What to Eat when you’re too tired to Prepare

Are you burnt out? Your body needs food even if you don’t feel like cooking or going out to eat. This blog post will give you ideas on what to eat if you are too tired to prepare food.

Having a body that constantly needs energy and food can be unpleasant. It’s great when we have the power and time to cook something tasty and satisfying. But when we are physically and mentally exhausted, we can’t even think about food, let alone shop for groceries or cook. I wish I could have a personal chef when I’m feeling like that. Unfortunately, our financial situation, presumably yours, does not permit that. So, when I am too tired to prepare food, I must use what little energy I still have to come up with something.

We encourage our clients to plan for those days when they are too tired to prepare a meal. It’s common to feel too tired to cook or wear clothes to a restaurant. It is essential to plan how you will feed yourself when this happens. This is especially true for clients recovering from eating disorders, as skipping meals or undereating can trigger ED-related thoughts and make the next meal/snack more difficult. This is especially true for clients who are suffering from depression or have a condition that impacts their energy levels, like cancer or chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgia.

In my work with clients, I have noticed that people often place unrealistic expectations around nutrition when feeling tired. They think the perfect combination of nutrients will instantly perk up their body! Food can instantly energize you if you are feeling tired because of hunger. Unfortunately, there is not a perfect meal, food, or combination of nutrients to combat fatigue. Focusing on “energy superfoods,” such as a balanced meal of carbs, fats, and proteins, can overlook the most important aspect of nutrition. When you feel tired, pairing carbs with protein, fat, and fiber from fruits can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

What to eat if you are too tired to prepare food?

Outsource your work to a partner/child/etc.

This is mostly for my female readers, but not exclusively. It is easy to take on the responsibility of caring for others’ food needs when there are people who will help us. We sometimes need to just ask for help. It’s okay to ask for help if you have an older child or partner who can assist.

Takeout orders

If you are too tired to prepare food, then don’t! If you want to order enough food for leftovers, takeout is an excellent option. My go-to orders when I’m tired are Vietnamese vermicelli (since we are in Little Saigon, Boston, there are 3,482 choices), Indian and pizza.

Al Amir, a Mediterranean restaurant in Columbia, was one of our favorites for takeout. The vegetarian plate was our go-to order. It came with a variety of dips, falafel, and Caprese, as well as pita.

Flames Jamaican is another popular take-out. Their curry shrimp is delicious and comes with rice, peas, and cabbage.

The prepared food or deli section of a grocery store

There are many easy meal options at the grocery store. You can stop by on your way back from work or even while you’re shopping. We used to frequent the hot bar of Whole Foods when I lived in SC. Now that we live in Boston, there is a great hot bar (with the best sweet potatoes in the world) at Lamberts, a small, family-owned grocery store near us. In the prepared foods section, you can find a variety of options, including meatloafs, quiches, pastas, and soups/chili. In the prepared food section, some stores sell complete meals that include a meat dish, a starch and veg.

After a long workday, I would pick up the pick 4 salads at Earth Fare. It was an easy way to try a variety of flavors and textures.

Vegetable frittata with roasted potatoes and the obligatory hot sauce and ketchup, all from the prepared foods section at the grocery store

Snack plate

No rule says that snacks can’t also be eaten as dinner! Make a snack platter by putting a variety of snack foods onto a dinner plate. I advise my clients to put at least four foods on their plate. They should also include some carbs, fat, and protein, as well as ideally some fruit or vegetables. A fruit or vegetable. Here are some suggestions for what you could put on your snack platter:

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