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Food And Diet Tips For Toddlers During Fever

food and diet for toddlers during fever

Feeding & Nutrition

Food And Diet Tips For Toddlers During Fever

Food And Diet Tips For Toddlers During Fever

What should I feed my baby during fever?

What should a toddler eat when she/he has fever?

These are common questions that I am asked everyday by worried parents at my clinic. And I empathize with these parents. Watching your child suffer from fever is bad enough and when she/he stops eating it can become unbearable.

So what can you do to reduce your misery?

You can understand why your baby is not eating. And then cook food that your baby will be able to eat.

Why don’t children eat during fever?

When a child has fever – all she/he wants to do is sleep. This is because the child’s body wants to shut down all activity and divert all its energy and resources towards fighting the virus or the bacteria that is causing the fever.

 

When a child has fever – certain chemicals (that come from the virus/bacteria infecting the child and from the child’s brain itself) – flood the child’s body and cause body ache, tiredness and complete loss of appetite in addition to fever. The same chemicals also cause sadness and irritability which makes the child cranky. This depressed mood, lack of energy and loss of appetite force the child to stop all activity and go to sleep.

 

To fight the infection your toddler does not need food. Your toddler needs sleep. So if your baby is not eating because of the fever – don’t worry. Your child’s body is too busy fighting the infection and has no time to digest food. That is why your child is not eating. And if you force your child to eat – she/he will probably vomit.

 

Not feeling hungry therefore is one of the strategies by which the toddler’s body fights infection.

 

So if your toddler does not want to eat – just let it be.

Also read Understand Viral fever to build immunity

What type of diet is required for a toddler with fever

The food that a toddler should eat during fever can be classified into –

  1. Food to be eaten during the fever
  2. Food to be eaten immediately after the fever goes down
  3. Food to be eaten after complete recovery
foods that are safe for toddlers during fever

Foods that are safe for toddlers during fever

Foods To Be Eaten During Fever

Most fevers in toddlers are viral fevers. And during viral fever toddlers typically have high fever for 3 to 5 days and  your child needs lots of energy to fight the infection. One of the best sources of energy for the body is carbohydrate. Food that is watery, easy to swallow and easy to digest.

Rice kanji or ragi kanji or sabudana kanji is the best food for toddlers who have fever.  Kanji which is the watery part of an overcooked porridge of Rice or Ragi or Sabudana or Broken wheat – is the food that is traditionally given to sick children all over India. It is known by different names in different parts of the country like Kanji, Ganji, Pez, Congee etc.

The advantages of feeding toddlers Kanji when they have fever –

  1. It is rich in carbohydrate and gives a lot of energy
  2. It is easily digestible.
  3. It gives slow sustained release of energy wthout making the child hyperactive – unlike sugar and maida based snacks
  4. It helps in cleaning out the stomach and digestive system because of its probiotic properties
  5. It is watery and also makes up for the dehydration that occurs due to fever.
  6. When it is made with sprouted Ragi it also becomes rich in vitamins
  7. It can be made sweet or savoury depending on the child’s preference.

 

Try to ensure that the carbohydrates are nutrient rich carbohydrates like whole wheat or millets – rather than empty calories like maida or sugar.

 

Food to be eaten immediately after the fever goes down

During viral fever – the virus kills millions of cells in your child’s body. After the fever reduces toddlers require plenty of proteins to rebuild the cells that have been killed during the virus attack. At this point carbohydrates and fluids are also required for the rebuilding activity. A slow re-introduction to proteins and carbohydrates is required at this stage and liquids must not be forgotten either.

 

It is important to remember that immediately after viral fever – the digestive system is not able to function properly and so the toddler may not be able to digest protein rich food.

The best thing to give a child when she /he is recovering from viral fever therefore are soups like lentil or chicken soup .

What are the advantages of giving soup after viral fever

  1. The soup is the protein extract of the chicken or mutton that has been boiled
  2. It is easily digestible
  3. The proteins in the soup are easily absorbable
  4. The soup replenishes the water lost by the body during fever as well – so it helps to combat dehydration

Meanwhile, introducing kichdi -a combination of carbohydrates and proteins. can help your toddler to recover quickly.

