6 Great Tips for Getting Natural Probiotics into a Sick Child

organic childrens recipes

Being a mum is way harder than I imagined. Even now - even when she's sleeping long hours and pulling her own food (and often, more) out of the fridge. We can hold actual conversations, and she expresses opinions other than 'NOOOOOOO!' 


But when she's sick, she's my baby girl all over again. Suddenly, being a mum (her mum) inundates everything - dishes, dinner, grants, books - because all she needs is me to be close. It's challenging and sweet, to feel loved and needed. Needed. Not in the same way the world needs my research, or my recipe for mayonnaise or my poems. Because do they really? Not in that way, her way.

And when I remember to reshuffle my priorities, there she is. All there is in this world is her.

Nelle had a throat infection recently, which didn't stop her incessant talking but which did require antiobiotics and rest. Lots of Dora the Explorer, and cuddles in bed. And probiotics.

There's growing scientific evidence that our lives are really run from our guts - all those gazillions of bacteria down there can affect our moods, immune function, and may even be linked with health issues such as obesity. So when we're sick, and we take an antibiotic - which nails everything - it's important to make sure those native microflora populating our digestive systems can rebound. 

That's where pro-biotics come in - and no, you don't need special pills from the pharmacist.

Many of the foods we eat everyday contain 'happy' bacterial cultures that improve gut health. I've been using many of these this week to help Nelle recover from a throat infection ... and I thought it might be a helpful list for all of you out there, too. 

And - these are easy, kid-friendly foods that you can make in those 5 minutes your child lets you leave her bed. 
Happy probioticking,
Amanda xx

All-Natural Probiotic Round-Up

Tip #1 :: Go with cultured, fermented or algal foods, which naturally contain gut-happy bacteria:
  • natural yogurt 'with active cultures'
  • miso
  • fermented veggies - sauerkraut, kimchi
  • kefir
  • spriulina

Tip #2 :: Don't get your hopes up on new foods for sick kids.
My daughter doesn't like the sourness of fermented veggies (like sauerkraut), so I tend to stick with smoothies and soups of the yogurt, spirulina and miso variety. And plain yogurt? Forget it. Stir through honey, jam, maple syrup or whatever works.

Tip #3 :: Recipes for making and using natural yogurt:

Tip #3.5 :: All the things you can do with labneh
  • smear it on toast with jam
  • drizzle it with honey for a creamy dessert
  • stir through toasted sesame seeds and salt to accompany Middle Eastern meals
  • stir through minced cilantro (fresh coriander), mint and cucumber to accompany Indian meals
  • substitute for heavy cream on pancakes, cakes or pies

Tip #4 :: Recipes for making and using sauerkraut/kimchi/kombucha/kefir:

NOTE: these fermented goodies take time, and may or may not require starters. Try to keep them as a regular part of your diet, and you'll always have some on-hand.

Tip #5 :: Recipes for using spirulina:

Tip #6 :: Recipes for using miso:

NOTE - normally I don't do soy ... the research shows it may or may not affect breast cancers like mine, but I'd rather not take the risk. I no longer use soy milk and I only have tofu now and then, and I watch out for soy flour in breads and soybean oil in store-bought foods (where we're often getting soy without even knowing).  But I do use miso a few times a month. It's a beautiful, deep flavour and makes an awesome vegetarian broth - just don't overcook it, or it'll lose its full benefits.


  1. I swear I posted a comment the other day on this post, but it looks like gremlins got it! I'd never heard of labneh before, but it looks delicious. Thank you for this post!

  2. @Kelly @ IdealistMom.com My OWN comment back JUST GOT EATEN!!! Oh, Google. Blogger. Interweb.

    I know, loving labneh. Cheryl @ 5 second rule is coming out with a yogurt cookbook soon (http://5secondrule.typepad.com/my_weblog/2013/02/yogurt-culture-cookbook-cheryl-sternman-rule.html) ... WHAT IF there's a WHOLE chapter on labneh???!!!! :)


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Thanks for commenting! Amandaxx