Thankfully, most sore throats are nothing to worry about and should get better within a week. However, while your little one is recovering, it’s important for them to eat and drink to help them get better. But getting little ones to eat or drink when they have a sore throat, can be challenging. Knowing what foods or drinks are easier for them to swallow, will help to make things easier for you and your child.
Food and drink tips for sore throats:
- If your child doesn’t drink enough liquids, they may become dehydrated, which can get worse if they have a fever. Your priority should be to encourage your little one to drink water or other liquids.
- Stick to cool, soft foods and avoid foods like toast, which can make the throat feel more painful. Warm drinks can be soothing but hot drinks can make the pain feel worse.
There are some great food options that you can try to tempt your little one with, to help them feel better and soothe their pain.
Sugar-free icy lollies or blocks
Sugar-free ice lollies or ice blocks from your freezer are a great way to help soothe their throat while making sure they get enough liquids. If you have the time, try making your own. It’s easy to make nutritious ice blocks by blending fresh fruit with water or coconut water in a blender and then pouring them into ice-cube trays and putting them in the freezer. Avoid using acidic liquids, such as orange juice as this may sting their throat.
However, do avoid giving ice lollies or blocks to young children due to the risk of choking.
Many children like the sweet taste of honey, which can be added to warm (not hot) water to provide a sweet-tasting, soothing “tea”. You can also add a small amount of fresh lemon juice to the honey tea, however, it's important not to give honey to children under the age of 12 months.
There's no home remedy quite like a bowl of soup, and it's a great way to get your child to eat something nourishing. Make sure that you’ve cooled the soup enough to avoid hurting your little one’s throat or you could serve the soup cold. Blended vegetables or watery soups are good options.
You can blend fruit like bananas, nut butter, milk, natural yoghurt or other healthy alternatives with ice cubes, to make a smoothie. This healthy mix will help to soothe, hydrate and nourish your little one.
Wholegrain cereal soaked in milk is a healthy option and by soaking the cereal, it’s less likely to scratch a sore throat.
Yoghurt is an important source of nutrients such as calcium and is easy to eat with a sore throat. If possible, try to choose natural yogurt or unsweetened options.
Mashed or chopped fruit
Fruits make easy snacking foods. A cooled melon, straight from the fridge, cut into small pieces is healthy and soothing. Bananas, once mashed are lovely and soft, and you could even mix them with a little yoghurt to add flavour.
Boiled and mashed eggs
Eggs are a great source of protein for children. You can serve these boiled and cooled or you could also mash the boiled and shelled eggs. They’re soft and nutritious!
Peeled apple slices
Another way to give your child something sweet with a dose of protein is to spread some nut butter onto a slice of peeled apple. A yummy snack that won’t hurt their tender throat.
While not technically a food, throat sweets can relieve a sore throat temporarily. Some are made with anti-septic properties that fight bacteria. However, it is important to read the label and ensure that your child is old enough to take hard sweets or lozenges. Most are recommended for children aged 6+ as there is a risk that younger children may choke.
Another option to relieve pain and fever is to give your child paracetamol or ibuprofen. Nurofen for Children contains ibuprofen and can help relieve pain, in addition to other cold and flu symptoms that often go hand in hand with sore throats, such as headaches, fever and body aches.
With your love and care, your little one should be up and about in no time. If you’re worried, you should see a GP if your child:
- has a sore throat that does not improve after a week
- often get sore throats
- has a sore throat and a very high temperature, or feels hot and shivery
- has a weakened immune system – for example, because of diabetes or chemotherapy
A severe or long-lasting sore throat could be something like strep throat (a bacterial throat infection).
Lastly, you should call 999 or go to your nearest A&E if your child:
- has difficulty swallowing or breathing
- is drooling – this can be a sign of not being able to swallow
- is making a high-pitched sound as they breathe (called stridor)
- has severe symptoms and is getting worse quickly