Importance Of Proper Diet In Cases Of Sickness

Preparing and administering the patient's food is an important part of a nurse's work. Recovery, in many cases, depends more upon proper food than upon medicine. The doctor will tell you what to give the patient; but the more you know about food, cooking, and digestion, the more intelligently you will be able to carry out his orders.

Three Kinds Of Diet

Diets for the sick are classified as liquid, light, and convalescent. Liquid diet consists entirely of liquid food. In typhoid fever, and sometimes in other cases of severe illness, nothing but milk is given for a long time. But usually beef-juice or beef-tea, broths, gruels, and, in fevers, cooling drinks are included in liquid diet. Hot milk or cocoa, given at night, induces sleep; tea and coffee are usually forbidden at all times, as too stimulating. Wine or liquor should never be given unless prescribed by the physician.

Light diet is used in less severe illnesses, or when a patient who has been very sick begins to improve. It includes everything belonging to liquid diet, and, in addition, soft-cooked eggs, soup, gelatin jellies, soft puddings, custards, fruit, and a little game, poultry, or tender meat.

Convalescent diet includes all ordinary dishes except those particularly difficult of digestion. The change from one diet to another should be made gradually. Below are given examples of each of these three kinds of diet.

Liquid Diet for One Day .

8 A.M.

Hot milk, 3/4 c.

10 A.M.

Chicken broth, c.

12 A.M.

• • • *


2 P.M.

Hot milk, 1/2 c.

4 P.M.

Buttermilk, or Kumiss, a glassful.

6 P.M.

Chicken broth, 1/4 c.

8 P.M.

Cocoa, 3/4 c.

Light Diet for One Day

breakfast Poached egg on toast. Coffee.


Soft custard.


Broiled mutton chop. Dry toast.


A glass of milk or buttermilk.


Milk toast. Cocoa.

Convalescent Diet For One Day Breakfast

Cereal with cream and sugar. Minced chicken on toast. Whole-wheat muffins.



Soup with rice.

Broiled beefsteak. Baked potatoes.

Peas. Bread and butter.

Snow pudding.

Tea or coffee.


Coddled eggs. Lemon jelly.

Toast. Sponge cake.


Sick People Fed Like Children

You see that invalids have the same sort of food that children do, given as it is to children, frequently and in small quantities. An alimentary canal weakened by illness can be compared to an immature one; so there is sense in reducing the diet of a moderately sick patient to that of a little child, and the diet of a very sick person to almost that of a baby. Never give a patient anything the doctor has forbidden him to eat, no matter how much he wants it.