Combating Fatigue: Diet, Exercise, Sleep



  • Breakfast every morning.
  • Fruits and vegetables - raw, lightly cooked, or dried. Bananas, watermelons, dates, mangoes, papaya, and pineapple can increase your energy levels as fast as any candy bar. Carrots and potatoes are also quickly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream.
  • Moderate amounts of nuts and seeds.
  • Whole grains, brown rice, whole-grain bread, cornflakes, and shredded wheat.
  • Adequate protein from lean meats, fish (salmon, mackerel, herring, red snapper, orange roughy, and cod), low-fat dairy, beans, and peanut butter.
  • 6-8 eight-ounce glasses of water daily.
  • One multivitamin daily.


  • Fried and high-fat foods.
  • Highly processed foods such as candy bars, chips, and other sweets.
  • Stimulants such as caffeine (found in coffee, most teas, diet and regular sodas). Stimulants give you a fast boost, then drop your energy levels even lower. Intake of these beverages can often replace more healthy beverages that would supply essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Alcohol and tobacco.

Energy-saving meal ideas:

  • Plan balanced meals in advance.
  • Make enough to have leftovers.
  • Use paper plates for speedy clean up.
  • Buy prepared, cut, or sliced fruits and vegetables such as bags of lettuce, baby carrots, frozen fruits, and vegetables.
  • Find community based food programs that will provide ready-made meals.
  • Ask family and friends to help you with shopping and cooking.

Adding calories to your meals*:

  • Eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day to maintain your energy level. This can also decrease overeating and fullness that can lead to increased fatigue.
  • Drink high-energy drinks such as Boost, Ensure, or Carnation Instant Breakfast for a snack.
  • Have a handful of nuts or a tablespoon of peanut butter.
  • Use margarine, butter, and/or cheese on your steamed vegetables.
  • Add canned meats such as tuna and chicken or non-fat dry milk to packaged rice, potato, or macaroni mixes. Meats pack in extra calories and protein.

*This section is intended for people who are having difficulty consuming enough calories during the day.

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