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After COVID-19

Self-care: Eating well

Food gives your body energy. It’s important to keep eating and drinking when you’re sick and as you recover from COVID-19.

What nutrition do I need to recover?

To get the nutrition you need, eat a variety of foods each day, such as:

  • protein foods (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, and lentils) to help maintain and rebuild muscles​
  • fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for vitamins, minerals, and fiber to help your body recover from illness
  • healthy fats (nuts and seeds, olive oil, fatty fish like salmon, and avocado) to help give you the energy and nutrition your body needs to recover
  • fluids (water, coffee or tea, milk or plant-based beverages, sports drinks, and nutrition supplement drinks), which are especially important if you’ve been sick with a fever, throwing up, or had diarrhea

How can I eat and drink when my energy is low?

Here are some tips to help you eat and drink when you’re tired or have low energy:

  • Take small bites so it's easier to breathe while you eat.
  • Eat slowly, and stop for a few moments between bites to catch your breath.
  • Eat 5 to 6 small meals throughout the day instead of 3 larger meals.
  • If you are too tired to regularly finish your meals or snacks, have food and drinks that are higher in energy (calories) and protein. Examples include adding Greek or Icelandic yogurt to smoothies, putting avocado on a sandwich, or adding grated cheese or nut butter to foods.
  • Drink fluids after meals so you don’t get full too quickly.
  • Sip small amounts of fluids if you need to drink while you eat.
  • Snack every 2 to 3 hours, even if you don't feel hungry.
  • Add nutrition supplement drinks, bars, or puddings to meals or snacks to get extra energy and protein.
  • If you're choking or having trouble swallowing, see the section on eating, drinking, and swallowing for more tips.

Where can I learn more and find resources to help me eat well?

As you recover, see the following links to learn more about eating well, nutrition, and planning and shopping for healthy meals.

If COVID-19 has made it harder for you to get food (for example, you can’t leave your home or you’ve lost income), go to the resources section for places to get help.​​​​

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