When we’re feeling unwell, it’s often favourite childhood foods that we crave. It’s their emotional association with comfort and caring, of course. But it’s also that the foods which tempted our appetites, settled our stomachs, or gave us energy after a bout of childhood illness, will do the same job now that we are adults.
My go-to, feel-better food is a milkshake. When I was a child, we’d make these with instant, out-of-the-box powder. I loved the sickly pinkness of it then, although now I can’t stand the artificial colour and taste. Instead, I whizz up berries from the freezer with ice-cold milk – it might be cow’s milk, almond or oat, depending on the flavour I fancy. If I’m in the mood for chocolate, I’ll blend the milk with melted cacao nibs or good-quality chocolate. Chilled chocolate milk is incredibly soothing.
I recommend homemade milkshakes to my patients, too, especially if they have lost their appetite. This simple hug-in-a-glass is thinner than a smoothie, helping it to slip down easily. Sipping a small glass can ‘wake up’ their desire to eat, preventing a vicious cycle of eating less, so wanting less, leading to a lack of nourishment. A simple milkshake will provide plenty of protein and carbohydrates, plus vitamins and fibre from the fruit.
So, indulge your inner child with a milkshake next time you’re feeling low and out of sorts. If it’s good enough for Peppa…
Peanut butter & banana 1tbsp peanut butter and half a banana
Raspberry ripple fresh raspberries and a scoop of raspberry ice cream
Strawberry & vanilla fresh strawberries, drop of vanilla essence
Almond & tahini almond milk, 1tbsp tahini, 2 Medjool dates
Black Forest dark cherries and melted cacao nibs
Mango & yoghurt half diced mango and kefir