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25 People Share Their Tips for Getting Enough Nutrition During a Flare-Up

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Editor's Note

Any nutritional information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health, please consult a doctor or medical professional.

For many in the chronic illness community, eating during a flare-up can be difficult. Maybe you’re experiencing too much pain or fatigue to be able to make it to the kitchen, much less cook yourself a meal. Or perhaps your illness tanks your appetite, causes nausea or results in a lot of discomfort when you try to ingest just about anything.

When your symptoms are raging during a flare, sometimes eating just isn’t a priority, and doesn’t sound all that appealing either. Still, it’s important to make sure your body is staying hydrated and getting the nutrition it needs.

That’s why we asked our Mighty community to share their tips for getting some nutrients into their system while in the midst of a flare. Of course, it’s important to note that everyone has different symptoms, dietary restrictions and nutritional needs, so be sure to talk with your doctor about which foods or drinks are best for you and your body. But if you’re looking for some ideas to make eating less of a hassle, check out the recommendations below.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. When I’m not in a flare, I make little baggies of non-perishables (and semi-perishable) food to keep in my nightstand. So even if I can’t get out of bed, I’ve at least got a bagel or some cheerios to tide me over.” – Hayley S.S.
  2. I’ve had a lot of meals blended for me. Including putting seasoned burger meat in a blender and eating that.” – Marcy J.
  3. Protein shakes, bone broth and Pedialyte popsicles rule my world. And whole milk yogurt. I know I have to consume enough calories and protein to be present. I never realized food could become so convoluted.” – Tawnee T.
  4. I have to drink chocolate milk or soups and that’s about all I can keep down. Pho soup, tortilla soup, egg drop soup.” – Kristen T.
  5. Potatoes are so easy to cook in a flare-up and provide a lot of nutrition. Boiled, microwaved or cooked in the oven they’re easy for me, healthy, and filling.” – Courtney P.
  6. I ate club crackers soaked in chicken broth with a bouillon cub dissolved in it for a week. Ginger ale, too, if I could stomach it.” – Emily B.
  7. Smoothies are my mainstay. You can load them up with fruit, greens, protein powder, even nuts and oats. Anything simple, like yogurt cups, grapes or jerky, where you can pretty much just grab it and eat, is good too. You can also find some decent-quality microwave meals too. I tend to not worry about salt content with them, but focus on finding ones with ‘real’ ingredients and fewer fillers.” – Sheila V.
  8. Small portions, or peanut butter sandwiches. Oatmeal is pretty good too.” – Steve B.
  9. I keep easy, healthy snacks on hand. Low-fat string cheese, grapes, dried fruit and nuts, lunch meat and bread, baby carrots, basically toddler food. It’s easy to grab and eat and I am staying away from junk food. I also keep sugar-free pudding cups on hand for a sweet treat. I can’t stand nutritional shakes so I had to come up with something that was easy, fast and still healthy. Sometimes in the summer I freeze my grapes, they feel so good on a hot dry throat!” – Jamie G.
  10. I mix ginger ale with Ensure clear mixed berry flavor. Helps the nausea and gets a little nutrition into me.” – Sarah N.
  11. Buying an Instant Pot really helped me! The fact that I can have dinner on the table in 30 minutes without having to stand very long has been incredibly empowering.” – Lara E.
  12. Ensure. If my stomach can’t tolerate that, then just tortilla chips or saltines. The salt makes me thirsty so at least I am hydrated, even if not getting proper nutrition.” – Jerrica B.
  13. Scrambled eggs and baked potatoes with salt are two of my go-to foods when I don’t want to eat. I also try to eat something (no matter how small) every hour that I’m awake. That helps get some calories in.” – Jessica S.
  14. Powerade and Gatorade become my best friends. I’ll also sip on broth and even ginger ale if my stomach can handle the bubbles. It’s just important to take your time and sip slowly!” – Caitlyn M.H.
  15. I put myself on a liquid diet of lactose-free, homemade smoothies! I try and pack them with lots of greens and it always seems to help my gut heal and rest.” – Tyffanie E.
  16. Ice cold Gatorade, yogurt, toast with apple butter. Seems to always keep me going and doesn’t hurt my stomach.” – James L.
  17. Plain noodles boiled in broth. It’s not very tasty but when my stomach flares it’s about all I can do.” – Megan D.
  18. I drink a lot of smoothies. Water, spinach or kale, walnuts, strawberries, blueberries and cherries. That’s my go-to. I use frozen fruit so I don’t have to worry about fresh fruit going bad. For protein, you can add silken tofu. I also always have bread on hand to make toast, and soup in my cupboard. Fresh ginger tea helps with digestion. Take fresh ginger root, wash it, cut it up into sections and boil it until it’s as strong as you can stand. Then add brown sugar until it’s palatable.” – Alex P.
  19. I keep a bag of my fave trail mix. Peanuts, sesame sticks and pretzel mix. Just some carbs and protein.” – Melinda P.G.
  20. I always watch TV while I eat. It helps me concentrate on something interesting other than being in pain or feeling sick.” – Tiffany L.
  21. “Since I can only eat liquids and soups during a flare, my husband will make me tortilla soup. Boiled chicken, bell peppers, carrots, chicken stock, onions, garlic and corn tortillas all blended together into a smooth creamy soup. This saves me every time. This has veggies, meat and carbs and makes me feel like I had a whole meal with just a bowl of soup. Of course yogurt and cottage cheese help, too. Also drinking more water and upping my fiber helps a lot.” – Sunshine V.
  22. I try to eat easy-to-digest or more calorie-dense and higher protein foods: protein shakes, protein bars, sometimes some meat or nut butter if I can stomach it. I also try to drink plenty of water and electrolytes. Walking also helps me to relieve some of the pain after I eat a meal.” – Cassandra C.
  23. Vegetable and herb mineral broths and herbal teas are the only foods I’ve found to calm my system.” – Gina T.
  24. Blend up oats ’til they’re flour and add milk (I use almond milk) and a banana. Probably the least nauseating food on the planet. It always settles my stomach.” – Alexa R.B.
  25. My cafe baristas at work take my Ensure drinks and blend them with ice. And sometimes if I’m feeling it they’ll add some different flavors. They are literally the only way I keep going through the week.” – Kyna E.
Originally published: March 30, 2018
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