Whelp, it’s officially that time of year following the most wonderful time of the year – sick season.
As I mentioned last week, Lincoln came down with croup on Christmas day, Ben’s currently nursing a sore throat, both his parent’s were recovering from colds when they came into town, and one of his brothers left our house sick after new years. It’s a jungle out there, people!
All that to say, I’ve gotten a lot of practice making meals to soothe sore throats, coughs, and upset stomachs over the past two weeks, and want to pass along 10 of my best recipes that do just that to comfort your family over the next couple of months of the season that shall not be named.
But first I’m sharing 5 of my best tips for staying well in the first place because guess who the only person is to avoid getting sick despite being around a ton of it in the past month?
I’ll probably come down with ebola simply for typing that. Anyway, without further ado, here are some of my best tips for staying well this cold and flu season:
- STOP TOUCHING YOUR FACE. Guess what sick people do? Cough into their hands. Guess what they touch afterwards? Everything. You will inevitably come into contact with germs over the next few months, but keeping your fingers away from your mouth and nose will lessen your chances of them sneaking inside. This should also help clear up chin acne. You’re welcome!
- Reduce stress. Study after study has shown that stressed out people get sick more often. Why? Because chronic stress causes an overproduction of the hormone cortisol, which suppresses the immune system. Find a way to cope with daily stress like reading or meditating, go for a walk, or listen to music.
- Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. I’m not totally on board with the idea that eating 100 oranges when I have a cold will cure me faster, but eating the rainbow, specifically dark leafy greens, nuts, and berries, can help your immune system stay in tip-top shape so you don’t get sick in the first place. Still stop touching your face.
- Nix sugar and high fat foods. Let’s say that, despite your best efforts, you do come down with the cold or flu. Resist the urge to eat pints of ice cream and greasy burgers. Sugar can suppress the immune system and cause inflammation, which can exaggerate cold and flu symptoms, while heavy, greasy food can upset an already sensitive stomach.
- Wash your hands. Like crazy. So simple, but works so well. Since getting Celiac Disease I wash my hands constantly to prevent cross contamination (we don’t keep gluten in the house, but I’ve gotten sick from second hand gluten in public) and so far I haven’t gotten sick this season. I keep a bottle of Honest Hand Sanitizer in my purse and in the car if I can’t get to a sink after being out and about.
No method is 100% perfect, of course, so in case you or someone you love comes down with the crud, here are 10 of my most soothing and comforting, get-well-soon, gluten-free recipes to make when you are sick!
Gluten-Free Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
The mother of all feel-better-soon-type soups – Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup is the first thing I make when any of us get a sniffle. This recipe is quick, easy, and eating it is a great way to ensure the patient is getting enough liquids.
Gluten-Free Homestyle Chicken and Noodles
If you’re looking for something a little heartier than regular Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup, try my Gluten-Free Homestyle Chicken and Noodles. Just like the lunch ladies used to serve, God bless ’em, just gluten-free and devoured on your sofa under a blanket instead of a cold cafeteria bench. This is one of the most comforting dishes you can make and eat when you are feeling under the weather.
Crock Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
If you can’t stand the thought of standing at the stove stirring a pot of soup, Crock Pot Chicken and Wild Rice Soup is for you. Throw everything into a crock pot, give it a stir, then 4 hours later a cozy, healthy, and nourishing meal is ready to go.
Superfood Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
Superfood Salad is packed with filling quinoa, antioxidant-rich pomegranate seeds, and vitamin-packed oranges and avocados to supercharge your recovery after you start to feel better. Lemons are known to help soothe sore throats and upset stomachs, which is great because this healthy salad is dressed with a bright and fresh lemon vinaigrette.
Blueberry Banana Nut Oatmeal
I’m sure you’ve heard of following the BRAT diet – bananas, rice, applesauce and toast – when you’re sick with an upset stomach. Blueberry Banana Nut Oatmeal takes a cue from that recommendation by combining certified gluten-free oats and bananas in a soothing bowl of creamy oatmeal that’s topped with inflammation fighting blueberries and walnuts.
Copycat Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal
If blueberries aren’t your thing, try my Copycat Starbucks Perfect Oatmeal, which is nice and whippy in texture, and chock-full of bananas and nuts. This is a great choice for breakfast, lunch, OR dinner when you’re sick.
Easiest Fruit Salad
If you’ve got a sore throat and need something cold to soothe it throughout the day, make a big bowl of Easiest Fruit Salad to stash in the fridge. Nice and light, yet nutritious (nix the marshmallows if you want!)
Green Detox Smoothie (Banana-Free)
I know there are a lot of you who are allergic to bananas, but fear not, there’s a delicious, banana-free sick-day solution for you, too! Cool down a fiery hot throat with this Green Detox Smoothie that’s full of inflammation-fighting ingredients like baby spinach, pineapple and ginger. This is one of the best, most nourishing things you can drink when you are sick.
Bacon, Leek and Mushroom Risotto
If you’ve got a willing and healthy partner, use the “I’m sick as a dog, will you make me risotto?” card – it’s now or never! Seriously, if you’re craving a huge bowl of something warm and comforting, but don’t want to eat a truck load of cheese, Bacon, Leek and Mushroom Risotto will satisfy your craving in a much healthier way. Plus mushrooms are crazy high in vitamin D which could possibly prevent you from getting sick in the first place. BRING ON THE SHROOMS!
Crispy Bacon, Kale, and Shrimp with Lemon-Butter Pan Sauce
I keep talking about inflammation fighting foods – viruses like the common cold create inflammation in the body which cause symptoms like a runny nose, sneezing, and coughing. Dark leafy greens and citrus like lemon are inflammation-fighting rockstars and are highlighted in my Crispy Bacon, Kale, and Shrimp with Lemon-Butter Pan Sauce. Pair with creamy mashed potatoes for a delicious and comforting dish.
Perfect Roast Chicken (Plus 10 Ways to Use It)
If you as Mom or Dad are sick, but your kids aren’t and are understandably hungry, throw a Perfect Roast Chicken into the oven and call it dinner. So easy and you can use the leftover chicken bones to make homemade chicken broth. Just toss them all into the crock pot with chopped carrots, onions, celery, garlic, salt, and pepper, cover with water, then cook on low for 8-10 hours, or up to 24. The resulting broth is pure nourishment!