foods to combat fatigue feature image

Foods To Combat Fatigue

The early morning wake-ups are a killer and fatigue is putting it lightly at the moment. As parents to a newborn again we have been hit with the familiar tiredness! So we are looking at adapting our diet to help fight the newborn fatigue. 

We have hit the ground running, with a 5-year-old, going on holiday, recovering from a C-section, breastfeeding and a newborn, it’s all action stations. This means, quite honestly, we are knackered constantly and are looking for naps wherever we can get them! I don’t like to give on anything which means that I am still trying to manage a workload, my exercise regime to get back in shape, the house, parenting and shortly I will be volunteering again.

This means naps are like gold dust, few and far between and so we have been looking to our diet as a way to stay healthy as a family. We are also trying to have healthier snacks in the house because the time for cooking is basically non-existent so snacks and basic meal prep are the way forward. I have been looking for natural ways to combat tiredness so that we can function on the minimal sleep without my body feeling like it wants to shut down!!

I find that when I am tired, aside from the grumpy attitude I also eat poorly, have skin breakouts, get unwell easily, have zero energy and if you ask my husband, more argumentative! (he’s probably right.) We have found quite a few options that work for us and can double up as great “grab and go” snacks as well as energy boosters to help with the tiredness and fatigue.

The Best Foods To Fight Fatigue

  • Bananas – In the lunchbox or bag and easy to eat! The favourites of the boys but I’m not keen.
  • Eggs – My favourite!
  • Oats – Check out my recipe for Healthy Banana & Honey Flapjacks, they are a great option to cook for meal prep day and perfect for slow release energy for the whole family.
  • Dark Chocolate – A naughty treat and little energy boost which tastes delicious with yoghurt.
  • Raspberries/Strawberries – All berries, in general, are great for boosting health, have a range of benefits and energy is one of them.
  • Spinach – I love using this to bulk out meals and it is delicious to add for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
  • Water – Although there are no calories in water, it facilitates body function and helps to aid detoxification in the body so always makes me feel better when I am properly hydrated.
  • Quinoa – One of my new favourite grains! (I’m working on some recipes to share soon)

Basically, what I have found is that fresh fruit and vegetables along with food that is more nutrient dense is the best option because they improve body function making it more efficient and stopping you from expending unnecessary energy while giving you a boost. Especially if you are having to maintain a busy lifestyle on minimal sleep (which tends to be the norm with newborns!)

fresh blueberries

Food That Can Make You Tired

It’s pretty easy to guess the foods that can make you tired because it is generally those with a low nutritional value, some of these include:

  • Caffeine – Tea, Coffee, Fizzy Drinks (although it gives you a short-term boost, the comedown is worse and doesn’t work in the long run!)
  • Highly Processed Food – Including white bread and cereal, *sniffs* Bye bye Coco Pops
  • Alcohol – If you are on your last legs with tiredness, alcohol is the worst because it dehydrates you, puts your body out of wack and if you drink too much you’ll pass out from tiredness anyway!
  • Red Meat – I tend to avoid red meat day-to-day because it is higher in saturated fat which is not useful when trying to combat fatigue.

sugar, caffeine and cake can cause tiredness.

Other Ways New Parents Can Combat Fatigue Without Sleeping

  • Naps – A short 5-10 minute power nap can work wonders and although it is technically not a full sleep, it’s better than nothing. If you can fit one in that is!
  • Vitamins – You can’t always get all the nutrients you need from food, particularly if you aren’t taking the time to cook and are going down the snack road. Even if they are the healthiest in the world you are still going to be lacking so you can opt to take supplements or vitamins to help.
  • Exercise – It might seem contradictory to expend energy and feel less tired but for me, it actually works! I always feel revitalized after going for a run.
  • Going Outside – As silly as it sounds but fresh air and the sunshine can work wonders when it comes to perking yourself up and giving yourself an energy boost. Plus getting out of the house is good for a newborn as well as your mental health.
  • Meditation – Your mental health can be part of the problem of fatigue as well as tiredness so meditation helps you to take time for yourself, give yourself a break and come back rejuvenated.

How do you combat fatigue without extra sleep? Which foods or snacks are your favorites? Let me know in the comments. 

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With a newborn, 5-year-old and busy lifestyle we are lacking sleep but needing energy so we are looking to food to combat fatigue.

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Written by Charlotte

Founder at The Mummy Toolbox


  • Kathleen - Bloggers Lifestyle (#)
    September 23rd, 2017

    A great list in your pros. I do love my coffee, I don’t find it lets me down 🙂

  • Michele (#)
    September 20th, 2017

    I was happy to see that I am already eating most of the food on the energy list, and not eating most of the bad foods. I do love my coffee though!

  • Wendy | The Art of "Why Not?" (#)
    September 20th, 2017

    The good news is that I like all the things on your good list! The bad news, I like all the things on the bad list. I agree that berries are a big help, as well as just a few minutes outside. My favorite, though, is the 10 minute power nap!

