Sick Day Comfort Foods

 It takes less than 30 minutes for Americans to start to feel relief after indulging in their favorite sick-day foods.
That’s according to a survey of 2,000 millennial parents of school-aged children. Results revealed that soup (65%), broth (42%), crackers (35%) and popsicles (35%) topped the list of parent’s favorite comfort foods.
Other less common but still favorite comfort foods include stew (21%) and pasta (14%).
While the top sick-day foods list came out similarly for children, they are more likely to prefer mac and cheese (23%), toast (21%), pudding (20%) and oatmeal (14%) than their parents.
When parents were asked their least favorite sick-time meal, spicy foods (37%), chili (21%) and ginger (16%) came out on top. Interestingly, parents don’t share the same love of mac and cheese with their kids, as 12% admit it is their least favorite comfort food.
Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Delsym, results also revealed that the average parent has been enjoying their favorite comfort foods, like honey (27%) or toast (21%), for 13 years.
Sickness strikes an average of three times per year, according to respondents. And from when the first person starts feeling bad, 60% have 48 hours or less before the rest of the house becomes symptomatic.
In fact, most respondents (68%) admit their child is usually patient zero, more so than themselves (18%) or their partner (11%).
Household responsibilities such as chores and cleaning (62%), running errands (61%) and hobbies (53%) get pushed by the wayside until they’ve recovered.
More than one-third (36%) also admit that cooking tends to also be brushed off.
This may have something to do with the fact that 83% of respondents believe they can recover faster if they’re able to properly take a break and rest.
But that doesn’t mean parents aren’t indulging in their necessary R&R with their kids. When the whole household is sick, families come together and watch TV (71%), take a nap (69%), sip hot beverages (50%) and cook comfort meals (40%).
“When sickness strikes, it’s no secret that it can bring a functioning household to a complete stop,” said Albert So, Marketing Director, Upper Respiratory Brands at Reckitt. “Not only is it important to let your body recover, indulging in favorite feel-better foods can bring not only symptom relief but bring the whole family together.”
To prepare for sick days, most parents purchase over-the-counter medications (70%), monitor the rest of the household for symptoms (56%) and contact work or school (51%).
Others jump straight into changing the bedding (41%) and stocking up on favorite drinks (38%) and meals (28%).
Symptoms that typically keep respondents out of work or school include headaches or migraines (62%), congestion (57%) and a sore throat (55%).
While 34% try to power through a dry cough, a similar number (32%) would want someone else with that symptom to stay home.
Respondents also feel that if someone else has symptoms like a juicy cough (52%), sore throat (51%) and stomachache (49%), it’s best to stay away from school or work.
“There is never a “perfect” time to be sick. But the survey revealed that small things like having a clean house (58%) or ready-to-make comfort meals (55%) can make things much easier,” said So. “In fact, respondents shared that many of them (43%) relieve their symptoms by eating soothing or comforting meals. When the whole family is down for the count, spending time with one another can lead to feeling better together.”
Relief from symptoms – 62%
The ingredients – 44%
The temperature – 41%
Who made it – 22%
If it’s reheatable – 22%
Soup – 65%
Broth (chicken, vegetable, bone, etc.) – 42%
Crackers – 35%
Popsicles – 29%
Honey – 27%
Toast – 21%
Stew – 21%
Ginger – 18%
Applesauce – 16%
Rice – 14%
Pasta – 14%
Oatmeal – 13%
Chili – 13%
Spicy foods – 12%
Mac and cheese – 12%
Roasted chicken – 11%
Pudding – 10%
Survey methodology:
This random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 millennial parents of school-aged kids was commissioned by Delsym between Oct. 11 and Oct. 17, 2023. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).