Feeding a Toddler with Fever: What Foods are Best?


When your toddler is sick with a fever, it can be challenging to know what foods are best to offer them. However, providing proper nutrition during this time is crucial to support your little one’s immune system and aid in their recovery.

In this article, we’ll explore the best foods to give your toddler during a fever to ensure they’re getting the nutrients they need.

Understanding the Importance of Proper Nutrition During Fever

Feeding a toddler with fever can be a challenging task for parents, but it is important not to overlook the significance of providing proper nutrition during this time. Fever is the body’s natural response to an infection, and a healthy diet can help boost the immune system and promote healing.

Why is Proper Nutrition Crucial During Fever?

When a toddler has a fever, their body is working hard to fight off the infection. This can cause a loss of appetite and a decrease in energy levels. However, it is important to maintain a healthy and balanced diet during this time to give the body the fuel it needs to recover.

Proper nutrition can help strengthen the immune system, which is particularly important during a fever. The body needs a variety of vitamins and minerals to function properly and fight off infections. A diet rich in nutrients can also help reduce inflammation and promote healing.

What Nutrients are Important During Fever?

When it comes to feeding a toddler with fever, it is important to focus on nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest. Here are some key nutrients to keep in mind:

NutrientWhy it’s ImportantFood Sources
Vitamin CBoosts the immune system and aids in wound healingCitrus fruits, berries, kiwi, tomatoes, broccoli
Vitamin AHelps maintain healthy skin and mucous membranesSweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, cantaloupe
ProteinAids in tissue repair and supports the immune systemChicken, turkey, fish, eggs, beans, tofu
ZincSupports the immune system and aids in wound healingBeef, pork, chicken, beans, nuts, whole grains
FluidsPrevents dehydration and helps flush out toxinsWater, breast milk, formula, clear broths, fruit juice

It is also important to incorporate fruits and vegetables into a toddler’s diet during a fever. These foods are rich in antioxidants and other beneficial nutrients that can help support the immune system and promote healing.

Tip: Try offering a variety of colorful fruits and veggies to make mealtime more appealing for a sick toddler.

Hydration is Key

Keeping a toddler with a fever properly hydrated is essential for their recovery. It can help prevent dehydration, which can cause additional complications. The general rule of thumb is to offer fluids at regular intervals throughout the day, even if your toddler doesn’t feel thirsty.

Water is always a good option, but you can also offer diluted fruit juice, coconut water, or electrolyte solutions. Avoid sugary drinks or drinks with caffeine, as they can actually contribute to dehydration.

How much should my toddler drink?

It’s recommended that toddlers drink about 1 to 1.5 ounces of fluid per pound of body weight each day. For example, a 30-pound toddler should drink between 30 and 45 ounces of fluid per day. However, don’t force your toddler to drink more than they want, as this can lead to vomiting.

What if my toddler doesn’t want to drink?

It’s common for toddlers to lose their appetite and not want to drink during a fever. Encourage them to take small sips of fluid at frequent intervals. You can also offer foods with high water content, such as soups and broths, or frozen fruit popsicles made from pureed fruits and water.

Foods to Boost the Immune System

Fevers are often a sign that a child’s immune system is fighting off an infection. To support your toddler’s immune system during a fever, it’s important to include plenty of immune-boosting foods in their diet.

Here are some of the top foods to consider:

YogurtPacked with probiotics that help support a healthy gut, in turn aiding the immune system.
BlueberriesRich in antioxidants that can help protect the body from damage caused by infection.
GarlicContains allicin, a compound with antiviral and antibacterial properties that can help fight off infection.
SpinachLoaded with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C and iron, that can help support the immune system.
Citrus fruitsHigh in vitamin C, which has been shown to help stimulate the production of white blood cells that fight infection.
AlmondsRich in vitamin E, which can help boost the immune system by fighting off harmful bacteria and viruses.

Consider incorporating these immune-boosting foods into your child’s meals and snacks throughout the day to help support their recovery from a fever.

