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Eating When You Have A Poor Appetite

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
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Eating When You Have A Poor Appetite

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Some days you just may not feel like eating. It can be caused by many different things -- pain, illness, tiredness and worry. It is important to eat well even on days like this. You'll find it helps your mood as well as your body.

These ideas can help:

  • Eat very small meals many times during the day.Here is a sample menu:  
    • Breakfast: 3 crackers with peanut butter, 1/2 cup apple juice
    • Snack: 1 carton yogurt
    • Lunch: 1/2 ham and cheese sandwich, 1 cup cocoa
    • Snack: 2 oatmeal cookies, 1/2 glass milk
    • Supper: cottage cheese, canned peaches
    • Snack: 1 bowl of cereal, milk
  • Eat something every hour or two whether you feel like it or not.
  • At this time, only eat food that you really love .Spaghetti and meatballs, pizza, and tacos are favorites for many people.
  • If you can find one thing you enjoy eating, just eat it all day . Bowl after bowl of ice cream, or one grilled cheese sandwich after another would be fine!
  • If you can't eat solid food, you may  be able to drink things . Try milkshakes.   Try ice cream floats -- mix ice cream with your favorite juice or soft drink in a tall glass. You might also try chocolate milk, egg nog or hot cocoa. Creamy soups might go down easily, too.
  • Keep snacks right beside you in your home. You might be able to nibble enough to finish quite a bit of food.


Get in the Mood for Food

The way you feel can make a difference in your appetite. If you are sad, lonely, or worried you might not feel like eating as much as when you are feeling more satisfied with life. Here are some ideas to help make mealtimes more cheerful.

  • Share mealtimes with people you enjoy. Invite them to your home or go to theirs.
  • Pack up some food for a picnic in the outdoors. Try the park, beach, or even your back yard. Bring a piece of bread to feed birds or squirrels. The sunshine, fresh air and company of animals will help you feel better.
  • Change where you eat daily. Always eating in the kitchen or in the bedroom makes meals less interesting. Try eating in the bathtub or on your porch or patio
  • Go for a short walk before eating. Exercise is good for you anyway. A walk in the fresh air can give you quite an appetite
  • Have a glass of wine before dinner. It will help your relax and gives a good appetite.
  • Listen to favorite music during dinner.
  • Read a funny story or interesting book during your meals.
  • Try not to just stand in the kitchen and eat out of the pot. Take the time to put your food on a plate and sit down at a table to eat.
  • Make your meals attractive. Spruce up your plate with a sprig of celery, a slice of lemon or other simple garnish. Buy colored paper napkins.
  • Put some fresh flowers on the table. Pick them yourself or buy some daisies.
  • Have some lighted candles on the table. It will make even a bowl of chili seem fancy!


Adapted from Tennessee Department of Health, 1/00

Last reviewed January 2000 by ]]>EBSCO Publishing Editorial Staff]]>

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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