Nine Nutritional Tips For Managing A Loss Of Appetite
A decreased appetite occurs when you have a reduced desire to eat. It may also be known as a poor appetite or loss of appetite. The medical term for this is anorexia.
Medications, emotions, pain, fatigue, as well as other conditions or problems, may interfere with digestion. Good nutrition is a necessity for healthy living. For some people, loss of appetite occurs in the morning. For other people, it happens in the latter part of the day. On those days that you feel there is no appetite, what are the things you could do to help?
The following are some tips to optimise nutrition while dealing with appetite loss.
1. Take note of when your appetite is best
When you feel well, eat as much nutritious food as possible in case you do not feel as well later. Do not limit or restrict food intake when your appetite is good.
2. Eat 5-6 small meals per day and snack anytime
Small amounts of food are typically easier to digest and are easier on the stomach. It is often easier to better meet nutrition needs while battling appetite loss by eating smaller amounts of food more frequently.
3. Keep healthy snacks around, and do not go more than three hours without eating
Pack a cooler or insulated lunch bag to take on longer trips or to appointments when the wait time is variable.
Keep small containers of fruit, dried fruit, trail mix, small bottles of juice, yoghurt, cheese, whole-grain crackers, cereal, granola bars, and other portable food items that are easy to eat and require little to no preparation.
Always keep snacks visible and available as a reminder that it is important to eat to get the body the nutrients it needs.
4. If food is not appealing, have a nutritious beverage instead
A high-protein shake or smoothie can have as many calories as a small meal or large snack. Have a ready-to-drink liquid nutrition supplement when food is not appealing. Milkshakes, smoothies, or protein shakes can be made with yoghurt, milk, ice cream, protein powder, fruit, and other ingredients using a blender. Have these ingredients available for times when a drink sounds better than a meal.
5. Drink liquids between meals
Sometimes drinking liquids with meals causes the stomach to get full faster. This prevents eating enough and maximising nutrition from food sources. If an early feeling of fullness is a problem, try waiting to drink any liquids until after a meal and do not drink any liquids for at least 30 minutes before a meal.
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6. Add calories and protein to foods to give their nutrient content a boost
There are ways to add protein and calories to foods that are already eaten regularly. Add a scoop of protein powder to a shake or smoothie.
Add healthy fat such as olive oil, nuts, or nut butter to recipes and other dishes to boost the calorie content. Ask a registered dietitian for other suggestions on how to increase the protein and calorie content of foods.
7. Exercise or do some physical activity at least an hour before a meal
Regular exercise may help increase appetite. Go for a 20-minute walk before sitting down to a meal.
8. Get in the habit of having a bedtime snack
An easy-to-digest snack such as yoghurt and fruit, cheese and crackers, or peanut butter and crackers is an easy way to get some additional nutrition and will not impact appetite for the next meal. If reflux or heartburn is an issue, have this snack at least one hour before lying down.
9. Talk to your healthcare team about managing your emotional well-being
Depression, anxiety, fear, and stress can all affect one’s appetite. Trained health professionals such as social workers and psychologists can also assist in managing these emotions.
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