Incorporating Fruits and Vegetables

One of the most effective ways to provide your toddler with the necessary nutrients during a fever is through the inclusion of plenty of fruits and vegetables in their diet. These nutrient-rich foods can help support their immune system and overall health, aiding in the recovery process.

When it comes to fruits, consider offering a variety of options such as berries, oranges, kiwi, and melons. These fruits are high in vitamin C, an important nutrient for preventing infections and supporting immune function.

Vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, sweet potatoes, and carrots are excellent sources of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that can help fight inflammation and promote healing.

If your toddler has a reduced appetite during their fever, consider pureeing fruits and vegetables and incorporating them into soups or smoothies. This can ensure they are still receiving the necessary nutrients even if they aren’t feeling up to eating solid foods.

Sample Meal Ideas:

Scrambled eggs with spinach and whole wheat toastCarrot and lentil soup with a side of sliced applesRoasted sweet potato wedges with baked chicken breast and steamed broccoli
  • Snack Ideas:
  • Celery sticks with almond butter
  • Sliced peaches with cottage cheese
  • Blueberry smoothie with spinach and Greek yogurt

By incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your toddler’s diet during a fever, you can help support their recovery and overall health. Don’t be afraid to get creative with meal and snack options to make sure your little one is getting the nutrients they need.

Protein-Rich Foods for Recovery

Protein is an essential macronutrient that helps repair and build tissues, supports immune function, and promotes recovery during illness. It is especially important for toddlers with fever to consume adequate protein to aid in their recovery process. Here are some protein-rich foods to include in your toddler’s diet:

FoodProtein Content (per 100g)
Chicken breast31g
Turkey breast29g
Beans (kidney, black, pinto)9-10g

In addition to meat and legumes, dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are good sources of protein for toddlers. However, be mindful of your child’s tolerance for dairy products during a fever, as they may cause stomach upset or increase mucus production.

It’s important to note that while protein is important for recovery, it should not be relied upon as the sole source of nutrition. Make sure your toddler is consuming a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains as well.

Easy-to-Digest Options

When a toddler has a fever, they may experience stomach discomfort and have trouble eating their usual meals. In such cases, it’s essential to offer foods that are easy to digest to minimize any further discomfort.

Broth-based soups, such as chicken or vegetable broth, are a great option as they are gentle on the stomach and provide necessary hydration. Plain crackers or toast can also be helpful as they are plain and easy to digest.

Another option is to offer pureed fruits and vegetables, such as applesauce or mashed sweet potato. These foods are easy to swallow and packed with nutrients that can help boost the immune system.

It’s best to avoid spicy or greasy foods during a fever, as they may worsen stomach discomfort and lead to nausea. Stick to simple, easily digestible options to ensure your toddler gets the nutrition they need while recovering from their fever.

Foods to Boost the Immune System

During a fever, it is essential to provide foods that can help boost your toddler’s immune system. The following foods can help strengthen your toddler’s immune system:

YogurtContains probiotics that promote gut health and boost the immune system
GarlicHas antimicrobial properties that can help fight infection
GingerContains compounds that have anti-inflammatory properties and can help fight off illness
Citrus fruitsRich in vitamin C, an antioxidant that can help strengthen the immune system and fight off infection
Leafy greensContain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C, that can help boost the immune system
SalmonRich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties and can help boost the immune system

Be sure to include these immune-boosting foods in your toddler’s meals to help promote healing and recovery.

Foods to Avoid During a Toddler’s Fever

When your toddler has a fever, it is important to be mindful of the foods you offer them. Some foods can worsen their symptoms or be difficult for their bodies to digest while they are fighting off an illness.

Here are some foods to avoid when your toddler has a fever:

Foods to AvoidWhy to Avoid Them
Sugary foods and drinksCan decrease immune system function and cause dehydration
Fatty, greasy, or fried foodsCan be difficult to digest and may cause stomach upset
Caffeinated beveragesCan cause dehydration and disrupt sleep
Citrus fruits and juicesMay cause stomach upset or aggravate sore throat
Spicy foodsMay cause stomach upset or aggravate sore throat

If your toddler experiences nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea as a result of their fever, it is also important to avoid dairy products, as they can be difficult to digest and worsen these symptoms.

