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Recipes and food for a healthy diet

The form below can be used by the service provider or community worker who is giving nutritional education to people living with HIV/AIDS, for recommending one or more recipes to address a specific complication or disease.



Recipes for...(fill in complications such as diarrhoea, sore mouth, etc.)

Complications (specific comments such as diarrhoea for x days, foods not advised, etc.)




The recipes selected below are suggestions for food and drinks that may help to address some of the common complications arising from HIV/AIDS. All recipes should be pre-tested in countries and local situations and be adapted to locally available foods and taste preferences.

People living with HIV/AIDS may have problems in digesting fat (particularly when they are suffering from diarrhoea). In these cases, fat should be used in moderation, following the recommendations given.

Beans and tomatoes (easy and fast to prepare)

1 medium size tin baked beans, 1 medium size tin tomatoes or 5 fresh chopped tomatoes, parsley, basil leaves, grated cheese

Mix the beans and tomatoes together. Bring to boil and simmer slowly for ten minutes. Add freshly chopped herbs. Sprinkle grated cheese over before serving.

(You can also add minced meat or chopped leafy greens and simmer together with the vegetables.)

Bean broth

Beans, water, salt

Boil the beans (using more water than usual) until they are well cooked. Drink the broth or use it to make other soups. Serve to family members who do not have diarrhoea.

(You can also boil rice, maize meal or millet with the broth to add carbohydrates for more energy.)

Beef and lentils

Minced beef, onion, margarine, lentils (soaked overnight), carrots, salt, pepper, water, spinach or other green leaves, lemon juice

Fry beef and chopped onion in margarine in a large saucepan. When meat is brown add lentils, chopped carrots, salt and pepper. Add water, cover and cook until lentils are tender (about 30 minutes). Add chopped green leaves and boil another ten minutes. Add a squeeze of lemon juice to serve.

Beef broth

Beef, water, carrot, onion, parsley, salt, pepper

Boil beef in water with chopped vegetables and parsley until beef is well cooked. Season to taste.

Carrot soup

Carrots, water, salt, cinnamon (optional)

Chop carrots and bring to the boil with water. Cook slowly until carrots are soft and then mash them. Add a pinch of salt and ground cinnamon.

Chicken stew

Pieces of chicken (raw or cooked), onion, garlic, oil, potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, water, greens

Fry the onion and garlic in a little oil. Add the chicken, potatoes, carrots and pumpkin. Add water just to cover. Bring to boil and then simmer until vegetables are very soft. Mash vegetables and chicken together. Add finely chopped greens before serving.

(If you have a sore mouth, cook the stew without the chicken and mash the vegetables until smooth. Cut the chicken in small pieces, cook separately and then add to the vegetables.)

Corn and cheese chowder

2 cups potatoes, 1 cup carrots, 1 cup celery, water, 1 tin corn, milk, 1 cup grated cheese, salt, pepper

Chop potatoes, carrots and celery. Boil slowly in one cup of water for 15 minutes. Add corn and simmer for five more minutes. Add milk and heat until boiling. Remove from heat and add grated cheese and salt and pepper to taste.

Energy drink

Large clove of garlic, turmeric, finely chopped fresh or ground ginger, water, milk

Boil together all the ingredients. Simmer for ten minutes. Cool slightly. Add a teaspoon of honey or sugar if you like the drink sweet.

(If you have diarrhoea or difficulty in digesting milk, replace it with water.)

Fish curry and yellow rice

Fish, onions, garlic, ginger, oil, tomatoes, mild curry powder, any combination of vegetables, water, lemon juice, dried coconut, jam, salt

For the rice: rice, water, turmeric, dried coconut, jam, lemon juice, salt

Chop and fry the onions, garlic and ginger in a little oil until brown. Chop and add the tomatoes. Add the curry powder, fish and vegetables. Cook until soft. Add water if necessary. Add lemon juice, coconut, jam and salt to taste.

(Prepare the rice as you normally do, but add turmeric to the water when you start cooking. It will make the rice yellow.)

