Meal-Prep Advice for COVID-19 Vaccine Second Dose, Side Effects


  • I had my second dose of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, and I had a fever and chills for 36 hours after.
  • My side effects were common, and a sign that the immune system is learning from the vaccine.
  • I prepared meals in case I got sick. Two nutritionists analyzed my meal plans, and said what they would change.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

I got my second Moderna shot last week, and, yes, it took me out for about 36 hours.

I knew this might happen — I’ve heard from plenty of people who had fever, chills, and muscle aches for a couple of days after the second dose.

As experts have thoroughly explained, side effects like mine represent a natural immune response. An mRNA vaccine like Moderna’s sends messenger RNA into your body, teaching your immune system to practice attacking the coronavirus. With the second dose, your body is prompted to remember its first lesson, and puts up a fight.

Living alone and nowhere near family, I was not looking forward to a couple of days of sickness on my own. (Talking to people on the phone when you’re feeling low isn’t quite the same kind of comfort.)

So I decided to set everything up ahead of time — I did my laundry, tidied up, and, most importantly, I meal-prepped. It worked so well for me that I’ve been recommending it to everyone.


To make sure my advice is sage, I asked two dietitians, Vanessa Rissetto, RD, CDN, and Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, to review the meals I stocked up on, bracing for a two-day fever.

They told me what really works for fever, chills, and nausea, what I could have skipped, and what they would add to the mix. 

My side effects

Around five hours after my shot, I started to feel fatigued. Then I had light fever and chills throughout the night — not wildly uncomfortable, I was just drifting in and out of sleep feeling waves of hot and waves of cold. 

The next day (around 15 hours after my shot), a more intense fever, chills, and muscle aches really kicked in. 

Throughout the day I generally felt weak and shivery, with a few bursts of feeling absolutely fine and a couple of dips where I felt really shivery and sick. 

I felt feverish and weak the rest of the night, and I woke up with chills at 6 AM the next morning, but they subsided by around 8 AM (40 hours after my shot).

What I meal-prepped

Jess Lessard Photography/Getty Images

As a dietitian, Taub-Dix is always pro meal-prep. But she was particularly adamant that even the most devout takeout-orderers should stock up ahead of their second COVID-19 shot. 

She and her husband had barely any side effects to their second shots of the COVID-19 vaccine. Their kids, however, had the same reaction as me. (Thankfully for the kids, their dieitian mom was armed with vegetable-filled broth.)

“It’s a good idea to have food in for your second vaccine, because you just don’t know” how the side effects will hit you, Taub-Dix, creator of, author of “Read It Before You Eat It,” said. 

Here’s what I made — it took me about an hour total on the day of my shot, but you could do it the evening before:

  • Breakfast: I made three jars of overnight oats, with oats, oat milk, banana, sliced up apple, and some walnuts
  • Lunch and dinner options: A big batch of chicken and rice soup (enough for two to three portions), plus a big salad with carrots, cucumber, peppers, avocado, and quinoa
  • Snacks: Chopped up carrots to nibble on, apples, and bananas
  • Drinks: Orange juice and plenty of water (I skipped coffee and alcohol in the two days after my vaccine)
  • Extra: A bottle of acetaminophen/Tylenol

What worked well

I made three batches of overnight oats, stored in…

Read More:Meal-Prep Advice for COVID-19 Vaccine Second Dose, Side Effects

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.