What To Eat When You’re Experiencing Grief

When you’ve lost a loved one, the last thing you want to think about is what to eat, how you should prepare it, and what time is best for your chrononutrition. And for good reason. Losing someone close to you is one of life’s major stressors—one that makes your heart ache and your body break.

That said, we do believe there is a way to manage your health while your emotions are—rightly so—in a different place. That’s because during these times, there is a real risk of developing what’s called decision fatigue. You’re doing so many other things (whether it’s planning, meeting with people, or adjusting to a new life) that you simply don’t have the energy to do anything for yourself. And that means you take the path of least resistance.

This could mean anything from opting for fast food to something equally as bad: no food, which robs your body of necessary nutrients you need during this tough time.So keep the following notes in mind when you experience grief. This way, you’ll give yourself a fighting chance to fortify your body with healthy ingredients that can strengthen you during a period of loss.

  • Accept Help:

Your friends and family will offer to help. Your instinct may be to say, “no, thank you, I can handle it.” Fight that impulse. Accept their willingness to bring meals, and don’t be shy about asking for foods you have come to love—fish with vegetables, whole grains, healthy soups. To make things easier, ask a close friend to take the lead on organizing a meal system (this allows you to communicate your wishes without feeling like you’re imposing).


  • Stick To The Familiar :

Studies show that in times of mourning, familiar rituals, such as eating regular foods and meals, help stabilize people emotionally by helping soothe feelings of grief.15 So if you can muster the strength to prepare food, consider making large quantities that you can freeze, which will only require minimal prep time.


  • Use The Express Lane :

Even just stocking your fridge and pantry with produce will help. If you’re not up for a full grocery store trip, just run in for an express-lane visit, or ask a friend or family member to make a run for you. Making it easy to grab an apple or pear is half the battle. You’ll get the vitamins and nutrients you need, rather than the bad stuff from emotionally eating bags of processed junk.


  • Create A Pattern :

Take the thinking out of what you have to eat. That way, it’s automatic and you can focus your energy in other ways. Maybe you fall into a pattern with an egg white scramble for breakfast and a salad for lunch, plus some easy option for dinner. In normal times, that may feel a bit like a rut. But right now, it will be a comfort—and that’s ultimately what you need at this difficult time.