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Appetite Changes and Weight Loss

Some of these suggestions may not be appropriate if you are on a special diet.

Eat six to eight small, frequent meals and snacks daily instead of large meals.

Serve food in small portions on small plates, and drink out of a small glass but refill it often.

Keep a variety of nutritious snacks on hand, such as cheese and crackers, peanut butter and crackers, muffins, pudding, nutrition supplements, instant breakfast, nuts, cold cuts, juice, milk, yogurt, milkshakes, ice cream, dried fruit, cookies, pie, cake, canned fruit, and soups.

Keep ready-to-eat, easily prepared foods on hand, such as microwave dinners, frozen convenience foods, milkshakes, and nutrition supplements.

When you eat and drink, maximize nutritional value:

  • Drink fluids that contribute calories (whole milk, juice, soft drinks, sweetened beverages, milkshakes, nutritional supplements) instead of water.

  • Use protein-fortified whole milk instead of water to make soup, puddings, milkshakes, and hot cereals. To fortify milk, add 1 cup dry milk per quart of liquid milk; blend.

  • Include a source of protein at every meal and snack, such as meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, tofu, eggs, nuts, milk, yogurt, cheese, ice cream, pudding, and nutritional supplements.

  • Add extra butter, margarine, or cream to soups, vegetables, potatoes, rice, pasta, breads, muffins, and cooked cereal.

  • Use extra mayonnaise and salad dressing on sandwiches and salads (egg salad, tuna salad, chicken salad, potato salad, cold cuts).

  • Add whipped cream to pies, puddings, fruit, cocoa, gelatin and other desserts.

  • Add extra sugar, syrup, jelly, or honey to foods and beverages.

  • Make a schedule for eating and follow it like a prescription, even if you’re not hungry.

  • Plan your biggest meal of the day when you are feeling the best.

  • Eat meals in a pleasant, relaxing atmosphere.

  • Try a variety of new tastes and textures to find those that appeal to you.

  • Light exercise, such as walking, before a meal may help stimulate your appetite.

  • If allowed by your doctor, have a small amount of alcohol before meals to stimulate your appetite.

  • Consult your physician about medications that may help stimulate appetite.

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Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

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