What Do You Give a Sick Kid Who Won't Eat?

In many cases, vitamins and nutrients from food are the best medicine for your sick little one.

Food helps your body fight the infections raging within. It also helps rebuild a compromised immune system.

However, when kids are sick, they often turn food away.

If your sick child won’t eat, make it fun and serve liquids with silly straws or offer small rewards, like stickers, for small portions eaten. Even a small bite of food can help.

Sore Throat

If your child has a sore throat, encourage her to drink warm and cold liquids.

Try warm tea for an older child. Let her squeeze in a drop of honey. She is more likely to drink tea she helped make.

Offer a younger child hot chocolate.

Test it first to make sure it’s not too hot. Dropping in a couple marshmallows makes it more enticing.

As for cold liquids, try juices such as apple or grape. Drop in a few ice cubes.

Add a drop of food coloring into the ice cubes to make them more enticing. The vitamin C in orange juice can work wonders.

If she refuses orange juice, try diluting it with water but don’t push the issue if she turns it away. The acid in orange juice can irritate an already sore throat.



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If your child has a cold, add noodles in fun shapes and sizes to a bowl of chicken soup. Try bow tie pasta or alphabet noodles. Pasta shaped like sea shells adds some warm thoughts to a cold day.

Some canned chicken soups already come with noodles in fun shapes like princesses or popular cartoon characters. The steam from the soup will help loosen nasal mucus. The warmth of the broth can fight the chills that accompany a fever.


Children suffering from upset gastrointestinal systems usually refuse all foods. Nausea and diarrhea can kill an appetite in the best of eaters.

However, it’s important for children with diarrhea to replenish lost nutrients. Diarrhea can quickly lead to dehydration.

Help your child replace lost fluid and encourage her to drink a few tablespoons of water or a pediatric electrolyte solution after every bout of diarrhea. Drop in a small amount of a colored drink mix to add color and sweetness to the solution.



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If your child is vomiting, serve 2 tbsp. of an oral rehydration solution every 20 minutes. If she refuses the solution from a spoon, pour into a medicine dropper and let her drop it into her mouth. That adds a fun twist to the process.

If she vomits immediately after drinking, let her stomach settle for about 30 minutes and then encourage her to drink the same amount of the solution again. When the vomiting subsides, try small amounts of dry food such as her favorite sugar-free cereal without milk.