Physical health is often bumped into second place when you are experiencing mental distress. When people are stressed, anxious, or depressed it is common for them to lose their appetite or neglect their physical needs. For people who are depressed, they usually lose both energy and interest, which can be transferred to their eating habits. These tips below will help you boost your appetite when experiencing mental distress:
Eat Less & More Often
It is recommended that we eat 3 meals a day, but when in mental distress, people may have trouble keeping up with this habit. Whether due to lack of appetite or lack of motivation, normal and healthy eating patterns are disrupted. If you find your condition severe, then talk to your doctor and try to find the cause. Otherwise, you can start by eating smaller, more frequent meals instead of 3 larger meals. Having a snack 2-3 times a day is not a bad idea, but make sure that your food is rich in nutrition. Food like whole-grain crackers and cheese, a bowl of bean, tofu/veggie soup, fruits and vegetables are all great choices! Eating smaller, more spaced out meals can be less overwhelming than eating 3 larger meals.
Eat With Others
Social inclusion is a great motivator for people to start caring about their meals, so try inviting or joining a friend for lunch or dinner. When you eat many meals alone it can be easy to ignore a few skipped meals but when you eat with friends they will help motivate you to eat.
When you're depressed or in mental distress not only is it hard to eat, it can also be difficult to find the motivation to cook. Be sure to have healthy food on hand if you do feel a slight spike in your appetite. If you don't have food prepared, the effort required to prepare something may deter you from eating. Try a meal prep service that will deliver healthy meals to your door or ask a friend or family member to prepare a few meals for you. If you are having a good day, try and prepare some extra food for the next few days.
Try Supplements and Water
Zinc deficiency may also exacerbate your appetite loss, so ask your doctor whether a zinc supplement is necessary. Also, a daily multivitamin can also help with appetite loss and help replenish nutrition deficiencies. Remember that a multivitamin is not complete replacement but rather a supplement to a healthy diet. Before you take any supplements, consult with your doctor. Another appetite booster is water. Dehydration can also lead to appetite loss. Aim to drink six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day unless your doctor has restricted your fluid intake.