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How to Increase Your Appetite


Updated March 02, 2014


Choose energy dense foods like cheese and whole milk.

Ty Smith

Lack of appetite can cause you to eat less than you should and can be a problem if it goes on for long, or if you need to maintain or gain weight. It can happen for a number of reasons, including illness or depression. Pregnant women often lose their appetites if they have morning sickness.

If your lack of appetite lasts more than a few days, you should seek help from a health professional.

Ways to Cope with Appetite Loss

Stock up on your favorite foods. You might feel like eating if you've got something delicious in front of you.

Eat snacks instead of full meals. You may not feel like eating much, but you may be able to eat a little bit at a time. Choose foods that you like and that you know won't upset your stomach. 

Choose foods that are energy dense. Sick with healthy foods, but pick ones that are higher in calories like cheese, nut butters and dense baked goods like bagels. Add sauce, cheese and gravy to meals to boost your caloric intake.

Bring on the flavor. Tempt your tastebuds with a dash of Tabasco or Siracha sauce. Or, if you prefer something milder, season your foods with your favorite herbs and spices.

Set a nice table. Bring out your most beautiful place settings and light a candle or two. A relaxed and happy atmosphere makes eating more pleasant.

Take liquid meals. If you don't feel like eating, drink Ensure or Carnation Instant Breakfast, or other meal replacer. You can also make your own nutritious fruit smoothies with peanut butter, milk, a banana and some berries.

Drink liquids between meals, not during. Liquids can fill you up before you eat enough food -- just take a few sips if any.

Change the texture. If chewing is a problem, you can chop or puree your foods, or eat soft foods like yogurt and very ripe fruit. 

More About Appetite 


American Cancer Society. "Appetite, Poor." Accessed November 19, 2013. http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/physicalsideeffects/dealingwithsymptomsathome/caring-for-the-patient-with-cancer-at-home-poor-appetite

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