Garlic oil

Crushed garlic, vegetable oil

Put the crushed garlic in the oil. Leave in a warm place for three days. Strain off the garlic. Keep the garlic oil in a cool place. Use for cooking, salads, etc.

Ginger drink

8 cups clean water, 3 teaspoons ginger, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1 small chopped pineapple

Mix all the ingredients and leave in a warm place for a day in a clean and covered container. Drink the ginger juice.

(You can eat the pineapple.)

Ginger tea

Ginger, water

Crush ginger in cold water and boil in water for ten minutes. Place in a covered container, strain the ginger and drink three cups of the liquid per day before meals.

Greens stew

Greens or other vegetables (such as cabbage, pumpkin, squash, green beans, sprouted beans and peas), onions, garlic, ginger, cinnamon, coriander or mild curry powder, cayenne (if you like a hot taste), oil, chopped meat (optional; use bones or mince), water, carrots, tomatoes, potatoes, lemon juice

Chop and fry the onions, garlic and spices over medium heat in a little oil. When onions are brown, add the meat and water. Cook meat at a high temperature until well done and soft. Chop and add the vegetables other than the greens. Cover and simmer until the vegetables are soft. Chop and add the greens ten minutes before the dish is ready. Add lemon juice to help digestion.

High protein stir-fry

Chicken, meat (including liver), fish, oil, onions, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, any combination of vegetables, water, lemon juice

Heat two tablespoons oil in a pan over medium heat. Cut the meat or fish into small pieces and fry with onions, garlic and spices until brown. Add chopped vegetables and 1/4 cup water. Cover and turn heat down to low. Cook for five minutes, so that the vegetables are still crisp. Add a squeeze of lemon juice.

Lentil or split pea soup

Dried lentils or split peas, water, vegetables (carrots, potatoes, greens or other), salt, garlic

Soak lentils or split peas in water overnight. Cook until fairly soft. Add chopped vegetables and cook until soft. Add salt and garlic.

Lentil porridge

Lentils, peanut butter

Roast lentils and pound. Boil the pounded lentils until soft. Add peanut butter and mix.

(You can use cowpeas or beans instead of lentils.)

Liver stew

Liver, garlic, margarine or oil, pumpkin, soup mixture (rice, barley, lentils and split peas), water, thyme, salt, pepper

Cut liver into small pieces and fry with garlic in a little margarine or oil. Add grated pumpkin, soup mixture, water, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to the boil and simmer for about one hour.

Mixed beans with spinach

Mixed beans, water, salt, onions, garlic, margarine or oil, tomatoes, spinach or other green leaves, pepper

Boil beans. Fry chopped onions and garlic in a little margarine or oil. Add chopped tomatoes, boiled beans and bring to boil. Add chopped spinach or other green leaves and pepper. Cover and simmer slowly until the leaves are soft.

Oatmeal porridge

Oatmeal, milk, butter or margarine, salt, sugar

Cook oatmeal slowly with milk for about 15 minutes. Add a little butter or margarine and a pinch of salt and sugar to taste. Serve warm.

(If you have diarrhoea and/or digestive problems, replace the milk with water and omit or reduce the margarine or butter.)

Peanut sauce with dried fish

2 onions, margarine, ginger, 150 g dried fish, 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1/2 litre milk, salt, pepper, lemon juice, 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

Fry the chopped onions in a little margarine. Add ginger and fish and fry for ten minutes. Add peanut butter and stir in milk until thick. Add salt and pepper. Add squeeze of lemon juice and sugar before serving. Eat with rice, maize meal or millet.

Porridge of baobab fruit

Baobab fruit, water or milk, sugar

Break the fruit. Sieve to separate the powder from the seeds and threads. Mix powder with water or milk, boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Add sugar to taste.

Pumpkin soup

Pumpkin or butternut, onion, garlic, cinnamon, oil, water, coconut

Chop the pumpkin or butternut, onion and garlic. Fry the onion, garlic and cinnamon in a little oil. Add the chopped pumpkin. Add water and bring to boil. Simmer until the pumpkin is very soft. Before serving, sprinkle coconut on top.

