Tips to Boost Your Appetite

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As summer approaches, warmer temperatures sometimes zap our energy and our appetites. If you or a loved one don’t have much of an appetite, there are healthy ways for you to get the nutrition you need and regain your desire to eat.

  1. Add variety to your meals by using different colors, textures and aromas. When food is more appealing to the senses, it can help to wake up your appetite. The easiest way to do this is by adding fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables.
  2. Ask friends and family to have a meal with you. The positive atmosphere of eating with people that you enjoy spending time with can often enhance your appetite. If stress is the cause of your reduced appetite, make sure to keep mealtime conversations focused on positive topics.
  3. Fill your house with enticing smells such as fresh baked goods. Appealing to your sense of smell may increase your appetite. Herbs and spices, such as cinnamon, coriander, rosemary and ginger, can help increase appetite. Ginger also helps with nausea.
  4. Keep your favorite healthy foods on hand. Often convenience plays a role in what we eat. Keep foods around that you like, that are healthy and easy-to-eat, including apples, bananas, pears, grapes, carrots, cucumbers, peppers, string cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, hummus, peanut butter, lean lunch meat, whole wheat crackers and granola bars. Keep in mind, any time you buy processed foods, make sure to look for items that contain simple ingredients.
  5. Appetite suffers when you have trouble chewing, so if this is your problem, look for protein sources that are easy to eat, such as nut butters, yogurt, beans, eggs and fish. Choose fruits and vegetables that easily can be baked, microwaved or sautéed to soften the texture.
  6. Physical activity – even a short walk – can also help boost your appetite.

When concerned about whether you’re getting enough nutrients, smoothies are a great option. Consider adding ingredients, such as nut butters, Greek yogurt, powdered milk, 100 percent juice, fruit and veggies to boost calories. Smoothies are a great way to get a lot of nutrients, and they’re also are a cool treat on a warm, summer day.

Source:, Adapted for seniors by Tiffany Cox, R.D., C.D., May 2016

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