  • Newcastle Family Life (#)
    September 16th, 2017

    I remember the newborn tiredness well, so much worse when you already have children compared to first time around. x

  • tracey at Mummyshire (#)
    September 15th, 2017

    What a really great post & I never knew that about dark chocolate!
    When my children were smaller I would have great problems napping throughout the day. Even now, I find it very difficult to nap during the day, let alone have a 10min power nap!

  • Baby Isabella (#)
    September 15th, 2017

    My mummy is knackered all the time and ironically finds that doing exercise gives her more energy, she just needs to motivate herself. Great tips x

  • Fashion and Style Police (#)
    September 15th, 2017

    Fab tips here. I remember when my twins were newborn. It was a very tiring but sweet experience.

  • Karen (#)
    September 15th, 2017

    I’m definitely saving this, I’ve not got use to early starts now the girls are back at school. Been feeling really tired so will be trying some of these

  • Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too (#)
    September 15th, 2017

    This is most welcomed at the moment, I’m so tired. Running on empty after the summer holidays.

  • Tatiana Sieff (#)
    September 15th, 2017

    Some awesome tips here. I could definitely do with applying some of these to my lifestyle!

  • Brittany (#)
    September 15th, 2017

    This is exactly why I love green smoothies. You can put just about all of these into a blender and enjoy. I need to start my day with one of these.

  • Sarah (#)
    September 14th, 2017

    I need to cut Down on caffeine. I’m terrible but then hit that slump not long after

  • Cath - BattleMum (#)
    September 14th, 2017

    Oh gosh I remember those newborn days of fatigue. I used to reach for quick fix foods as I was often on my own while my husband was away. Naps became the best way for me to overcome tiredness and I would happily nap for 2 hours in the afternoon with my son while on maternity leave. I miss those naps.

  • Amy - All about a Mummy (#)
    September 14th, 2017

    I’m not surprised you are shattered! I fine pasta and carbs make me tired these days. I love berries so that is good!

  • Rhian Westbury (#)
    September 14th, 2017

    I do always find that after I’ve done exercise I feel so much more awake. I try not to have too much processed food which works well for me x

  • Jayne @ Sticky Mud and Belly Laughs (#)
    September 14th, 2017

    Fab selection. I do snack on bananas and I love eggs! I really like the sound of your banana and honey flapjacks. Will have to give them a whirl 🙂 x

  • Heather (#)
    September 14th, 2017

    Great tips as I’m sitting here exhausted trying to get some work done! I really do need to drink less coffee and more water.

  • Tiara Wilson (#)
    September 13th, 2017

    Oh wow, I never knew that red meat could constitute you being tired. I was low on iron when my little one was born and they told me to continue to eat red meat, so I did that for months!

  • Stephanie (#)
    September 13th, 2017

    I found the idea of getting outside really helped me, like the idea of dark chocolate

  • Ana De- Jesus (#)
    September 13th, 2017

    This was exactly the kind of post that I needed to read. I have constant fatigue and I know that my diet is in need of an overhaul. I like the sound of eggs and bananas which I brought today luckily! x

  • Jono (#)
    September 13th, 2017

    Diet is the key to a lot of things. Not only health but mental well being. And porridge, eggs or grape nuts for brekkie stop you reaching for that processed mid morning snack.

  • Roxanne (#)
    September 13th, 2017

    I find proper hydration helps too! Drinking my 80 oz a day really keeps me energized and more focused. Power naps are amazing for recharging for the last half of my day!

  • Cecilia C. Cannon (#)
    September 13th, 2017

    great list cause these are all foods I love!! Now to just implement them in my diet daily. Thanks for the tips

  • Angela Ricardo Bethea (#)
    September 13th, 2017

    Dark chocolates are my favorite snacks to eat. Great tips, especially for moms who have little love has, is like a little ball of energy.

  • Kara (#)
    September 13th, 2017

    Some great tips here. I always have eggs for breakfast and I do snack on banana’s and blueberries

  • Cindy (#)
    September 13th, 2017

    Thank you for this list! I am constantly tired so now I know what to keep handy for snacks!

  • Di Hickman (#)
    September 12th, 2017

    No kids here but suffering with Jet Lag and all these definitely help with releiving jet lag. I’ve increased my water and ensuring that I get sleep and nutrition but cafienne is kicking my butt. Trying to nix that today!

  • Shannon Gurnee (#)
    September 12th, 2017

    These are definitely some great foods and ways to combat fatigue! I love to eat some of these foods and naps sometimes during the day are nice.

  • Ayana Pitterson (#)
    September 12th, 2017

    I honestly cannot tell you the last time I was able to take a nap. If only work can stop for 2 hours in the middle of the day, I can surely be a more effective Great tips here.

