11 Tips for Nourishing Yourself When You Feel Too Depressed to Cook

pexels-photo-89089.pngWhether depression, illness, or exhaustion is making it impossible for you to cook, check out these 11 tips for nourishing yourself:

1. Make Your Go-To List
Sometimes it’s too difficult to even think of simple things to make. Keep this list handy for simple meals to prepare. For example, peanut butter and banana on toast and a yogurt.

2. Plan For The Future
When you’re feeling well enough to cook, make a few extra servings to portion into meals for the future. Keep a list of what you have in the freezer so you can easily see what’s available.
Also, morning can be an easier time of day for some people. If you have time, get your lunch and dinner preparation done then. If mornings are hardest, prep breakfast the night before.

3. Meet a Friend for Lunch
I know it’s hard to force yourself to get out of the house, but if you do get together with friends or family, try to make sure it centers around food so that you can eat with others. Or, invite someone over to eat with you.

4. You Can Order More Than Just Takeout for Delivery
Grocery shopping can be hard even on your best days. Thankfully, there are many services available that deliver groceries right to your doorstep. Check for availability in your area, but Peapod and Fresh Direct might be possibilities.

5. Paper or Plastic? I’ll Take Both!
Forget about being environmentally friendly for just one moment (I know!). Minimizing the number of dishes you’ll have to wash or put away can make getting through the meal much easier.

6. You May Have to Put Your Bodybuilding Plans on Hold
Be realistic with your cooking and nutrition goals. If you’re going through a hard time right now, be gentle with yourself and know that you can take a break from your fitness or nutrition goals for one meal or one day or one week. If you find yourself continuously blowing off your goals, it can be time to seek additional help for your depression or it could be time to re-evaluate your health goals.

7. We Can’t Do Everything Alone
Ask for help when you need it. Perhaps a roommate, friend, or loved one can help you prepare meals or drop food off for you, but you need to ask.

8. Cooking Time is “You Time”
Make cooking a self-care event. It really can be fun and relaxing!

9. And How Did That Make You Feel?
Keep track of how you were feeling before, during, and after eating. This can help you figure out if there are certain foods you crave when you are feeling certain emotions. Or perhaps different foods make your mood worse.

10. Who Said You Had to Stop at 3 Meals A Day?
If it feels too overwhelming to sit down for 3 meals each day, try breaking those meals into manageable portions and eat 6 mini-meals per day.

11. Try Again Tomorrow
If today was too hard, make a plan to do at least one thing differently tomorrow. Food gives the body and mind energy and being properly nourished will significantly affect your mood.


Struggling to feed yourself due to depression, another mental health disorder, or an eating disorder? In search of an experienced registered dietitian in the Centerport, New York area or virtually? Send me an email to learn more about 1:1 nutrition therapy sessions!

Published by Christina Frangione, MS, RD, CDN, RYT

Christina Frangione, MS, RD, CDN, RYT is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist serving the Long Island, New York City, and New York State areas helping clients with eating disorders and disordered eating recover their relationship with food and their body. She utilizes a Health at Every Size® approach and supports Intuitive Eating and knows that while she is the food and nutrition expert, you are the expert of your body and life.

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