I get asked a lot “what are the best low carb things to eat when you’re sick?” My answer always depends on a number of factors, of course – like what’s wrong, whether you need to stay in nutritional ketosis for health reasons, what foods appeal to you at all, etc.
In those cases just make sure you’re getting plenty of liquids. Ideally water and chicken broth.
Broth provides the sodium and electrolytes your body needs.
I mentioned in my last food diary that I’ve been sick over the last week.
It started with the flu, which fortunately wasn’t that bad. Maybe because I had a flu earlier this season, or maybe because I took Zicam as soon as I experienced symptoms after being exposed to it.
This was a weird flu that included nausea and upset stomach, as I was about 3 days behind my friend with it and they had the exact same symptoms.
But on top of that, I had a bad reaction to the Zicam – which started with instant indigestion, a not too friendly case of it either, and ultimately turned into IBS, which has to be one of the most miserable things under the sun!
NOTHING appealed, even the smell of food made my stomach turn.
I drank plenty of water and just tried to eat bland foods, or anything that didn’t make me nauseous, and just ate in smaller portions – until I got through it.
I mentioned in my last food diary too that I remembered I had Roast Chicken Bone Broth and Know Thins (very low carb crackers) in my pantry.
Definitely two things you want to keep on hand for “keto emergencies” in your pantry. 😉
I also found some chicken in my freezer yesterday. If I hadn’t been too sick to think (lol) it would have been great to discover those earlier in the week! 😛
Keto Friendly Foods For An Upset Stomach
Whether you have a head cold, stomach flu, food poisoning or an upset stomach for any other reason you typically want to stick to bland foods that don’t offend your senses or upset your stomach any further.
My top suggestions for keto foods when you’re sick include things that provide some good nutritional value, plus protein and fat to make you feel satisfied in smaller portions.
Most of these are also great keto friendly options when you’ve had dental work, or need to be on a “soft food” type diet.
- soft scrambled eggs (with cheese if you can tolerate dairy)
- chicken broth
- plain, tender chicken in broth
- cauliflower rice
- peanut butter or almond butter
- plain low carb crackers or breads
What you might add or take away from that list is entirely up to you, and how you’re feeling – and why.
If you have IBS, like in my case, you definitely want to avoid high fiber green vegetables as those can cause incredibly painful gas that contributes to the problem and the pain.
Keep in mind that salt is your friend when you’re sick, and probably the only spice/seasoning you’ll even be able to tolerate. Salt will help you rehydrate quicker too.
As a final note too, I’ll say: if ANYTHING sounds good, keto friendly or not, and you don’t NEED to stay in nutritional ketosis for health reasons (ie Type 2 Diabetes, Epilepsy, etc) – by all means, eat what you can and then get back on track as soon as you’re feeling better. 😉
If I could have thought of a single non-keto food that DID sound good, I definitely would have eaten it -lol. There are times that ALL you need to focus on is getting well!
My Low Carb Meals on Saturday
I got up on Saturday and HAD to find a way to feel better. I grabbed the broth and crackers I mentioned having in my keto pantry, and looked through the freezer too.
That’s when I found the chicken breast strips I was going to make “keto chicken tenders” with – and laid it out to thaw.
Remember when I made beef tips in the slow cooker recently?
That’s exactly what I did for this meal, except instead of beef & beef broth I tossed chicken & chicken broth into the slow cooker.
I made one serving of the Roast Chicken Bone Broth, except I added 3 scoops instead of two to the same amount of water to make it a bit more rich.
The broth is nicely seasoned but not overpowering, so it’s great to cook or simmer with. It has “himalayan sea salt and turmeric with savory notes of garlic, onion, celery & black pepper.”
I salted the chicken and put it in the slow cooker, then poured the bone broth over the top – put the lid on it and turned it on high for 5 hours. That’s it! 😉
Confession: I had NO idea how (or if) that would turn out.
REWIND – Back to breakfast and lunch…
I haven’t mentioned these yet, but I’ve tried them twice in my coffee now and love them. It’s an MCT C8/C10 Packet from FBOMB, the same company that makes those nut butter packets I love so much!
I just make my coffee as usual, except I put it in a shaker bottle, then add the MCT C8/C10 packet – which is just a pure, liquid oil with no flavor. The shaker bottle works great because the oil likes to separate.
Knowing that MCT oil holds me over for awhile, I had considered it several times this week when I was hungry (and weak) but did NOT feel like eating anything. But I was worried that much oil would upset my stomach further.
I was wrong!
I got brave yesterday and tried it, and felt INSTANT tummy relief.
Go figure. Not only did it satisfy my hunger and make me feel less light headed, it also seemed to coat my aching stomach with a very soothing feeling.
