What to Eat When You Have Burnout
Eat Well Sep. 11. 2018

This Is The Bowl Meal To Eat When You Have Burnout

Sep. 11. 2018
McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

McKel Kooienga, MS, RDN, LDN

Founder of Nutrition Stripped® and the Mindful Nutrition Method™

Burnout Bowl is a meal you can make with ease, throw together, and feel confident that you’re nourishing your body during a rough time.

First things first, if you haven’t read our article on what burnout is and the signs you might have burnout, then please right click on this link to open it up in a new tab, then come right back to get this delicious and super simple nourishing meal to help you feel your best during this time. Or better yet, to make this for a loved one who might be going through a challenging time.

Although this recipe title may be witty, talking about burnout is a serious topic and one that we should be shining a light on more often than not. To recap, taken from our article on burnout, burnout is defined by the World Psychiatry as “… a psychological syndrome emerging as a prolonged response to chronic interpersonal stressors on the job. The three key dimensions of this response are an overwhelming exhaustion, feelings of cynicism and detachment from the job, and a sense of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. The significance of this three‐dimensional model is that it clearly places the individual stress experience within a social context and involves the person’s conception of both self and others.” (1)

How To Nourish Yourself When You Have Burnout

Taking care of yourself when you’re experiencing burnout, and most importantly as a preventative measure, is so important to feeling like yourself again. Nourishing yourself in the form of good company, support, love, rest, exercise, sleeping, and of course eating healthy foods can help you feel your best.

It’s really easy to let things slide when you’re experiencing burnout, from doing the things that make you feel your best, from engaging in normal social activities, finding the gratitude and joys in everyday life, to eating healthy foods or with some people, eating enough food at all. If you’re wondering if you’re eating enough food, be sure to check out the signs that you’re eating enough article. Return to this article as a guide to help you overcome this and use these easy recipes to hand to a loved one to make them for you!

Grocery Shopping & Cooking Plan For This Recipe

This recipe isn’t something magical that’ll help you overcome burnout, but it will nourish your body with really important energy in the form of protein, fiber, carbohydrates, and healthy fats along with vitamins and minerals your brain and body need.

The Burnout Bowl is a nutrient-dense meal wrapped up in a warm, comfort food kinda way with cooked carbohydrates like sweet potato or quinoa if you prefer, high quality olive oil, salmon or you can use a vegan-friendly protein like organic tempeh or cooked lentils, roasted or steamed vegetables of your choice, and a thick and creamy sauce of your choice (see the options below). Basically, you mix it all up in a bowl and voila, a quick, healthy lunch or dinner that you or a loved one can make for you, for the week!

You can print this recipe off for a friend to get these for you at the grocery store, you can screenshot it to your phone to take with you at the grocery store, or have this pulled up on your laptop in the kitchen to see what you have already in the pantry and the fridge — whatever you need to do to make it happen.

Cooking day plan (example, if you are eating this daily for dinner, 5 days this week):

  • Multiple this recipe by the number of days or number of servings you’ll most likely be eating this for the week — again you can switch up the ingredients to whatever you like and eat them from week to week just by switching up the foods.
  • Roasted vegetables: using a large sheet pan, roast the vegetables of your choice on 350 degrees F for about 35 minutes or until fork tender — drizzle the vegetables with olive oil, salt, and black pepper. Super simple
  • Proteins: whatever protein you choose to make, if you’re using an animal protein make about 2-3 servings maximum, if it’s fish try to make it upon serving, and if it’s a plant-based protein like tempeh you can make a 2-3 packages (typically 2 servings per package) on your cooking day to last you the week. No matter what protein you’re in the mood for, opt for a simple cooking method like baking in the oven at the same time you’re roasting the vegetables off (make this easy on yourself!). Roast the protein at 350 degrees F for anywhere from 10-30ish minutes depending on what protein you choose — check out this guide to figure out the cook times
  • Carbohydrates: at the same time that you’re roasting off vegetables and proteins, on the stovetop make quinoa/rice/millet or another grain you enjoy and also/or add 5 sweet potatoes to another sheet pan in the oven to bake off until soft (again, multi-tasking!)
  • Healthy fats: there’s no prep that needs to be done here, hooray! Just top your Burnout Bowl with whatever you like: olive oil, avocado oil, avocado, nuts and seeds of your choice like sunflower seeds or hemp seeds
  • A big dollop or drizzle of something that’ll pack tons of flavor in one-two scoops like these sauces below
  • After these meal components are cooked, store them in an airtight glass container in your fridge then reheat as you need to, then throw everything in a bowl, stir it up and enjoy the simplicity in this!

Sauces that you can use with your Burnout Bowl:

  1. Sweet Creamy Onion Dip
  2. Cashew Kimchi Dip
  3. Green Goddess Dressing
  4. Creamy Turmeric Salad Dressing (also doubles as a nice drizzle sauce)

Other recipes that you may really enjoy:


A quick resource primer on the following topics and components that make up this Burnout Bowl template:


How many carbohydrates should we eat in a day and are carbohydrates good for us?

Healthy Fats

A case for making sure we eat enough healthy fat throughout the day and why fat doesn’t make you fat


Plant-based proteins you should be eating, do we need protein right after a workout, and protein basics.


The Recipe

Serves 1 Bowl


Ingredient Template

1 cup starchy vegetable (like a sweet potato, etc.)

1 cup starchy carbohydrate (like quinoa, millet, rice, etc.)

2 cups roasted vegetables (like peppers, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.)

1 serving, about 4 ounces of high-quality protein (like salmon, chicken, tempeh, etc.)

2-3 tablespoons healthy fat (like olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, etc.)

1-2 tablespoons topper (like a dressing, hummus, the sauces from NS mentioned above)

If you’re feeling it, add 1 tablespoon of fermented vegetables

Ingredients for this specific Burnout Bowl

1 medium baked potato (sweet, purple, or small reds)

1/2 cup cooked quinoa

2 cups roasted red bell peppers and zucchini

4 ounces baked wild-caught salmon, baked with lemon and olive oil

1/4 avocado

2 tablespoons Cashew Kimchi Dip

Ground black pepper and sea salt to taste

1 tablespoon kimchi


Step 1

Follow the cooking plan recommended in the article first

Step 2

Put all the ingredient of your choice in a bowl and call it a day. It’s as simple as that. You may want to add a little fresh ground pepper, sea salt to taste and some fresh herbs if you have them on hand, if not, you’re all good to go.

If you need help, talk about it.

We all need help — I’ll be the first to happily, loudly, and proudly share that what got me through my cases of burnout was speaking with a my family, friends, licensed therapist, checking in with my physician regularly, and engaging in other modes of functional medicine that kept me grounded like acupuncture, meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises. It took multiple pillars of health and is still a daily practice.

Always remember, that you’re not alone even if it feels like you are and that nothing ever stays constant — we’re always evolving and so do the good and hard times.

  1. Understanding the burnout experience: recent research and its implications for psychiatry Christina Maslach, Michael P. Leiter. World Psychiatry. 2016 Jun; 15(2): 103–111. Published online 2016 Jun 5. 

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