How do you get your appetite back?
The simple truth is that if you have malnutrition you don’t have time to find out how to get your appetite back. Your first question is how do you get calories in with no appetite. You are going to need these calories, to muster the energy to eat more and to get that appetite. I have a few answers.
You are gradually going to go from this point, to consuming the normal amount of calories your body should need, which is likely to be in the realm of 2000 a day. If you also need to gain weight, you are going to move onto more calories than you need for a substantial period of time.
Step 1. Eat at regular intervals. Start with food that you can make yourself eat, even if you have no appetite. Little and often.
Things you can mix with milk. 300ml of whole milk contains 186 calories, so if you can get that in with something fortifying it, that is good. Ready brek, semolina, pudding rice, custard, even angel delight mix if that really floats your boat. (Actually Angel Delight would make you feel shit, this is not normal circumstances). Milk mixed with something, is a good way to get your body to take calories and start to process food. Things mixed with milk are easy to digest and cheap ways to start introducing your body to the concept of eating regularly. Milk on its own will not do it, it just sloshes around and makes you feel shit, thicken it with something. Ready brek is very good for this purpose, my particular favourite. When your stomach is more capable, porridge. You will soon find out that porridge is the greatest thing that has ever been discovered and was possibly a peak for mankind. Even if you currently think porridge is glue.
A pan of mashed potato is quite a useful thing at times like these. You can eat it spoonfuls at a time and leave it till later,you can add butter and milk or alsorts of other stuff, it digests really really easily and is cheap.
Poached eggs are about the lightest way to cook eggs, and I can eat poached eggs, even if I can’t manage toast. A civilisation that has learned how to make poached eggs and toast, can’t be all bad, and even when you REALLY can’t eat, poached eggs are quick to get in and quite easy to swallow.(Fool proof method of poaching eggs).
Scrambled eggs. Really lightly scrambled(stop cooking way before you get to the polystyrene stage) eggs are a very good way to get calories in. You can get 4 eggs in a series of methodical slurps and they will meet barely any opposition in your mouth or on the way down. You can add butter or fats to scrambled eggs in quite big quantities.
Chucky Egg. Boiled eggs, mashed up in a cup with butter, salt and pepper. Nursery food.
*Eggs combined with fat, oh how I count the ways Western cuisine has come up with to achieve this aim. This is good news for treating malnutrition on a budget.
2. Chew, chew, swallow.
This is where you learn to override the bit that doesn’t really want to eat. You just ignore it, and set targets for the number of spoonfuls, or that you will not stop until you have finished the portion. Don’t overwhelm yourself, but waiting until you want to eat is no good. You have to eat to give yourself the calories, your body needs to turn into energy so you can want to eat. You will feel a noticeable difference almost immediately, and begin to learn that food equals energy, but you may have to force yourself initially.
3. Set the Alarm
The aim of this is to develop an appetite, the way to do this is to regularly give your body food. Decide on intervals between food. At this stage you are probably not ready for 3 meals a day, a mini bowl of mashed potato or ready break every hour or so is manageable though.
Waiting till you remember is no good, set an alarm and when that alarm goes off, get up and get food and then eat it and don’t stop until you are done, even if the alarm is going off for your next bit by the time you do that last mouthful. Each time keep an eye on how quickly your body turns it into energy, and feel that bit of solidity coming back. Your body will soon start telling you it can eat, start showing signs of hunger, and showing you it wants different things and it will start using the energy you have ingested. This will probably not come with choirs of angels celebrating, but will feel physically very good. You will start to feel better. Immediately.
Food Supplements can help a great deal at this point.