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In part 1 of How to Eat When You’re Exhausted, I provided some tips for making meal planning easier and for boosting overall energy. Now, let’s discuss the types of food that will effect how you feel. When exhausted, it’s tempting to choose convenient foods that are frequently high in sugar, that give you an immediate spike in energy, but overtime cause a crash and will end up worsening your fatigue. Instead, plan to have foods on hand that you can assemble quickly to make nutritious meals. Below, are some examples of meals and snacks that are not only quick to make (taking approximately five minutes or less to prepare), but are also packed with nutrients to help nourish your body.


Quick Meal Ideas: 

  • Scrambled eggs and spinach with toast and a piece of fresh fruit
  • Hard boiled eggs (can buy pre-made) with microwaveable brown rice and sautéed tomatoes
  • Bean, salsa, corn, rice and avocado burrito
  • Tuna mixed with plain, non-fat Greek/Icelandic yogurt on a salad
  • Pita with chickpeas, olives, feta, lettuce and hummus
  • Bean, tomato, and corn quesadillas
  • Plain, non-fat Greek/Icelandic yogurt topped with oats, nuts, and berries with cinnamon
  • Nut butter, jelly and banana sandwich

Quick Snack Ideas: 

  • Hard boiled eggs: can be found already prepared in the bag or can be made at home in bulk for the week
  • Smoothies: get creative when you’re feeling better and have the fruits/veggies on hand for when you’re exhausted
  • Plain popcorn sprinkled with olive oil and nutritional yeast
  • Roasted chickpeas: can be made at home or bought pre-made
  • Edamame: can be bought frozen and shelled or unshelled
  • Toast with nut butter, raw chopped nuts and a banana
  • Yogurt with oats, banana, and nut butter
  • Avocado toast with chia seeds sprinkled on top

Grocery List for Shelf-Stable Foods: 

Sometimes you don’t have the energy to go grocery shopping when you’re tired, so prepare for these times by always having shelf-stable foods on hand to assemble easily in times of need. Use the list below as a guide to create your own specific list of shelf-stable items to keep in your pantry for the days when you’re not feeling your best.


  • Oatmeal/gluten-free oatmeal
  • Gluten-free/whole wheat/brown rice pasta
  • Frozen gluten-free/whole wheat bread
  • Microwavable rice

Dairy/non-dairy alternatives

  • Boxed/shelf-stable milk
  • Boxed almond/coconut/soy milk


  • Flax/hemp/chia seeds
  • Raw, unsalted nuts
  • Almond, peanut or other nut butter


  • Frozen fruit
  • Frozen vegetables
  • Low sodium, canned tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Low sodium, canned vegetables


  • Low sodium canned beans and lentils


  • Canned tuna packed in water

Keep in mind that exhaustion can hit suddenly so prepare your pantry and set yourself up for success by having items on hand to keep you eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet.

Eat well, be well,


Brittany Roman-Green is a licensed dietitian nutritionist and certified personal trainer.  She is the owner of her private practice in Boston, Massachusetts and specializes in gut and liver conditions.

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