Pumpkin stew

Pumpkin or butternut, beef

Boil beef with chopped pumpkin until very soft. Mash the pumpkin. Cut the beef into small pieces and add to the pumpkin.

(You can also boil rice, maize meal or millet with the stew to add carbohydrates for more energy.)

Rice and spinach soup

Rice, water, salt, spinach, peanut butter

Add one cup of rice to four cups of salted water. Cover the pot, bring to the boil and cook until soft (about 40 minutes). Add chopped spinach and two tablespoons of peanut butter when the rice is cooked. Stir and cook slowly for a further ten minutes.

Rice porridge

Rice, salt, cinnamon, sugar

Add one cup of rice to three cups of salted water. Cover the pot, bring to the boil and cook slowly for one hour. Add cinnamon and sugar when serving.

Rice soup

Rice, water, salt

Add one cup of rice to four cups of salted water. Cover the pot, bring to the boil and cook until soft (about 40 minutes).

(Other ingredients can be added and adjusted according to taste and tolerance, e.g. grated carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato or apple; finely chopped garlic and chopped liver.)

Scrambled eggs with greens

Eggs, oil, onions, finely chopped dark leafy greens (or sprouts)

Lightly oil a pan over medium heat. Fry the onions until brown. Add greens and cook for three minutes. Add the eggs and scramble with the other ingredients. Cook until egg is firm.

Simple sprout stir-fry

Legume sprouts, vegetable oil, water, lemon juice (optional)

Put a little oil in a pan, add the sprouts and a small amount of water, cover and cook for about ten minutes. You can squeeze lemon juice over the sprouts.

(You can eat with grains, such as rice, maize, oats, barley, millet or sorghum.)

Sweet potato soup

Sweet potatoes, water, salt, grated cheese, yoghurt

Peel sweet potatoes, cut them in pieces and cook in a little water until soft. Mash them and add more water to make a soup. Add salt, cheese and yoghurt and bring soup to boil, stirring often. Serve.

(If you have diarrhoea, omit the cheese.)

Vegetable stew with meat

Meat, onion, leek, carrots, potatoes, oil, water, garlic, salt, pepper

Cut meat and vegetables in small pieces. Fry meat until brown, add onion and leek and fry together. Then add the other vegetables, water and chopped garlic and cook until tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Apple sauce

Apples, water, sugar, cinnamon

Peel and slice apples and bring to boil with a little water. Cover and cook slowly until tender. Mash apples until smooth and add sugar and cinnamon.

Avocado dip

Mashed avocados, yoghurt or thick sour milk, lemon juice, finely chopped raw onion, garlic and tomato

Mix all ingredients together.

Banana and papaya milkshake

Banana, papaya, milk, sour milk or yoghurt

Mash fruit together well or blend in a blender and mix with milk, sour milk or yoghurt.

Cowpea paste

11/2 cups boiled cowpeas, water, salt, 1 tablespoon grated onion, 1 teaspoon margarine, 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Boil the peas in water with a little salt until very soft. Mash to make a smooth paste. Add onion, margarine and lemon juice and mix.

(You can also use bambara nuts or beans.)

Peanut sauce

1/2 cup finely chopped onions, crushed garlic cloves, 11/2 tablespoons oil, 1/2 cup boiling water, 1 cup peanut butter, juice and rind of 1/2 lemon, 1/2 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, honey or sugar, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne (if you like a hot taste), 11/2 cups milk

Fry the onions and garlic in oil until brown. Stir in all the other ingredients, except the milk. Cook the sauce over medium heat until smooth. Slowly stir in the milk. Cook for a few more minutes.

Sour cabbage water

Chopped raw cabbage, water

Wash the cabbage and soak one cup cabbage in three cups water. Cover tightly and leave for two to three days. Strain the water from the cabbage, throw the cabbage away and store the water in a cool place or refrigerator. It is ready to drink when it starts to bubble.

Drink 1/2 cup three times a day for all digestive problems.

