Fatigue? Tips for Planning, Shopping and Preparing Meals

April 11, 2022
| Created by Jonnell Masson, MS, RDN, CD

Health conditions and other circumstances that cause fatigue can make it difficult to enjoy healthy meals at home. If you want to avoid hitting the drive through, here are some tips to make preparing healthy and delicious meals attainable. 

Meal Planning

  • Plan a week’s worth of meals and snacks at a time. 
  • Plan for one or two pantry meals each week to allow for flexibility.  
  • Choose meals that are simple and don’t involve a lot of preparation time or clean up (e.g. one pan meals). 
  • Each week, plan to make a double batch of a meal that freezes well. Once you have a few meals frozen, you will be able to enjoy these on days you are feeling particularly fatigued.  
  • Plan meals around healthy ready-to-eat items (e.g. rotisserie chicken, marinara pasta sauce, grilled salmon) or quick-to-fix items (e.g. ready-to-cook fajitas, chicken meatloaf). 


  • Order your groceries for pickup or delivery. If you prefer to do your own shopping, make your shopping list by aisle or department, to save backtracking while you shop. 
  • Choose frozen, canned, or fresh prepared produce. 
  • Choose quick-cooking whole grains such as rolled oats, instant brown rice, quinoa, or quick barley. 


  • When you have time and energy, prepare ingredients (e.g. chopping vegetables for a stir-fry) for meals a day or two ahead. 
  • Sit at a table to prepare ingredients. 
  • Practice mise en place; having all ingredients measured and ready to use will make the cooking time less stressful. 
  • Use time-saving appliances such as a microwave, pressure cooker, slow-cooker, or food processor.  

Meal Ideas and Recipes

  • Check out Dietitian Heather’s blog Near-Instant Cooking for quick meal ideas and tips for stocking your pantry.  
  • This blog includes some of our favorite, easy recipes.  

Meal Clean Up

  • Line baking pans with foil and use a cooking bag in your slow cooker to minimize clean up. 
  • Clean up as you go: load the dishwasher or handwash a few dishes while your meal is cooking.  

Join us for the Shop with a Dietitian: Nutrition for Fatigue and Multiple Sclerosis in May for more tips and help in finding ready-to-eat and quick-to-prepare foods that meet your needs.