That helped so much I had it again this morning with my first coffee. 😉
FBOMB makes good clean food. Their nut butter packets are a staple in my keto life, but I’ve been avoiding nuts & dairy (mostly) this week while I didn’t feel well – just to be on the safe side.
This MCT C8/C10 oil is not at all like putting “regular coconut oil” in your coffee. It’s much “smoother” and almost creamy (but not). I don’t know how else to describe it. 😛
I love it though, and it’s definitely great if you’re skipping breakfast.
Low Carb Crackers
The Know Thins are kinda weird. I love them and I don’t. They have a new Garlic & Herb flavor but I prefer the classic/plain crackers. To be honest I can’t tell that much of a difference between them.
What I do NOT like about them is the packaging.
I recommend you transfer them to a tightly sealed container, or your own resealable bag, because theirs is not – and it always rips open, making it impossible to keep them fresh before you finish the whole box.
They do have a great CRISP to them though, and they made a great bland snack with a bit of creamy swiss dabbed on each.
The crackers are from Know Foods and our coupon code is LOWCARBTRAVELER
I decided to stick to peanut butter though, because dairy can aggravate an upset stomach more sometimes, and this made for a GREAT snack while I wasn’t feeling well.
The peanut butter and crackers were low enough in carbs, bland enough not to be offending, and high fat enough to keep me satisfied for awhile.
After having the MCT oil in my coffee, I just snacked a bit on the peanut butter & crackers at my desk while I worked.
Then I felt a little better after that coffee, like I said, so I thought I might try some of Lolli’s Cinnamon Pecan Crunch low carb cookie clusters.(you can use my discount code LOWCARBTRAVELER on their site).
It sounds good, and I was all for eating anything that sounded good at all. Especially Lolli’s cookie clusters, because it’s delicious. 😉
Click here and use my coupon LOWCARBTRAVELER for a discount.
THAT is when something magical happened!
I dipped my peanut butter cracker into the Cinnamon Pecan Crunch granola and – WOWSA. Why did I never think to pair that with peanut butter before?!
I have to come up with some creative way to use this new combination of cinnamon granola & peanut butter – besides a cracker or a spoon, lol.
Although, I’ll probably have it JUST LIKE THAT again tonight. 🙂
The simple snack foods and fatty coffee got me through the day. I haven’t had much of an appetite all week, but by dinner I was feeling up for a “real meal.”
I put the chicken and broth in the slow cooker on high for 5 hours, and only added salt. I had a bag of cauliflower rice and steamable green beans in the freezer, so it only took 10 minutes to create two quick sides to go with the chicken.
I had mine plain, but I gave Aaron some choices of sauces & spices for his. He put Lemon Pepper Dill on his chicken and said that was delicious.
The Roast Chicken Bone Broth made my chicken an interesting color lol, but the flavor was spot on!
I decided to chance half a serving of green beans with sea salt plus a serving of cauliflower rice, but otherwise stuck to plain chicken and plenty of broth – more like a soup.
If I was still feeling nauseous, I would have stuck to broth and chicken with salt only. Whether or not you can tolerate the fiber in vegetables depends on how you’re feeling and what your symptoms are.
I had been craving a Diet Coke for several days, and felt like the fizzy MIGHT make my rumbling tummy feel better – but then I was afraid it would just aggravate the problem.
I got one just in case, and ended up drinking about 1/3 of it with my dinner. And it DID help.
Oh, and just to clarify: less than half a Diet Coke won’t kill you, and it isn’t “not keto” – it’s zero carbs. 🙂
I say: do whatever it takes to feel better! 😉
I also had 4 coffees and 64 ounces of water yesterday.
Here’s how I logged those meals…
MyFitnessPal Food Diary for Saturday
19 Net Carbs
Protein: 59 grams
79% Fat, 16% Protein
You’ll notice that Protein is only 16% of my total daily calories, yet I had 59 grams of protein. The recommended daily amount of protein for women is 46 grams a day.
So while I’m eating “high fat” I’m also getting *plenty* of protein.
This is why you can’t go by grams, but rather have to go by ratios or percentages. See this link for a detailed explanation & illustration of proper macro ratios:
I had the oil in my coffee again this morning, then I made low carb blueberry muffins – because that sounded good today! And for dinner I’m finishing off a small bowl of chicken & broth (no veggies this time)…
I feel MUCH better today – like 100x better than the last 3 or 4 days in a row. Not 100% but definitely a huge difference. Yay! I’m off to rest for the evening and crossing my fingers for a better week ahead. 😉
How are things going with you?
Can you think of some other great options to add to the list of keto-friendly foods to eat when you’re sick, or have an upset stomach? The more ideas the better!
Leave a comment and let’s chat!:)
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