If you are looking for a science backed report, you have come to the wrong place. I am not a doctor, so why should you take my advice? Well, either way. Let. Me. Tell. You. I was recently attacked by not only mono, but also hepatitis, a sinus infection, and the flu, all at the same time. Another factor: this was my second time having mono (I had it in first grade), which is something that you are basically promised will not happen. My point is, I’m a pro at this infection now and I want to help those out there who are suffering like I was.

For the longest time I was in denial about how sick I was. My tonsils were so swollen they were nearly touching, but that wasn’t the red flag. I realized the gravity of my situation when I got a text from my roomate saying, “Are you okay, I noticed you didn’t finish your breakfast, that's not like you.” She was right.

Food is something I used to daydream about, but now I was so disturbed by it that its name made me gag. However, I knew that I needed it to fuel my recovery, so I went online to find something that would tell me what to push down my infected throat. To my dismay, all I found were articles telling me to eat my fruits and vegetables, protein, and basically anything that would be part of a healthy person’s diet. While I consider myself a health-nut, you could not shove a piece of scratchy kale down my throat to save my life. I knew I had to figure things out on my own, and lucky for you I have lived to tell the tale. Here is food that you can actually stomach, that will hopefully provide some nutritional value to help you recover as quickly as possible.

Fluid Rich Foods

milk, coffee, smoothie, sweet, milkshake, cream, yogurt
Christin Urso

Consistently one of the first things to do when the doctor tells you that you are sick is to drink a lot of fluids. For one, mono usually involves flu-like symptoms, such as a fever, which can be dehydrating. On top of that, I think of fluids as flushing out the disease. I don’t know if that’s accurate, but it’s a nice visual that makes me want to drink water. However, constantly sipping from a bottle can be tedious. Plus when it hurts to swallow, you want to get as much as you can out of each gulp. If you are enduring the pain you might as well get some nutrients while you’re at it.

Smoothies are your friend. You can basically put anything in them. Fruits are naturally high in water so you can be sure that your smoothie is hydrating. It’s always good to splash in some coconut water for extra electrolytes. Most importantly, smoothies are great for sneaking in some greens. Most vegetables are probably hard to eat for you at the moment, but blending them is a game changer. Spinach and zucchini are great additions. Both are high in water content and you won’t even notice they are there. Tea is also a go-to, specifically herbal teas. Chamomile tea is both full of antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties. Drop a spoon full of honey and you have your own throat soothing elixir.


berry, raspberry, sweet, strawberry
Torey Walsh

Berries are a great way to get these immune system supporters into your system. When I was on my deathbed, I just wanted something refreshing and juicy. Popping some berries in my mouth satisfied that craving. The top contender for me in this category was raspberries because they practically dissolve in your mouth and don’t involve potentially irritating seeds. Blueberries are also great, and their dark color indicates an antioxidant overload.


egg, chicken, egg yolk
Jocelyn Hsu

Eating protein gets harder when you are sick, but it’s so important for maintaining your cell health and strengthening your immune system. Particularly in the worst of it, meat is pretty much impossible to put down. I would opt for softer options such as eggs and tofu. For me the MVP was lentil pasta. This gluten free pasta made entirely out of lentil flour was a perfect balance of carbs and protein. Top it off with some sauce and voila! You have a meal that actually isn’t bland for once!

Healthy Fats

Becky Hughes

Here we are talking specifically about fats like omega-3 fatty acids. This miracle compound helps to reduce inflammation (which is all you can ask for) and gives your immune system a much needed boost. Top off anything with some almond butter or eat it by the spoonful, whatever works. Add some chia seeds and flax seeds to your smoothie for some extra nutrition. Also, pro-tip for if you are bored (which you probably are). Sprinkle a few chia seeds into your water. When you take a sip you not only get the health benefits, but you also can play with the squishy gelatinous things the soaked chia seeds have transformed into.

Food to Avoid

coffee, espresso, cappuccino, mocha
Jocelyn Hsu

Even though your diet is already pretty limited, there are some items you should try to limit as much as possible. The first one being carbs, particularly from sources like white bread. Carbs and foods with a lot of sugar trigger inflammation in the body, which is something you don’t need more of. You also want to steer clear from caffeine. When you have mono you need your rest, and caffeine can disrupt your natural sleep cycle. Dairy products may also have to put on hold for the time being. While it is uncertain whether dairy makes you produce more mucus, it certainly thickens your saliva. Whatever the deal is, you don’t need any more funky stuff happening in your mouth, so just put the ice cream down.

Unfortunately, there is no magic pill for mono. Trust me, if there was one, I would have taken it. You just have to let it “run its course”. Ugh. When it feels like at times you will never again see the light of day, think of me. I am living proof that you can (and will) survive. You got this, my mono friends, and if you need someone to come cuddle and watch movies with, I’m your girl. I heard you can’t get it a third time... but I’ve been lied to before, so fingers crossed.