Just like losing weight, gaining weight is also a challenging task – and it is made even more difficult if you have a weak appetite. In this article, we give you 9 of the best tips for stimulating your appetite.
If you always have a low desire to eat, that can be a barrier that prevents you from effectively gaining weight and building lean muscle. Not having an appetite makes you feel frustrated, especially if you want to gain weight. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to help you boost your appetite.
Let’s face it – there are those days when you just don’t feel like loading up on food. Read on to find out what you can do to meet your high-calorie needs even if you have a weak appetite.
What Causes a Weak Appetite?
In order to gain weight, you need to consume more calories than what your body burns. But if you have a weak appetite, eating food every now and then can be a struggle.
Not exercising can lead to a low desire for food. Accredited practicing dietitian, Casuarina Forsyth, says that hunger is our body’s natural response to increased physical activity.
Whenever you exercise, your body burns up fuel and energy. As a result, your appetite increases, ensuring that your depleted fuel sources are replenished.
Eating unhealthy food can also weaken your appetite. Filling yourself up with sugary and salty food all day can make you feel full, but will not give you many calories for building mass.
Work Up Your Appetite and Gain Weight with These Practical Tips:
#1 Eat 6 to 8 Small Meals Every Day
When you don’t feel like eating, it can be difficult to finish off 3 full meals every day. To make things easier, you might want to divide your 3 main meals into 6 to 8 smaller meals throughout the day.
Try to identify which time of the day is your appetite the greatest, and try to eat more portions at those times.
If you don’t experience regular hunger cues, you may also want to set an alarm to remind you to eat.
#2 Don’t Miss Breakfast
To build up your appetite, you better not miss out on the most important meal of the day… breakfast!
A review study showed that not having breakfast can result in you eating less food throughout the day, and that is not what you want.
Breakfast helps kickstart thermogenesis, which is the body’s calorie-burning process. This also leads to an increase in appetite.
#3 Add Calories to Meals
For someone like you who has a weak appetite, you need to make the most out of those times when you really feel like eating.
Consider cooking your foods using calorie-rich ingredients, such as butter, nut butter, olive oil, or whole milk.
If you are cooking eggs, use butter or olive oil to quickly add 45 to 80 calories to your meal.
Cook oatmeal with whole milk, instead of water, to pack in an extra 80 calories.
Toss in some avocados and olive oil to your salads for another added 80 calories.
Putting some peanut butter on fresh apple slices gives you 100 extra calories.
#4 Pick Healthy Snacks
To gain lean weight, that doesn’t mean that you just eat anything you want. You also want to make sure that you are snacking on healthy and nutritious food that will fill you up the right way.
People with poor appetites tend to consume more sugary and oily foods, such as candy, chips, ice cream, or baked goods. These can be packed with calories, but provide your body with little nutrients.
Instead of having ice cream, you can get 1 cup of yogurt and top it off with fresh fruits, nuts, or honey. This way, you load your dessert with healthy calories and satisfy your sweet tooth at the same time.
Instead of grabbing that bag of potato chips for your mid-day treat, you might try these calorie-packed snacks instead:
- ¼ cup chocolate-covered peanuts (200 calories)
- ½ cup dried fruit (200 calories)
- Celery with 2 tablespoons of nut butter and 2 tablespoons of raisins (285 calories)
- ½ cup trail mix (350 calories)
- ½ cup sunflower seeds (375 calories)
- 1 protein bar (200 calories)
Encourage yourself to snack regularly by placing fruit, nuts, seeds, protein bars, and other nutritious treats around your house.
Just keep in mind that snacks should not replace your main meals. Try not to snack close to mealtime, as this can make you feel full and prevent you from finishing your meal.
#5 Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!
Whenever you train and exercise, your body burns calories to help meet your energy requirements. This is why you feel hungry after spending time in the gym.
Exercising regularly may help boost your appetite to help your body keep up with its energy needs. Laying in bed all day won’t work up your appetite, and just lead to you consuming more junk food or unhealthy treats.
#6 Control Your Water Intake
Staying hydrated is important. But drinking too many fluids before and during your meals can cause you to eat less.
A study shows that refraining from drinking water before your meals can boost your caloric intake by as much as 8.7%.
Try to limit your water consumption 30 minutes before eating and observe if your appetite improves.
#7 Take Your Vitamins
If you are deficient in some vitamins and minerals, this can also weaken your appetite.
Low levels of zinc in your body can lead to taste disturbances that can lower your desire to eat.
Taking fish oil supplements may boost your appetite and reduce feelings of fullness after your meals.
Echinacea contains natural compounds called alkylamines, which may help stimulate your appetite.
#8 Make Mealtimes More Enjoyable
It can be hard to enjoy your meal if you are eating the same type of food every day. Jazz up your meals by adding flavorful herbs, spices, sauces, or marinades. Add garnishes and colorful ingredients to make your meals look more desirable and appealing.
If possible, regularly change your menu so you don’t get easily bored with the meals you eat. It’s also a good idea to play music or watch a movie while you are eating – these make it easier for you to enjoy your meal.
#9 Turbocharge Your Mass Gainer Shake
A weight gain shake makes an excellent addition to your mass-building program, especially if you have a weak appetite. Instead of eating solid food, you get to drink huge amounts of calories in the form of a creamy shake.
Weight gain shakes typically contain around 800 to 2000 calories per serving. For those moments when you can’t prepare or enjoy a full meal, drinking a mass gain shake can help you meet your caloric needs.
Boost the caloric content of your mass gain shakes by adding a scoop of ice cream, slices of fresh fruit, oats, milk, or peanut butter.
Keep in mind, however, that a mass gain shake should not take the place of your main meals. Treat it as a supplement to help increase your calorie consumption.