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6 Foods To Avoid When You Have a Sore Throat

When your throat starts feeling scratchy and sore, these foods may make you feel even worse.
FACT CHECKED BY Jordan Powers Willard

A sore throat is when you have pain, scratchiness, or irritation in the throat and it can feel worse when you swallow. When the cold weather settles in, so do sore throats. Those sore throats can get annoying, especially when you're trying to get everything on your to-do list done. In my experience, swallowing liquids can be painful, let alone eating! However, You certainly want to keep on track with a healthy diet to help your body heal.

You certainly want to In addition to keeping hydrated while under the weather with a sore throat, even when you feel that initial tickle starting to come on. Additionally, there are certain types of food you may want to steer clear of to increase your chances of rebounding quickly with a more speedy recovery.

Below are six foods that you should avoid when feeling under the weather with a sore throat. Also, for more ideas on how to soothe your sore throat, be sure to also check out 4 Best Foods to Eat for a Sore Throat, Says Dietitian.

Crunchy snacks

chips and pretzels

Foods like chips, crackers, and other such foods may feel sharp when swallowed and cause more pain and irritation. The jagged edges of these foods can poke into your already sore throat making it painful. Softer foods tend to fare better with a sore throat. If crackers are all that you're in the mood for while sick, you can dip them in warm tea to soften them up.

Citrus fruit

citrus fruits

They are packed with vitamin C, which is great for when you're ill. However, if the acidity of fresh fruits like oranges, lemons, and limes enhance the tickle in your throat when you eat them, then it's best to pass on them until your sore throat subsides. Juices, ice pops, and smoothies made with citrus fruit may also be irritating, so temporarily hold off if they bother you. To soothe a sore throat with citrus, squeeze a wedge into warm tea or even with plain warm water and honey. To soothe a sore throat with citrus, squeeze a wedge into warm tea or even with plain warm water and honey. You can also turn to other foods with vitamin C that are softer like mashed potatoes, or sautéed peppers.

Acidic foods

Tomato sauce

Just like citrus fruit, acidic foods like tomato sauce may be irritating to your throat. If they are, then temporarily avoid until your pain subsides—and then bring on the (healthier) pizza!

Spicy foods

jars hot sauce

For some folks, when they have a sore throat they need to put down the hot sauce or sriracha. These types of foods may be irritating to the area in the throat that is inflamed or further irritate the throat. If that's you, then take the spiciness out of your diet just until the sore throat passes.

Hard raw vegetables

carrots and celery sticks

Carrot and celery stalks are certainly healthy, but their toughness may be bothersome if brushed on the area of your throat that is irritated. If their toughness bothers your sore throat, then opt for cooked veggies or even pureed veggies like mashed potatoes for the time being. You can go back to dipping those raw veggies in hummus once your throat is on the mend.

Breaded and Fried Foods

fried foods

Although fried chicken and fried onion rings may be comforting to eat when you're sick, the coarse coating may be irritating to your sore throat. Steer clear until your symptoms ease up—and remember to choose fried foods in small amounts as they aren't the healthiest option, especially when you're sick.

The bottom line:

When you have a sore throat, avoiding these foods while choosing healthier ones and staying  is your best bet to help your body mend. As sore throats can vary in how painful they are, avoid any food that may irritate your throat until you start feeling better.

Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, MS, RD, CDN
Toby Amidor is an award winning dietitian and Wall Street Journal best-selling cookbook author who believes healthy and wholesome can also be appetizing and delicious. Read more about Toby