By avoiding these foods and opting for nutrient-rich, easy-to-digest options instead, you can help support your toddler’s recovery and keep them comfortable during their fever.

Managing Appetite Changes

A fever can cause appetite changes in toddlers, making it difficult for parents to ensure that their child is getting the proper nutrition. Here are some tips for managing appetite changes during a fever:

  • Offer small, frequent meals throughout the day instead of a few large meals.
  • Focus on nutrient-dense foods that are easy to digest.
  • Be patient and understanding if your child is refusing to eat. Remember that their appetite will likely return once the fever subsides.
  • Encourage your child to drink fluids to stay hydrated.

If your child is experiencing severe appetite changes or is refusing to eat or drink anything, it is important to consult with a pediatrician for personalized advice.

Ensuring Proper Food Safety

During a toddler’s fever, it’s important to take extra precautions when handling food to prevent the spread of illness. Here are some guidelines to ensure proper food safety:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and hot water before and after handling food.
  • Clean all surfaces and utensils that come into contact with food, including cutting boards, knives, and dishes.
  • Cook all meat, poultry, and eggs thoroughly to kill any harmful bacteria.
  • Refrigerate or freeze perishable foods promptly, and avoid leaving food out at room temperature for more than two hours.
  • Discard any food that seems spoiled or has an unusual odor, color, or texture.

By following these guidelines, you can help keep your toddler and the rest of your family healthy and safe during a fever.

Seeking Medical Advice

It is important to note that every child is different, and their nutritional needs may vary depending on their age and overall health. If you have any concerns or questions about feeding your toddler during a fever, it is always recommended to seek medical advice from a trusted pediatrician.

A pediatrician can provide personalized advice and recommendations based on your child’s specific needs and circumstances. They may also be able to identify any underlying health conditions or issues that could be contributing to your child’s fever and offer appropriate treatment options.

If your child’s fever persists or if they are experiencing other symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, or severe dehydration, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. These symptoms could be signs of a more severe illness or infection that requires prompt medical intervention.

Additional Tips for Feeding a Toddler with Fever

Feeding a toddler with fever can be a daunting task, but there are ways to make it easier on both you and your child. Here are some additional tips and advice to keep in mind:

Offer Small, Frequent Meals

A toddler’s appetite may decrease during a fever, so offering small and frequent meals throughout the day can help ensure they are getting enough nutrition. Opt for nutrient-dense foods and snacks that are easy to digest, such as mashed sweet potato, avocado, or apple sauce.

Encourage Fluid Consumption

Keeping your toddler hydrated is crucial during a fever. In addition to water, offer broths, coconut water, or diluted fruit juices to help replenish lost fluids and electrolytes. Avoid sugary drinks or caffeine, which can dehydrate the body.

Be Mindful of Food Texture

A toddler’s throat may feel sore or scratchy during a fever, so offering soft and easy-to-swallow foods can help ease their discomfort. Opt for soft fruits, cooked vegetables, and well-cooked grains like rice or oatmeal.

Stick to Familiar Foods

Introducing new foods during a fever may not be well received by your toddler. Stick to foods they are familiar with and enjoy to help keep mealtime stress-free.

Get Creative with Presentation

Toddlers can be picky eaters, but getting creative with food presentation can make mealtime more appealing. Use cookie cutters to cut fruit into fun shapes or make a smiley face with veggies on their plate.

Monitor Your Child’s Symptoms

If your child’s fever persists or they show other concerning symptoms, it’s important to seek medical attention. Monitor their symptoms closely and consult with their pediatrician if you have any concerns.

Feeding a toddler with fever can be challenging, but with the right approach, it can also be an opportunity to introduce new and nutritious foods to their diet. By following these additional tips and advice, you can help support your toddler’s recovery and overall health.

