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Food And Grief: What Role Does Food Play When Grieving?

We’ve spoken about different types of grief on our blogposts and its effects on many facets of life, such as sleep, finances, and everyday life. In today’s post, we are looking at some of the effects that food has on an individual whilst grieving and share a very simple food recipe to follow.

The loss of a loved one does only affect us emotionally, but it can also physically affect us in many ways. There are many articles exploring the way that grief can affect you financially, your family units, and your mental wellbeing but not so many people talk about food and your relationship with it (or lack of) after a loss.

Food can have completely different effects on those that are grieving. On the one hand, people may use eating as a coping mechanism whilst grieving. Alternatively, some bereaved individuals experience a profound loss of appetite. Furthermore, grief can leave you in a place where you cannot stomach the courage to do anything – least of all cooking! 

Young african american man eating lunch at restaurant

Grief Eating After A Loss

This can also be described as comfort eating or emotional eating. If you find yourself in this situation, there is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. Grief and loss are, of course, dealt with differently from person to person, however emotional eating is a normal response to grieve.

Is it normal to eat a lot while grieving?

There are many reasons we can form a habit of grief eating, but mainly it is utilised as a coping mechanism due to the loss. When the thought of talking to others about your grief may seem slightly too much to handle, food is only a few steps away. On these occasions food can very much become your support system!

Moreover, when a loved one dies it’s very common for family and friends to provide food or offer to cook whilst you’re finding your way through the stages of grief. During this period, it is likely for food to become a source of comfort too. 

Why do you lose appetite when grieving?

However, there may also be people on the other side of the spectrum that significantly lose appetite after the loss of a loved one. When a loved one dies, your desire for food can gradually diminish. 

While grieving, your own health is very unlikely to be your priority,  if one is not careful things like food can become the very least of your concerns. 

To combat this, things such as: regularly creating a grocery list and light meal planning can be of great help, most especially if you have children or individuals that may be dependent on you in the house. Likewise, if you have or know someone around you that is grieving and struggling in this area – please lend a helping hand!

Easy Grief Food and Recipe 

Today, I would like to share with you one of my favourite things to cook! It doesn’t require a lot of ingredients and you can simply use whatever you have in your fridge. I am also a food blogger, so I can be a little extra with my ingredients at times – but you don’t have to be. It’s a wholesome and hearty meal – and you will even have enough leftovers for the next day! 

Cooking can seem like a huge chore after the loss of a loved one, but I hope you find this recipe easy enough to follow, therapeutic to make and tasty enough to eat. Cooking can also be a great way to honour the memory of a deceased loved one.

I took my love for cooking from my late father who was absolute whizz in the kitchen, and now, as a food blogger my page serves as a way to honour his memory and legacy. Sometimes I find myself cooking things that he loved to eat and for me it brings back such beautiful memories.


This may be the yummiest pie you’ll ever eat, it’s warm, spicy, tasty, so filling and is the best low effort meal you could possibly make. You can pretty much use anything for the pie filling. You can swap the chicken for fish or just add vegetables. You also buy mashed potatoes from a supermarket rather than making your own.


Recipe by Beatrice FatunsinCourse: DinnerCuisine: BritishDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time




  • For the pie filling:
  • Chicken breasts

  • Vegetables of your choice (I used shallots, chillies, courgettes, carrots & bell peppers)

  • Single or double cream

  • Seasonings of choice

  • For the mashed potatoes:
  • Potatoes

  • Milk/cream

  • Butter

  • Salt

  • Black pepepr


  • Peel your potatoes and boil them in a pot of water until soft
  • Once cooked, drain out excess water and mash your potatoes. Add butter, milk and seasonings of choice.
  • Dice your chicken breasts and add your preferred seasonings (can use salt, cracked black pepper, garlic powder, white pepper, chicken seasoning, all-purpose seasoning).
  • Heat some oil in a pan, and fry chicken breasts until they’re just about cooked.
  • Remove your chicken from the pan. Then add your shallots and chilli peppers and leave to fry for a few minutes.
  • Add in the rest of your veggies and fry for 5 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Then add your chicken back into the pan.
  • Add 1 chicken stock cube to the pan. Add in some water, let it boil for a few minutes and then add your cream.
  • Add seasonings of choice to your pie filling.
  • Leave to cook for a few minutes on low heat. Stir continuously, so the filling doesn’t burn or curdle.
  • Add your filling mixture to a baking dish. Add your mashed potatoes. You can top with fresh parsley and chilli flakes.
  • Add to an oven at 190c for 30 mins. Enjoy!

We hope you find this grief recipe helpful. This would also be a great recipe to make with children (if you have any).

Are there any food recipes you found helpful during the grieving stages? Or perhaps there are some food bloggers that you’ve really enjoyed following during this time. Please share them below. They might help another bereaved person out!

Beatrice Fatunsin


Beatrice joined The Balanced Wheel team in 2020, 2 years after losing her dad to cancer. She started as a content writer for the team, then moved on to social media management and now volunteers as an editorial contributor. Beatrice is fun-loving, and just like the meaning of her name, she’s easy to love. Beatrice follows her dad’s love for cooking with her food blog and baking business, where she is obsessed with making Red Velvet Oreo Brownies.

“You can follow my food page on Instagram for more exciting and simple recipes, as I follow my dad’s love for cooking.”


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