(You can make a second batch by pouring 1/2 cup of the first batch into the second batch and letting it stand for one day only.)

White sauce

1 tablespoon margarine, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 cup milk or broth (see recipe for beef broth)

Melt margarine in a pan. Remove from heat and blend in flour. Return to heat and stir until cooked. Slowly add milk or broth and whisk until smooth and thick.


For the teas below to have the greatest impact, it is best to prepare them fresh three times a day and drink them hot. However, if this is not possible, prepare them in the morning and heat them up or even drink them cold during the day.

Garlic tea (for sore throats)

Chop 3-4 cloves garlic. Add to one cup boiling water. Boil for ten minutes. Cover and allow to cool. Add honey or sugar to taste. Drink one cup three times a day.

Ginger and cinnamon tea (for chesty colds or coughs)

Add 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh ginger to one cup boiling water. Boil slowly for ten minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon. Cover and allow to stand for five minutes. Strain. Drink one cup three times a day. Start drinking the tea as soon as you feel a cold coming.

Guava tea (for a persistent cold)

Add a guava, a squeezed lemon, and an eucalyptus leaf to a cup of boiling water. Cover and allow to stand for five minutes. Drink three times a day.

Lemon tea (for flu)

Squeeze a lemon. Add the juice to 1/2 cup water that has boiled and cooled slightly. Add sugar or honey to taste. Drink one cup as hot as possible three times a day.

Onion tea (for a blocked and runny nose)

Put 1/4 onion into a cup of boiling water. Cover and leave for five minutes. Strain. Throw the onion away. Drink one cup three times a day.

Thyme tea (for dry coughs)

Add 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme leaves to one cup boiling water. Cover and leave for five minutes. Strain. Drink one cup three times a day.


Cough syrup for adults

Mix one part honey with one part lemon juice and one part cane spirit. Shake or stir well. Take one teaspoon three times a day.

(An alternative is to mix one part honey with one part lemon juice. Add two finely chopped garlic cloves. Shake or stir well. Take one teaspoon three times a day.)

Cough syrup for children

Mix one part honey with one part lemon juice and add one part water. Shake or stir well. Give children one teaspoon three times a day.


Use three drops of either extract below on the back of the tongue. This will disinfect the throat. Start using the extract as soon as you feel a sore throat coming. Continue using the drops every two to three hours until you feel no more pain.

(You can also use the extract to prepare cough syrup.)

Eucalyptus extract

Fill a clean empty bottle with eucalyptus leaves. Press them well down with a knitting needle or stick to pack in as many leaves as possible. Fill up with alcohol (40 percent proof). Press again to release any air. Close the bottle. Leave in a dark place for two weeks. Strain before using.

Thyme extract

Use 20 g dried thyme leaves (or one refill packet). Add 100 ml alcohol (40 percent proof). Keep in a closed bottle in a dark place for two weeks. Strain before using.


Neem tea

Cut a fresh twig from a neem tree. Remove the leaves and boil the bark in water; the bark can also be chewed.


Sprouts are seeds that are starting to grow into a new plant.

Advantages of sprouted foods

Method of sprouting foods

Grow different kinds of sprouts such as alfalfa, beans, lentils, peas, sorghum and sunflower, but grow them in different jars, since they need different times to sprout. All sprouts can be eaten raw in salads, sandwiches and in scrambled eggs, for example, and can be cooked in stews and soups.

Sprouting chart

Type of seed

Amount of
seed per jar

Time to
soak seeds

Approximate time
until ready to eat

Length of sprout
when ready to eat


3-4 tablespoons

4 hours

4-6 days or until seeds develop green leaves

3 cm


1 cup


4-7 days

1 cm

Groundnuts/ peanuts (whole)

1 cup


1-2 days

Swell, do not sprout


1 cup


2-5 days

1/2-1 cm


1 cup


3-4 days

1 cm


1 cup


2-5 days

1 cm

Sorghum or millet

1 cup


2-3 days

1/2 cm

Sunflower (without husks)

1 cup


1-3 days

1/2-1 cm

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