    Thrifting diva

  • Kelly Hutchinson (#)
    September 12th, 2017

    That was a great list of foods to fight fatigue. My daughter loves bananas.

  • Talya (#)
    September 12th, 2017

    This is a fab post – the other thing I would add is to make sure we are getting enough protein to feed our bodies…most of us don’t as we can tend to be very carb centric but proteins are so important to feed our bodies!

  • reesa (#)
    September 12th, 2017

    Oh it is crazy how tired processed foods make me!!! Here I am 9 years after having my kids and i am still so very tired LOL!

  • DJT @ Thinking Thrifty (#)
    September 12th, 2017

    Great tips here. I’ve been discussing this with my doctor recently as I suffer badly with insomnia and tend to spend half my life as an exhausted zombie!

  • Helen (#)
    September 12th, 2017

    Totally agree on getting outside. It can be a struggle to make yourself get out when you’re busy, but it really helps. I’m afraid I’m a coffee fan, but drinking more water and herbal teas helps me too.

  • Lori Geurin (#)
    September 12th, 2017

    It amazes me how the foods we eat can have such an impact over how we feel. This is a great list of healthy, nourishing foods that helps knock out fatigue!

    I’ve found that if I’ve been working at my computer for a long time and I’m getting sleepy it helps to get up and take a short brisk walk (even if it’s just around the house). And drinking a big glass of ice water helps revive me too.

  • AnnMarie John (#)
    September 12th, 2017

    I’ve been feeling too tired lately and I should definitely try to combat it by adding more of these into my diet. Just goes to show how much food affects our health. I really appreciate this list.

  • Sophie's Nursery (#)
    September 12th, 2017

    I’m bookmarking this for when the next one arrives!! I relied on caffeine & it sounds like it probably made it worse lol x

  • Helen (#)
    September 12th, 2017

    I absolutely love oats in the morning to get the day started!

  • Rachel (#)
    September 12th, 2017

    It has been shocking to realize how different foods can affect my energy levels. I have a hard time giving up caffeine though.

  • Renee @ The Good Hearted Woman (#)
    September 12th, 2017

    I didn’t learn how to take a 10-minute power nap until my kids were almost grown. That would have been a neat trick back in the day. I take a B-complex vitamin every day now, and it makes a huge difference in my energy levels.

  • Mary Ann (#)
    September 11th, 2017

    I don’t know. 4 kids later, I still don’t get much sleep. Now that they are in high school, I might even get less than when they were little. I try to keep exercise in there. But, I am bad about water. But I know when I do drink it, I feel much better and energized. Great tips!

  • Jeanine (#)
    September 11th, 2017

    Didn’t know these foods combat fatigue! That’s interesting to know! Not big on coffee because it just gives you a bad crash sometimes and people have to constantly drink it just to keep awake.

  • Erica (#)
    September 11th, 2017

    You are so right about the foods that cause fatigue. Processed foods will just exhaust you. Good tip about meditation. I imagine it’s hard to find the time as a new mom. But even taking 5 to 10 minutes here and there should add up to some beneficial. For sure as a new mom, it is important to take care of you.

  • Kimberly (#)
    September 11th, 2017

    I’ve found myself extremely tired lately and have increased my coffee intake only to continue to be tired and now it all makes sense. Thanks for sharing this! Going to be trying some of these!

  • Kansas Bonanno (#)
    September 11th, 2017

    Thank you so much for this post! I’m the mom of 3 and one on the way and I feel exhausted ALL THE TIME! I will most def. get some of these to try.

  • Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh (#)
    September 11th, 2017

    I needed this list right this very moment. I’ve only been up for a couple of hours. I actually slept in today, thanks to Hurricane Irma (we are in north Florida), but I am about to fall asleep sitting up! I have had three cups of coffee, and you know what it makes me sleepy! Crazy.

  • Melissa Chapman (#)
    September 11th, 2017

    Great post I will try to keep all those energy foods in mind to avoid fatigue. I drink coffee and did not realize it is counterproductive, maybe I will cut back.

  • Karen Morse (#)
    September 11th, 2017

    Ever since school started it has been crazy and I have been feeling quite tired too. It’s definitely important to include food that will provide your body with more energy in your diet! Love this guide!

  • Beth Davidson (#)
    September 11th, 2017

    I have a 2 year old and a 2 month old, so you can bet I’m going to be out grocery shopping today and getting everything on this list!

  • Brittany Fryman (#)
    September 11th, 2017

    When you have little ones around, especially newborns, it’s particularly important to pay close attention to your diet so you don’t unnecessarily weigh your body down with fatigue. I’m pinning this for later. Great post.

  • robin rue (#)
    September 11th, 2017

    When my kids were little, I used to nap when the kids napped, but I have never been able to take a 10 minute power nap. I actually don’t think it’s ever taken me less than 30 mins to fall asleep.

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