What (and how) to eat when you have no appetite

Lost your appetite? A dietitian shares the foods you should try to eat that will nourish your body (and won’t make you feel queasy). 

Loss of appetite is something that almost everyone has experienced. Whether you’re going through a difficult experience, such as grief or a break-up, and eating is the last thing on your mind or you’re recovering from an illness like food poisoning and can’t face your usual favourite foods, there are so many reasons people lose their appetites.

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But eating food is crucial for your health, so it’s important not to ignore that loss of appetite. And although there might be an obvious reason for your lack of interest in it, it could also be a sign of a more serious problem, so make sure to consult a healthcare professional if it persists – and if you’re having any trouble drinking water, contact your GP immediately.

Even if your appetite only disappears temporarily, it’s still important to try and eat whatever you can. “Our bodies need energy and nutrients to function, so it is important to eat food even if you have a reduced appetite,” says Signe Svanfeldt, a registered dietitian and a nutritionist at the nutrition app LifeSum. If you’re feeling lost when you open the fridge, not to worry – we asked Svanfeldt to share the best foods to eat when you’re struggling with your appetite. 

Liquid foods

If your appetite is low and you haven’t been able to eat, it’s likely that you’re seriously lacking in energy. In which case, the idea of preparing and eating a meal might seem like too big a task. Instead, Svanfeldt suggests opting for liquid foods, like smoothies, soups and juices. “Try to make a smoothie and add some nut butter or nuts for extra energy,” she says.

Salty foods

If you’ve ever heard foods described as moreish, it’s likely that they have a high salt content (because let’s face it – it’s impossible to open a tube of Pringles and eat just one). “Salty foods increase the appetite,” Svanfeldt explains. Snacks like olives, crackers and cheese are good options to tempt you back into mealtimes.

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Energy and nutrient-dense foods

If you’re not eating enough, your body is likely lacking in crucial nutrients. It’s therefore a good idea to think about incorporating nutrient-dense foods back into your diet, such as nuts, seeds, nut butter, wholegrain bread or yoghurt, according to Svanfeldt.

Refreshing foods

“If you feel like eating something refreshing, try cold fruits, such as berries, or cut fruits, including melons, apples, grapes or strawberries, into smaller cubes,” Svanfeldt says. Fruit is not only a healthy option but it’s light and can be easy to eat when you’re not hungry.

You can find more nutrition advice and recipes over on the Strong Women Instagram page.

Images: Getty

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