When you’re feeling unwell, often appetite and energy levels plummet. However, it’s still important to ensure you’re eating enough to help with recovery from illness as malnutrition has strong links to infection prevalence, severity and duration.

In this article, our Accredited Practicing Dietitian, Amanda Smith, outlines some simple ways you can eat healthy (and ensure you’re getting an adequate protein-energy intake) when you’re not feeling great.

Simple (and low effort) ways to eat healthy when you're feeling anything but!

Here's our tips:

  1. Include smoothies with both fruit AND vegetables. Neutral vegetables such as cauliflower, purple cabbage, zucchini and carrot work well in smoothies.  Smoothies are a much better option than juices as juicing fruit/vegetables removes majority of the fibre.
  2. Enjoy soups! Soups are a fantastic option to boost your nutrient intake when unwell.  If you’re not up to cooking, there are some great ready-made fresh soups available at the supermarket.
  3. Opt for nutritious meals that require minimal prep time such as a wholegrain sandwich/wrap, omelette, baked beans on wholegrain toast, Vitaweets with tuna and salad, microwave vegetables with microwave brown rice and tinned salmon or legumes.
  4. Outsource if financially viable. There are a lot of excellent meal delivery services as well as ready made meals at the supermarket which are a great option when you’re unwell and not up to cooking.
  5. Keep your fluids up! Ensure you’re getting through 2-3L (or 35-45ml/kg) of fluid daily.  Remember things like soup, smoothies and herbal tea all contribute to your fluid target.
  6. Have nourishing, energy dense snacks available. Snacking is particularly good when your appetite is low and you can’t stomach full meals.  Some great options include nut/seed bars, mixed nuts/trail mix, fruit (tinned, fresh, frozen), veggie sticks and hummus, Vitaweets with peanut butter or cheese and tomato, roasted chickpeas/fava beans, and yoghurt.