 

Food to be eaten after fever has gone down completely.

Once your toddler has recovered completely from fever and is back to normal activity – give nutrient rich foods that can be eaten by the toddler on their own so that your toddler receives nutrition without being burdened with force feeding.

This would include nutritious homemade snacks made like finger food. Small nutritious cutlets pancakes and other things can be made.

customized healthy weekly menu

List Foods For Toddlers during & after fever

what should I feed my toddler during fever

What should I feed my toddler during fever

 

Breast milk is the best food during fever

 

Breast milk is the best food for baby during fever. If you are still breastfeeding your toddler – continue breastfeeding. When your toddler has fever – she/he will ask for more frequent breastfeeds and you must allow your baby to breastfeed without any fear or hesitation.

 

Most fevers in the early years are caused by viruses. In most cases since mother and child are together almost all the time – they are exposed to the same viruses. The mother being older and having a better immune system is able to manufacture antibodies to fight the virus much more easily than the toddler and so while the toddler falls sick – the mother does not. However, the mother does have the antibodies required to fight the virus even though she is not sick. When she breastfeeds the baby – the baby gets large doses of antibodies in the breastmilk and these help the baby to fight the virus and recover faster.

 

Breastmilk is nourishing. It is the perfect balanced diet. Breast milk is also medicine for your toddler during fever. So if you are breastfeeding – give your baby lots of breastmilk when she/he has fever.

Also read What To Do When You Don’t Have Breast Milk

Water -During and after fever give your toddler lots of water

 

Fluids – especially water in its pure for is extremely important for toddlers when they have fever and also when they are recovering.

 

Water has the following functions in the body –

  1. Water replenishes the fluid lost due to dehydration
  2. Water washes out the toxins built up by the infection
  3. Water is required to rebuild cells during the recovery phase of the infection

Also read Dehydration in Children and Babies. Facts Signs and Treatment

Filling Indian Foods for toddlers during fever –

  1. Khichdi
  2. Dalia
  3. Oat meal
  4. Mashed rice with buttermilk/ghee with pinch of salt
  5. Curd rice
  6. Rasam and sambar
  7. Idli/dosa/roti

Also read How To Plan A Balanced Diet For Your Child :10 Tips

Beverages for toddlers during fever –

  1. Lemon juice
  2. Milk
  3. Buttermilk
  4. Tender coconut
  5. Rice water/Konji water
  6. Soups
  7. It is best to avoid fruit juices, tea and coffee during fever because they dehydrate the body.

 

Finger Foods To Nibble When in Fever

  1. Potato boiled and sauted in little butter
  2. Egg/egg white
  3. Fruits(preferrably peeled)
  4. Sweetened gooseberies

Foods to build immunity after fever

  1. Egg cutlet
  2. Ragi pancake
  3. Paneer cutlet
  4. Quinoa upma
  5. Curd
  6. Dosa/idli

10 ways to improve your child’s immunity. Right now!

Read healthy recipes for each day of the week here Monday menu Tuesday menu Wednesday menu Thursday menu Friday menu Saturday menu Sunday menu

Foods to avoid during fever –

There is no hard and fast rule about what food should be avoided during fever. No food will cause actual damage or worsen the infection during fever. However some foods may cause the child some discomfort during fever and should be avoided if possible

  1. Oily foods – Foods like pakodas etc. that are deep fried may not be as easy to digest when the digestive system is disturbed because of viral infection
  2. Spicy foods – Spicy foods tend to heat up the body. When the toddler’s body is already burning with fever – it may not be a good idea to heat it further with spicy food.
  3. Junk food – Junk food only provides empty calories that make the child hyperactive without giving any nutrition. As result of hyperactivity the toddler gets more and more tired and cranky. And because there is no real nutrition the toddler is unable to rebuild the cells that have been lost during the viral fever. This makes the child very weak.
  4. Salads – It is best to avoid salads during fever because they are consumed raw and may be contaminated with organisms. Under normal circumstances when the body’s immunity is high – the body may be able to fight the contaminating organisms and stay healthy. However, during fever when the body’s immunity is already low – it may be difficult for the body to fight these organisms and they may cause stomach infections
  5. Milk – milk is an emulsion of protein and fat in water. During fever when the body is diverting all its resources towards fighting the infection – there may not be enough strength left to digest large quantities of fats and proteins. So they are best avoided.

