Planning Nutritious Meals When You’re Ill

Feeling poorly? Whether you’ve just gotten out of a surgery or have had a virus, it’s important to keep your strength up with nutritious meals. Of course, you’re likely going to be limited in what you’re interested in making, since you are feeling ill, but we have some suggestions that will keep you going.

Carbs Are Always a Good Choice

Let’s face it, when you don’t feel well, you likely turn to carbs for most meals. In fact, crackers and toast are often the first port of call for anyone who is feeling worse for wear. The dryness and simplicity of these carbohydrates will help to control any stomach acidity whilst also making you feel full sooner than other food groups will.

To ensure you’re getting as much nutrition as possible, you should try to eat wholemeal bread where possible. Don’t try seeded bread if you’re dealing with tummy troubles, though, as this can make things worse.

Include a Protein

There are many ways to add protein to your meals. Most people will find that a little protein can really boost their energy level and help them recover. You have several choices that should be kept as simple as possible.


Perhaps one of the easiest options is to use eggs. They may be scrambled, fried, or poached and eaten as is. You may prefer to simply boil them and eat with toast fingers. On their own, eggs are generally very easy on the stomach and provide plenty of fat and protein for your recovery. They may also be mixed with other things to make the meal more nutritious, or added to a sandwich.


We’ll look closer at this option further on, but it’s a good source of protein, especially Greek yoghurt.


You may not want much cheese in your diet right after you’ve been ill, but once you’re on the road to recovery, as long as it isn’t restricted, enjoy. A few slices of your favourite cheese, along with some water biscuits or toast can be the start of a lovely recovery day. You can also use it in sandwiches, of course, or you can simply snack on it as is. The texture and flavour is gentle on a sore throat, but still provides a nice boost in energy.


Chicken is standard on a post-surgical diet and it’s actually quite nutritious. It may sound bland, but once cooked, you may add seasonings to give the chicken some flavour. If you’re permitted to have fats, you can also enjoy chicken salad.

Of course, there’s the traditional chicken soup that is considered the go-to cure for any ailment. You will never go wrong with some of this in your stomach.


Light, white fish is easy on the stomach and a wonderful way to incorporate some protein into your diet. Simply flake it with a fork and add a squeeze of lime to serve, or you can mix it with avocado and chopped salad ingredients for a sandwich or wrap.

If your stomach is up for it, salmon and other heavier fish are quite healthy and excellent items for you to make up when feeling ill. You don’t need much time to cook the dish and that means you can be eating in minutes.

Start with small portions and work your way up to more substantial amounts. It’s fine to take your time recovering.

Start with Yoghurt

A simple bowl of yoghurt can rapidly become so much more. It’s the perfect way to break back into eating if you’ve been ill for a while with a cold and not interested in eating. Not only does yoghurt provide some protein, but it is gentle on the stomach and cool, which can also be soothing.

From there, you can rapidly assemble a breakfast or any time of the day meal. Simply add in some carbs in the form of cereal, granola, or toast, and a handful of fruit of your choice. This will immediately make it taste even better and can give you some extra nutrients.

Add Some Juice

You actually may be on a liquid diet for a bit of time once you’re out of the hospital. This occurs frequently after a surgery or severe illness. On a liquid diet, you’ll be permitted to drink fruit juices, broths, and often non-dairy milks. It’s a good idea to keep some juice on hand in case you find yourself unable to eat but still in need of nutrients.

If you’re on a bit of a sugar restriction, aim for natural fruit juices, rather than the sweetened ones. Some of the best options when you are still in recovery, particularly after a severe illness or surgery, include:

Green: These come in a range of flavours, but usually include plenty of leafy green juice. This provides you with valuable nutrients and gives you an energy boost and a health boost.

Coconut Water: Though technically not a juice, this is nature’s rehydration serum. Plain coconut water contains nutrients and electrolytes that will help you feel strong and refreshed. It’s particularly good to drink this if you’ve had diarrhoea or have been vomiting.

Apple: A good apple juice may remind you of childhood, but it’s an oldie for a reason. This simple juice can help regulate your stomach again and is ideal for moving back toward solid food.

Cranberry: As a rehydrating fluid, cranberry juice is quite lovely. It has a tart flavour that can be a nice change after you’ve had sweeter options. However, it is also known to be useful in helping prevent UTIs and kidney infections, so you will want to ask your doctor if they recommend this option for you.

If you’re not feeling like you can drink much juice at a time, keep the remainder refrigerated for later. You can also thin it with lemonade or water for a softer flavour.

Consider a Sandwich

Sandwiches or toasties are simple enough to make without much effort that you can do them even when quite off. To make the sandwich healthier, opt for whole grain or seed bread, if you can. Lightly toast it and spread with cream cheese, avocado, or a fruit jam. On its own, this may sustain you for a little while, but you can also consider adding other ingredients.

For example, toast with cream cheese could have sliced tomatoes or cucumbers added, as well as lettuce. These are quick to grab from the refrigerator and will take the taste and nutritional value of the sandwich up another level. Peanut butter pairs well with jam, sliced fruit, or other options. When you combine peanut butter and bread, you get a complete protein, as well, so it’s an added bonus.

Smoothies: The Instant Meal

Smoothies are the perfect sickbed food and take less than a minute to whip up. Start with a base of milk, yoghurt, or dairy-free milk such as oat or soya. You may also use juice if you prefer. Blend with fruit such as a banana, raspberries, blueberries, or strawberries, and then add in some turmeric powder or cocoa to help your body feel better.

You can also add some greens for added nutrition and it will taste just like a fruit smoothie. You can also add powdered protein powder, vitamin powders, and more to your smoothies. It’s a good option for when you’re struggling to eat much.

Made too much smoothie? Just freeze your smoothie mix to make ice pops for later. Ice pops can be particularly helpful in hot weather when you don’t feel like eating much. This way, you’ll still get plenty of nutrition without needing to worry about how to keep it down.

If you’re in need of fresh ingredients to make meals for yourself or someone else who is sick, you can order from Freshways and ensure you always have great quality food on hand. Browse our selection of products online now or contact us for more information.