Foods and Meal Ideas for a Toddler with Fever

When your toddler is battling a fever, it’s crucial to provide them with nutritious foods that can help boost their immune system and aid in their recovery. Here are some meal ideas and recipes to try:

Warm oatmeal: Cooked with milk or water and topped with mashed banana or sliced strawberries for added nutrition.
Fruit smoothie: Blend together frozen berries, Greek yogurt, and a banana for a nutrient-dense and easy-to-digest breakfast.
Chicken noodle soup: Homemade or store-bought, chicken noodle soup is a classic choice for a reason. Add some cooked vegetables, such as carrots and celery, for added nutrition.
Cheese quesadilla: Made with whole wheat tortillas and filled with shredded cheddar cheese and cooked chicken or vegetables for added protein and nutrients.
Baked salmon: Season a salmon fillet with dill and lemon and bake in the oven for a protein-rich dinner option.
Vegetable stir-fry: Sautee mixed vegetables, such as broccoli, bell peppers, and carrots, in a small amount of oil and serve over rice or quinoa for a nutrient-dense meal.

Remember to incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables into your toddler’s diet during a fever. Offer small, nutrient-dense snacks throughout the day, such as sliced apples with peanut butter or baby carrots with hummus.

Always consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your toddler’s diet during a fever.


Feeding a toddler with fever can be challenging, but it is important to provide nutritious foods that can aid in recovery and boost their immune system. Proper nutrition and hydration are crucial during this time, and incorporating immune-boosting foods, fruits and vegetables, protein-rich options, and nutrient-dense snacks can help provide necessary nourishment. It is also important to avoid certain foods that may worsen the fever and to ensure proper food safety when preparing meals.

Managing appetite changes and seeking medical advice from a pediatrician are also important steps to consider. Overall, it is important to approach feeding a toddler with fever with patience and understanding, as they may have food aversions and challenges. By following these best practices and incorporating the meal ideas and recipes suggested, parents can help support their toddler’s recovery during this time.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Feeding a toddler with fever can be a challenging experience for any parent. Below, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions that may help alleviate some of the stress.

Q: What are some good foods to give to a toddler with fever?

A: Some good options include nutrient-dense soups, stews, and broths, smoothies packed with fruits and veggies, and soft, easily digestible foods such as cooked vegetables and oatmeal.

Q: How important is hydration during a toddler’s fever?

A: Proper hydration is crucial during a toddler’s fever. Offer water, breast milk, or formula frequently in small amounts. You may also include foods with high water content, such as fruits and vegetables.

Q: Are there any foods I should avoid giving my toddler during a fever?

A: Yes, avoid giving your toddler sugary or processed foods, greasy or fried foods, and dairy products, which can be difficult to digest. Additionally, avoid foods that your toddler has had an allergic reaction to in the past.

Q: My toddler has a decreased appetite during their fever. What should I do?

A: Encourage your toddler to eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Offer their favorite foods and try to make mealtime as enjoyable as possible. Remember that the most important thing is to keep your toddler hydrated.

Q: When should I consult a pediatrician?

A: It’s important to consult a pediatrician if your toddler has a fever that lasts for more than a few days, if their fever is accompanied by other symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea, or if you have any concerns about your toddler’s health.

Q: Are there any foods that can worsen my toddler’s fever?

A: Yes, avoid giving your toddler spicy or hot foods, which can raise their body temperature and worsen their fever.

Q: Can I give my toddler over-the-counter medications to reduce their fever?

A: It’s best to consult with a pediatrician before giving any medication to your toddler. Some over-the-counter medications can be harmful to young children and may interact with other medications.

Q: What are some tips for ensuring proper food safety during my toddler’s fever?

A: Be sure to wash your hands and your toddler’s hands often, and avoid cross-contamination of foods. Store food properly and discard any leftovers that have been in the fridge for more than 2 days.

Q: What should I do if my toddler refuses to eat?

A: Offer small, frequent meals throughout the day and try to make mealtime as enjoyable as possible. If your toddler consistently refuses to eat, consult with a pediatrician.

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