How to Increase Your Appetite

Three Methods:Changing Your Eating HabitsGeneral AdviceIncreasing Your Appetite for Bodybuilding

Increasing your appetite can be a tricky business, especially if you find food unappealing or are struggling to gain weight. But don't worry, there are many things you can try to train your body to eat more and to start enjoying food again. Here are some great suggestions for kick-starting a healthy appetite.

Method 1
Changing Your Eating Habits

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    Always eat breakfast. You've heard it before, but breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Eating a healthy, balanced breakfast kick-starts your metabolism after a long night of not eating and gets your body ready for the day.[1] Eating breakfast will give you more energy so you will be more active throughout the day, thus increasing your appetite further.
    • Some good options for healthy, balanced breakfasts include wholegrain cereals, yogurt, granola and fresh fruit, and healthy fruit smoothies.
    • If you're trying to increase your calorie intake, try spreading some peanut butter on a slice of wholegrain bread or toast. It's tasty and full of healthy fats.
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    Eat small, frequent meals. Eating small, frequent meals rather than the usual three a day is a great way to build towards a healthy appetite. People with small appetites can often be turned off by the large portion sizes at regular mealtimes. Small meals, on the other hand, can be less daunting and less filling than large meals, while eating them frequently still allows you to consume the same amount of food overall.
    • Eating smaller meals can also help you to feel less bloated and sluggish after eating, which is the reason many people with small appetites don't enjoy large meals. Try eating 4 to 6 small meals a day to avoid feeling overly full.
    • Don't be afraid to break with convention and eat whenever most appeals to you. If you prefer to eat your biggest meal in the morning rather than in the evening, go for it. If you prefer to break dinner time up into two smaller meals, that's fine too.
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    Eat healthy snacks. Eating healthy snacks can help when you have trouble eating much food at mealtimes. The small quantities can be less daunting, while frequent snacking can help get you into the correct mindset when it comes to eating. Try putting small bowls of your favorite snacks in frequently used areas around the house, like the kitchen counter or living room coffee table, to encourage snacking throughout the day.[2]
    • Choose foods which are high in healthy sugars and fats, such as bananas, avocados and nuts, tasty spreads and dips such as hummus or cream cheese, or salty treats such as popcorn and pretzels.
    • Just remember that snacks are not meant to be eaten instead of meals, but in addition to them. So avoid snacking too close to meals times, otherwise you might ruin your appetite.
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    Choose your favorite foods. Eating more is easier when you eat foods that you actually enjoy. Put some time and preparation into buying and planning out meals and snacks that you like, that way you should never end up not eating just because there's nothing in the house that appeals to you.[2]
    • If you are currently under your ideal weight, you shouldn't worry too much about sticking to a purely healthy diet. If you love chocolate cake or pizza, indulge yourself a little and allow yourself to eat your favorite sweet or savory treats. However too much fatty food can cause you to feel bloated or unwell, so eat in moderation.
    • You can also try eating your favorite comfort foods or foods you associate with your home or childhood - think hearty beef stews or chicken pot pies. You may find foods that you associate with good memories easier to eat.
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    Avoid off-putting odors. Foods that have particularly strong smells can be overpowering and may turn you off eating a dish completely, especially if you weren't particularly hungry to begin with. Avoid foods like tuna or stinky cheese (unless you happen to love them) or anything which has a smell that doesn't appeal to you.
    • Remember that hot food usually has more of an aroma than cold food, so try eating more sandwiches, salads or cold cuts of meat if smells are not your thing.
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    Use herbs and spices in cooking. On the other hand, foods that have a very pleasant or fragrant smell can be very appealing and might be just the thing to get your tummy rumbling. Try adding herbs or spices to your favorite foods to create wonderful aromas and add interest to food. You'll no longer be put off by bland and boring foods.
    • Cinnamon is one spice that is often said to naturally stimulate your appetite. Add it to baked goods, sprinkle a bit on buttered toast or add a little to a hot cup of cocoa to appreciate its warm and spicy aroma and flavor.[3]
    • Herbs such as basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary and fennel can all add interest and flavor to a huge variety of dishes. Experiment by using these herbs in different dishes until you find a combination that you like.
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    Eat less fiber. Fiber, a nutrient found in fruits, vegetables and whole grain foods, is an essential component of any healthy diet. However, fiber-rich foods can be extremely filling, so it may be best to eat such foods only in moderation when trying to increase your appetite.
    • It takes longer for your body to process fiber-rich foods than other types of food, which is why it's great for people who are trying to eat less while still having plenty of energy throughout the day.[4]
    • But if you're trying to increase your appetite, cutting back on high fiber foods such as brown rice or pasta and wholewheat cereals can help you to feel more hungry. This should only be used as a short-term solution, however, as fiber is essential for healthy and normal body function.

