blending.


Also be sure to read this great article by Healthy Jasmine.  That’s where I got several of these ideas.  Do you have other healthy ideas for dealing with kiddos who have to flu?  I’d love to hear about them. 

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  1. My go-to drink is kombucha for the flu, colds, or any stomach upset. It is full of probiotics. You can either brew your own or purchase. Lots of herbal teas and we really try to avoid sugars, especially when sick!

  2. Good old chicken soup and ‘up’ the garlic intake seems to work for us. Not a fan of sprite but will get carbonated water just for fun during illness.
    Coconut oil works great for so many things, among them as an ointment on rough skin, in your hair, and rubbed on nails–also fantastic as a butter on toast. So coconut oil as a butter on toast for an upset tummy might be a good combination for a great reason.

  3. We usually use Recharge, which is an all-natural (no artificial flavors or colors) sport drink that you can find at the health food store (we get it in the natural foods section of Fred Meyer). The red kind is the yummiest.

  4. If you also add some ginger it is a natural tummy relaxer. You can steep some ginger slices in hot water and strain it out.

  5. We go with black tea to relax stomach lining. Ginger tea does the same, with honey, but if the vomiting is really close together I wait on the ginger tea because it’s pretty strong and little stomachs react against it sometimes, and it burns coming back up.

    I buy EmergenC for dehydration and replacing electrolytes. Much better than Gatorade, and tastes better too. When they were little we called it bubble juice.

    My drink of choice when I’m sick is Reed’s extra ginger ginger ale. It’s all natural, has real ginger, and takes away that gross throat feeling/taste after losing the contents of my stomach.

    My mom swore by baking soda baths for fevers, and it does usually make them feel more comfortable. Fevers have that way of making you feel cold all over and shivering even though your body is hot. A hot bath can save your body the work the fever is trying to do, by raising your body temperature and boosting your metabolism enough to kill off whatever is causing the fever. Often a hot bath is what helps the fever break in my experience Plus, when they are little and throwing up all over themselves they may as well stay in a warm bath for a while and save you a few rounds of clothing to wash.

    • Such a good idea regarding warm baths– makes so much sense. And I would not have thought to try EmergenC for the flu. We do use it around here for colds.


  6. My almost 2 year old is fed into her tummy through a tube and has gastro issues as well as other health challenges and I find coconut water excellent to keep her hydrated on the all too frequent occasions we need to worry about it. My other kids don’t really like the coconut water but most of them enjoy warm water water with a dash of apple cider vinegar and a big dob of honey (I have a 20kg bucket of it , my Dad is a bee keeper!). I sometimes add lemon juice too. It seems to reduce the length of illnesses.

  7. I also use coconut water to rehydrate my kids when they’re sick. If they don’t like it straight, I found small kids “juice” boxes of coconut water that”s mixed with a little fruit juice. They are natural and don’t have added sugar. I think they are Hansen’s brand and even have Clifford on them, which appeals to little kids!

  8. Thankfully, my kids are not prone to stomach sickness. Fever and sinus issues, yes. I grew up on the sprite, and my husband on ginger ale. But I feel the same way about drinking lots of HFCS when sick. Just doesn’t seem smart. We drink tea (ginger, ecchinacea, chamomile) with a little honey. My mom always made us cinnamon toast at such times, because it’s easy to digest, tastes good, and isn’t too bad revisited. And real chicken soup. I think using a piece of bone-in chicken is the best, since you get the benefits of bone broth. I add a handful of brown rice, a single sliced carrot, diced onion, and lots of garlic to my chicken soup.