Recipes for Toddlers during Fever

Recipes by Malavika Shenoy

recipes for toddlers during fever

Recipes for toddlers during fever

Dalia Khichdi

khichdi recipe for toddllers during fever

Khichdi recipe for toddllers during fever

 

IngredientsQtyNutritional values/ 100g
Dalia1 cup327 cal
Whole Moong dal½ cup177 cal
SaltTo taste0
Pepper, roughly crushed2 tsp1 cal
Garlic (optional)3-4 nos18 cal
Ginger (optional)½ “6 cal
Cumin1 tsp8 cal
Curry LeavesA few7 cal
Turmeric½ tsp4 cal

 

  • Heat a kadai/skillet and dry roast the Dalia and whole moong until toasty.
  • Add water half an inch above the Dalia-dal mix and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
  • Release the pressure and take out the cooked Dalia dal mix.
  • Heat a tspn of oil and add cumin and crushed pepper. You can also add ginger garlic paste and onion optionally, but make sure you cook out the raw flavour.
  • Add the cooked mixture and turmeric. Add some more water if required.
  • Season with salt.

 

Rice Kichdi

 

IngredientsQtyNutritional values/ 100g
Rice1 cup362 cal
Whole Moong dal½ cup177 cal
SaltTo taste0
Pepper, roughly crushed2 tsp1 cal
Garlic & ginger paste (optional)3-4 nos18 cal
Ginger (optional)½ “6 cal
Cumin1 tsp8 cal
Curry LeavesA few7 cal
Turmeric½ tsp4 cal

 

  • Heat a kadai/skillet and dry roast the rice (preferably red rice) and whole moong until toasty.
  • Add water half an inch above the rice-dal mix along with turmeric and pressure cook for 2 whistles.
  • Release the pressure and take out the cooked Dalia dal mix.
  • Heat a tspn of oil and add cumin and crushed pepper. You can also add ginger garlic paste and onion optionally, but make sure you cook out the raw flavour.
  • Add the cooked mixture and add some more water if required.
  • Season with salt.

 

Rice Ganji

 

IngredientsQtyNutritional values/ 100g
Rice (Red rice/Boiled rice)1 cup362 cal
Water3 cups

 

  • Wash and soak your rice preferably red rice or boiled rice.
  • Take a large pot add the soaked rice and triple the amount of water or until the pot is 2/3rds full.
  • Pressure cook for 2 whistles.
  • Serve hot with plain lemon pickle.

 

Note: If using boiled rice, soak the rice for at least 3 hours, and pressure cook for 3 whistles and keep on sim for 10 minutes.

 

Ragi Ganji

ganji recipe for toddlers during fever

Ganji recipe for toddlers during fever

 

IngredientsQtyNutritional values/ 100g
Ragi Flour½ cup222 cal
Water2 cups
SaltTo taste
Buttermilk (optional)A tsp12 cal

 

  • Add ½ cup water to the ragi flour and mix until there are no lumps.
  • Heat the remaining water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the ragi mixture to the boiling water and stir vigorously.
  • Switch off the gas when it is thick and bubbling.
  • When serving thin it down with some water or buttermilk.

 

Ragi Malt

IngredientsQtyNutritional values/ 100g
Ragi1 tbsp55.5 cal
Jaggery, powderedTo taste4 cal
Cardamom, whole1 nos6 cal
Milk1 cup31 cal
Badam powder1 tsp7 cal

 

  • Mix the ragi and badam powder and add some water. Stir until there are no lumps
  • In a saucepan, add the milk, crushed whole cardamom, jaggery and ragi-badam mix
  • Bring to a boil, adjust the sweetness.
  • Strain and serve.

Note: This recipe makes 1 cup.