Method 2
General Advice

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    Make meal times pleasant. Eating can be a much more enjoyable experience when you put some effort into creating a pleasant atmosphere at meal times. Light some candles, put some music on, or watch your favorite TV show while eating. Also try to avoid stressful topics of conversation at the table, especially if your poor appetite is a symptom of anxiety.[2]
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    Exercise. Doing some light exercise can really help to stimulate your appetite. Your body is designed to crave more energy from food after burning calories, so you'll always feel hungrier after exercising.[5]
    • You don't need to put in a strenuous work-out at the gym for this to work, even a brisk walk outside in the fresh air half an hour before a meal can help to stimulate appetite.
    • If you are underweight, you should avoid any form of strenuous exercise because even though you will be hungrier after working out, the food you eat will only balance out the calories you burned while exercising, which is no good if you are trying to gain weight. Leave the strenuous exercise until your appetite has improved and weight has increased.
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    Drink enough liquids. You should aim to drink between 6 to 8 glasses of water or water-based drinks a day. Drinking a glass of water an hour before and an hour after a meal can help with digestion and ensure that there is not too much food in the stomach at any given time. However, you should avoid drinking too much water directly before a meal, as this can decrease your appetite and give you a false sense of fullness.
    • Certain herbal teas have also traditionally been used to increase appetite, in particular peppermint, anise and licorice teas. Try drinking a cup or two throughout the day to increase your liquid intake and potentially increase your appetite.[6]
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    Keep a food diary. Keeping a food diary is a great way to identify and understand the problems in your relationship with food, so you can attempt to overcome them. Everyday you should make notes of the times you felt hungry or of the foods that appealed to you most. This way you can identify the best times and foods for you to eat, so you can maximize your appetite.
    • You should also make notes foods or smells that you find unappealing, so you can try to avoid them in future.
    • In addition, keeping a food diary will allow you to track your progress to see how far you've come, which can be a great confidence boost.
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    Avoid eating alone. It is a lot easier to skip meals or avoid eating what's on your plate if you frequently eat alone. Arrange to eat family dinners or invite a friend over to eat with you. You will enjoy the experience more and may even forget that you're eating.
    • Having other people around is also a good idea as they can offer you encouragement and hold you accountable for the food you fail to eat, if that's what you want.
    • If eating with family and friends is not always an option, consider joining a business breakfast club or an interest-based social club where you can dine alongside others for a few meals a week.
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    Use large plates. Eating food off larger plates than usual is a psychological trick which leads your brain to believe that you are eating a smaller portion of food. In this way, you can eat more than if the food was piled high on a small plate, even if it's exactly the same amount of food.
    • Using brightly colored plates and arranging your food in an aesthetically pleasing way has also been said to positively affect appetite.
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    See a doctor. If your poor appetite persists you should consider seeing a doctor. If he or she feels that your appetite is negatively impacting your health, they may prescribe you with an appetite inducing medication, such as megestrol or cyproheptadine, which should help you to get a healthy appetite back in no time.[7]

Method 3
Increasing Your Appetite for Bodybuilding

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    Increase your zinc intake. Zinc is a very important important mineral for bodybuilders - it strengthens the immune system and stimulates testosterone production. Low zinc levels have also been linked with poor appetite, as zinc is needed to produce HCl which regulates digestion in the stomach. Therefore, by increasing your zinc intake you can also increase your appetite.[8]
    • It is recommended that beginner bodybuilders start out with 15 milligrams a day (for men) and 9 milligrams a day (for women), though this can be increased overtime.[9]
    • It is possible to increase your zinc intake by taking a supplement, however toxicity is a concern so it's best to get as much of your daily zinc intake from food as possible.[9]
    • Some foods which contain high levels of zinc include: oysters, chicken, beef shank, pork chops, wheat bran, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds.[9]
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    Restore your body's HCl levels. As mentioned before, HCl is an important substance for increasing your appetite when bodybuilding. HCl helps to break down food in the stomach, allowing your body to absorb essential nutrients. Low HCl levels have also been linked with a decreased appetite for protein, which is bad news for bodybuilders.[8]
    • You can naturally increase your HCl levels by drinking a glass of fresh lime juice diluted in water first thing in the morning. The natural acids in the lime juice will help to stimulate your stomach's HCl production.[8]
    • There are many different types of protein drinks, but most come in a powdered form which you can then dissolve in milk, water or juice.
    • You should drink them before or after a work-out, or in place of a meal, if necessary.
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    Eat faster. When trying to consume more food at each sitting, it may help to try eating your food a little faster. Research has shown that it can take up to 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to start sending out signals that it's full.[10] By eating faster, you can trick your body into consuming more food than usual. Try eating bigger bites and avoid putting your fork down in between, just make sure you chew everything thoroughly.
    • Be warned that you may feel extremely full once your brain does register that you've eaten enough. However, over time your body will adjust to this feeling and your appetite should increase, especially if you are also increasing the intensity of your work-outs.
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    Take a supplement. Certain forms of B vitamins are said to help bodybuilders increase their appetite - namely, B12 and Folic acid. You can take these vitamins in tablet form or more directly, through injections which your doctor can prescribe. It is recommended that you take 1 cc. of each, two times a week.[8]
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    Drink protein shakes. If you're having trouble eating the large quantities of food necessary to build muscle, you can consider drinking protein shakes. Protein shakes are essentially a type of supplement which provide high levels of protein in an easily drinkable form. They are helpful when consuming large quantities of protein-rich foods leaves you feeling bloated and overly-full.


  • Loss of appetite could be a sign of depression. Know when to seek professional advice. Ask yourself: Have I lost interest in food, as well as some other things that I used to enjoy?
  • Loss of appetite can also be caused by stress. Finding ways to ease the stress may help bring back your appetite.
  • Surround yourself with good smells. Try walking past the bakery or the delicatessen.
  • Have a high-calorie dessert that is relatively healthy, such as a banana split or a slice of pecan pie.
  • Many products designed for senior citizens (for example, the "Ensure" line of products that includes shakes) will aid in weight gain as they are high in calories, with balanced nutrition and don't fill you up.
  • If all else fails get your GP/ dietician to prescribe you Cal shake. They are just like normal milkshake but they have around 600 more calories and you can add anything you want to them (cream, gold top milk, strawberries and loads more) BTW They come in four different flavours banana, strawberry, chocolate and mint.
  • To have appetite really fast, chew a mint chewing gum for about 30 minutes and you should be very starving to eat .


  • Rapid and substantial weight gain can be very bad for your health, and without the proper nutrients may cause stretch marks. Slow and steady, on the other hand, is much healthier.
  • Always consult your medical nutritionist before starting a new diet.

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