Parents are often at a loss with what to feed sick toddlers. These little ones usually have little appetite, especially when they have a bellyache, a fever, or a sore throat. These symptoms are not only hard on the toddler, but on you too. As a parent, there must be something more that you can do other than following the doctor's orders to make your child feel better.

Things to Remember When Feeding a Sick Toddler

Losing one's appetite when feeling sick is quite common, and it is not necessarily bad for the child. Sometimes, the stomach just needs a little rest to recover from a flu bug or something else. But how does a parent ensure that their toddler does not miss out on nutrients and calories while he/she is sick?

1. Keep Toddler Hydrated

It is important to remember that drinking plenty of fluids when a child is ill will help prevent dehydration, especially if she has fever, vomiting or diarrhea. The body also needs water to fight infection. So if your toddler refuses to eat but is able to drink, just let their bodies continue fighting the infection and heal itself.

2. Slowly Introduce Solids

When your child feels a little bit better, slowly introduce solid food back into her diet. Offer her light and bland foods such as crackers and soup which she can take. It's okay if she only wants one type of food. It is important to let her begin to eat to get some energy during recovery.

3. Follow Kid’s Pace

It is useless to force a sick child to eat. Although their eating patterns are more erratic at this time, they will eventually go back to their usual eating habits when they feel better. And if kids do have some appetite for their favorite foods, follow their pace and prepare the foods. However, if the toddler cannot eat solid foods for a longer period than expected, it is best to consult your doctor for advice.

What to Feed Sick Toddler

A sick toddler may not have the appetite to eat, but he/she still needs some nutrition. Some children maintain a good appetite when they are sick, so just give them nutritious foods they are willing to eat. However, in other children, especially those who are suffering from stomach flu and fever, it may take another day or more before they regain their usual appetite.

Warning: If your child is vomiting, feeding can make it worse and may lead to dehydration. It is therefore best not to wait, see a doctor immediately. Hold off giving them solid foods or plain water, which they might not tolerate if they have a stomach bug.

Here are some foods you can offer a sick toddler:

1. The BRAT Diet

Banana, rice, apple sauce, and toast (BRAT) are great foods that can help your child when she is sick. This acronym is easy to remember, and these foods are easy to eat and digest. At the same time, these contain nutrients that can stay down even with an upset stomach.

2. The CRAM Diet

Similarly, CRAM diet, which is the acronym for cereal, rice, applesauce and milk, is a short term dietary treatment for diarrhea and gastroenteritis. This diet contains more complete and fat content than the BRAT diet. Cereal and milk can help boost your child's nutrition by giving her more protein in the diet when she is ill, especially if she will not eat bananas or apples.

3. Chicken Soup

This is a traditional food used by parents as a home remedy for a sick child, and even science shows some evidence that it has its benefits. Chicken soup is not only delicious and soothing, it also has the ingredients that can help reduce inflammation and promote healing. Chicken and some vegetables will also boost their nutrition and increase their energy while recovering from illness.

4. Fruits and Vegetables

These foods are full of vitamins and minerals that will help your child battle their illness. Fruits that are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, including oranges and citrus fruits, support immune function. Vegetables like carrots contain beta-carotene, which their body converts to vitamin A and helps support their battle against viruses and bacteria.

5. Other Foods You Can Feed a Sick Toddler

Decrease of appetite and some common illness in toddler usually happen together. When it comes to what to feed sick toddlers, sometimes it is indeed a great challenge. Here are a list of some foods which might be of help when you are struggling for what to prepare for your little sweetie:

Toddler Illness

Foods Recommended


Water, ice pops, ginger ale, diluted fruit juice.


Applesauce with raisin and cinnamon sugar topping; canned peaches with frozen yogurt; cream of wheat with maple syrup and a dash of vanilla; club soda with cold cranberry or raspberry juice.


Crackers, plain pancakes, dry cereal, and peanut butter sandwich; chicken noodle soup with saltine crackers.

Sore Throat

Cold, creamy, and nutritious foods: frozen fruit and yogurt shake, ice pops, or cold juice; warm tea and hot chocolate.


Cherries, raisin, apricot, and prunes (another CRAP diet) are fruits with lots of fiber that can improve bowel movements.