More often than not, parents are anxious about what food to give children during sickness than the medicines. This anxiety is very real, as the children suffering from fever and cough/cold refuse to take any food at all and the parents are struggling to find healthy and suitable food which will not worsen the condition. The cardinal rules to remember while cooking food for children are
The agni/digestive power in the child is very low. The indigestion (the ama produced due to it) probably, is the reason behind the fever, cough and cold.
The body is busy fighting the illness which should be supported with rest, medicines and the right kind of diet.
The immunity of the child is already low, so it is not a good idea to feed uncooked food. Owing to this vulnerability there will be more chances that the child may get affected further.
Here are some guidelines to prepare food for kids who are suffering from fever and cough/cold
There are 2 reasons or logic behind advising a pathya:
The food itself is not suitable for the disease condition and may have opposite qualities (Guna) to that of the medicines.
Since the agni is low, any food which is heavy for digestion may either take up all the enzymes for its digestion and leaving very little enzymes for the medicines to be synthesised and assimilated.
Food prepared should be fresh and well cooked.
The food should be light to digest and should be warm.
The food should be fed in small quantities and if needed can be fed again after an interval if the child expresses hunger.
Avoid ingredients like potato, peas green chillies, cabbage, cauliflower, maida, besan, noodles, pasta and boxed foods.
Salads, fruits, fruit juices and other uncooked foods should be avoided.
It is good to avoid milk and milk products too.
Rice: Plain rice/red rice/parboiled red rice (unpolished or semi polished rice like red rice/Rajmudi rice is more preferable because of the higher nutritive value and iron content)- 1 part
Water- 6 parts
Method: Wash and dry roast the rice well. Cool it and grind to make a coarse powder. Bring the water to boil and pour the coarse powder into it slowly while mixing it with a ladle to avoid lumps. Boil till the water is reduced to half. Small amount of salt or sugar can be added according to the preference of the child.
This is a basic recipe. Few additions can be made to make it more palatable if the child desires. Options are: melted cow’s ghee, roasted jeera powder, fresh ginger juice.
Yusha/ Yavagu (Modified to improve taste)
Rice (unpolished or semi polished rice like red rice/Rajmudi rice is more preferable because of the higher nutritive value and iron content)- 50 g (quarter cup)
Split green gram: 1 tbsp (Avoid if the child has severe cold)
Curry leaves: 2 sprigs
Fresh ginger juice: half tsp
Cow’s ghee: 2 tsp
Hing: Tiny pinch
Whole jeera :half tsp
Whole pepper: 8 corns
Turmeric powder- quarter tsp
Salt as per taste
Method: Dry roast both the rice and green gram (if using). Cook both in a cooker with 4 times water (1 cup water for quarter cup of rice) and keep it ready.
In a wok/vessel: First pour the ghee, add hing, whole jeera, peppercorns and curry leaves. Now add half cup of water and bring it to boil. Add turmeric, salt and fresh ginger juice. Add the cooked rice and green gram and mix. Cook until, it reaches a semi liquid/semi solid consistency as per your child’s preference.
This preparation yavagu possesses grahi (digestive and absorbable), balya (strengthen the body), tarpani (nutritious) and vatanasini (pacify the vitiated vata) properties. Charaka recommends this Yavagu may be prescribed as antipyretic (during fever), antidysenteric (during loose motions), anti-colic (during stomach pain), and anthelmintic (during treatment for intestinal worms).
Ayurveda offers safe, gentle and effective medicines for the treatment of fever.
Some of the important medicines which you should have at home are
Rasnadi churnam: To apply on the crown
Nostricap: For inhalation