Emotional factors such as stress, depression, and trauma may lead to a poor appetite. Controllable factors such as alcohol, cigarette, and drug use can also result in poor appetite, as can an undetected illness, heavy mental poisoning, and nutritional deficiencies. To stimulate a poor appetite, the diet must be individualized to the patient’s tolerances. Undernourished people may lose their appetite at the sight of large amounts of food. Therefore, frequent small meals may be better tolerated with a gradual increase in the volume of food. When trying to stimulate a poor appetite, consider whether the appearance and aroma of the foods are appealing, in addition to whether the environment is conducive to eating.
Do not drink liquids before or during meals.
Between meals, eat any of the following: Avocados, banana soy pudding, buttermilk, cheese, chicken or tuna, custard, fruit shakes, nuts and nut butters, turkey, and yogurt. In addition to promoting weight gain, these snacks are easy to digest, are high in protein and essential fatty acids, and contain “friendly” bacteria.
Drink three or more cups a day of skim, soy, or almond milk. Use a soy carob drink and yogurt fruit shakes. Eat only whole grain bread, rolls, macaroni, crackers, and hot and cold cereals. Use cream (soy) soups as desired. They are usually higher in protein than broth soups.
Although undernourished people need their strength to get well, it is important that they become active as soon as possible. Walking and/or moderate exercise can trigger the appetite. Exercise if possible, but avoid strenuous exercise. Some exercise help to assimilate nutrients better and to increase appetite.