What To Eat When You Have No Appetite

In instances where you're not feeling particularly hungry, you may be experiencing a loss of appetite. The Cleveland Clinic explains that short-term bouts of appetite loss can occur for different reasons, such as a side effect of certain medications or in response to a cold virus.

However, Chris Henigan, MS, RD, LDN explains to Health Digest that there are options available that can still provide us with nutritional value. "If you're not hungry at meal time, you don't have to eat a big meal, in fact, that can turn your appetite off completely," Henigan starts off explaining. In such cases, she suggests opting for something small, such as yogurt with granola, or cottage cheese paired with fruit.

For others, Henigan states that something in liquid form might be more appealing. "Soup can be a wonderful option as drinking something can be easier than the thought of chewing something," she says. "Along the same lines, a smoothie is a wonderful option to pack a lot of nutrition into an 8-ounce glass."

Overall, she emphasizes choosing foods that you know you like. "Try things like peanut butter, nuts and seeds, cheese on toast or a bagel," she suggests. "Comfort foods are easier to eat than something you're not looking forward to." Chicken noodle soup, mac and cheese, pizza, or a favorite bowl of cereal are also options, Henigan adds.

Stick with foods you enjoy

"This isn't the time for a big salad[.] [T]hings that are staples and you really enjoy can be really helpful when you don't feel like eating," says Henigan. She states this can also include cold food items such as cheese and crackers or a turkey sandwich.

Additionally, Henigan explains that just a few bites of these food items can offer us a great deal of nutrition. "Foods that are calorically dense like nut butters, cheese, avocado, eggs yogurt, only require a few bites to pack in the calories and nutrition," she shares.

While everyone will have their own unique nutritional needs, Henigan concludes the interview by offering some general tips one can implement to help support a healthy appetite. "Consistency is key. Eating every 3-4 hours can help your body predict when food is coming," she states. "Eventually, you might find your body asking for food. Keep trying different foods and see how your body reacts."

Of course, Henigan states that it may take some experimentation to find what works best. "Struggled to eat a sandwich? Try pasta next time. Didn't like the smoothie? Switch up the ingredients."

Offering her final piece of advice, she states, "Eating the same thing everyday, that's okay too. Stick with it and you'll find yourself branching out soon enough."

You'll want to see a doctor for your lack of appetite if it persists for more than a week or you experience concerning symptoms such as nausea, rapid heart rate, or sudden weight loss.