You can also add crushed palm candy/palm sugar instead of jaggery.

 

Kashayam

kashyam recipe for toddlers during fever

Kashyam recipe for toddlers during fever

 

IngredientsQtyNutritional values/ 100g
Coriander seeds½ tsp2 cal
Fennel/ saunf¼ tsp15 cal
Ginger1’’ piece16 cal
Pepper1 tsp1 cal
Jaggery/ Palm Jaggery1 tbsp4 cal
Milk (optional)½ cup31 cal
Tulsi or Doddapatre4-5 leaves

 

  • In a mortar and pestle, roughly crush pepper, coriander seeds, fennel and ginger.
  • Take a saucepan and add a cup of water.
  • Add the crushed ingredients and jaggery.
  • Optionally add Tulsi or Doddapatre (Cuban oregano/ Mexican mint) by lightly crushing the leaves.
  • Boil until it forms dark decoction.
  • Strain and mix it with water or milk before serving.

 

Pepper Rasam

 

IngredientsQtyNutritional values/ 100g
Tomatoes2 medium22 cal
Cumin1 tsp8 cal
Pepper1 tsp0
Byadgi chilli2 nos.6 cal
Garlic clove2-3 nos.4 cal
Curry leavesA few
Ghee¼ tsp28 cal
Cooked lentil water (optional)
SaltTo taste

 

  • In a sauce pot add the curry leaves and blanch the tomatoes in the water.
  • Remove the skin and seeds from the blanched tomatoes.
  • Dry roast the cumin, pepper and byadgi chillies.
  • Finely grind the roasted ingredients.
  • Add the powder to the tomato and the blanched water. Add extra water if required. At this point you can add the cooked lentil water.
  • Add salt to taste and bring to boil.
  • Temper it with ghee and garlic.
  • If you don’t want garlic you can also temper it with cumin and hing.
  • Serve it as soup or with rice.

 

Lentil Soup

 

IngredientsQtyNutritional values/ 100g
Moong dal½  cup
Onions, finely chopped1 medium
Carrot, grated1 no.
SaltTo taste
PepperTo taste
Ginger, crushed1’’
Dhaniya jeera powder½ tsp
CorianderFor garnish

 

  • Wash and soak the moong dal.
  • Pressure cook for two whistles.
  • Mash the cooked moong dal.
  • Heat some oil in a saucepan and saute the onion.
  • Once the onion is cooked add the grated carrot.
  • Add the mashed dal in the sauce pan with two cups of water.
  • Add the crushed ginger, pepper powder and dhaniya jeera powder.
  • Bring it to a boil.
  • Garnish with coriander and Serve hot.

 

Chicken Soup

 

IngredientsQtyNutritional values/ 100g
Chicken pieces with bone100g95 cal
Carrot, finely chopped1 no25 cal
Onion, finely chopped1 no44 cal
Celery Stalk, finely chopped1 no3 cal
Garlic, finely chopped3-4 cloves4 cal
Salt & pepper powder.To taste
Bay leaf2 leaves4 cal
Cloves2 nos.3 cal
Pepper4-5 nos2 cal

 

  • Wash the chicken pieces thoroughly.
  • Fill a saucepan upto 3/4 ths with water.
  • Add the chicken pieces, bay leaf, clove and boil.
  • Reduce the flame and take out the chicken pieces. Separate the meat from the bone and keep aside to be used later.
  • Add the bones back into the chicken stock and let it boil.
  • Skim the impurities that float on top.
  • Switch off the heat and strain the stalk. Discard the bayl eaf, clove, bones and pepper.
  • Heat some oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic. Add the carrots and celery and saute.
  • Add the chicken stalk and bring to a boil.
  • Add the shredded chicken and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

How does a Child become a Picky Eater

Dr Debmita Dutta MBBS, MD is a practicing clinician and a Parenting and Wellness Consultant in Bangalore. She conducts Prenatal Classes and Parenting Workshops at schools and corporates. Her workshops and consultations are aimed at hand holding parents through their parenting journey. Contact - 9611739400 and debmita.dutta@gmail.com

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