What to do when you don’t feel like eating after illness or surgery
One of the side effects of having surgery or going through an illness often is a loss of appetite. Even if you’d like to lose a few pounds, this isn’t the time to stop eating. Protein is needed to heal the body. Good nutrition also helps keep your immune system strong to fight off infection. When a person loses weight quickly, there is a tendency to lose muscle instead of fat which can diminish your strength during the recovery process.
When days go by without a return of your appetite, consider trying these six appetite boosters from Healthline.
Go beyond three meals
Try eating smaller meals several times a day instead of having three large meals. If all you can eat for breakfast is a piece of toast, go with that but then try to have some yogurt and fruit a few hours later. Try adding healthy snacks throughout the day like nut butter and crackers, fruits or trail mix. As your appetite grows, increase the meal size and move back to three meals.
Make every bite count
People struggling with a poor appetite may take on a “something is better than nothing” approach. But eating empty calories like potato chips or candy bars does not deliver nutrients. Concentrate on protein, healthy fats and whole grains. So if you only feel like eating ice cream, try Greek yogurt and fresh berries instead.
Mix in some fun
When possible, eat with others or while watching television. When you’re talking or watching television, your mind is less focused on the food. Studies show that eating with someone can increase your food intake by 18 percent and eating in front of the television can increase it by 14 percent.
Set a meal schedule
When you aren’t feeling hungry, you need to be intentional about scheduling meals. Set a timer or watch the clock to schedule at least three meals a day. Do not skip breakfast. Breakfast gets your body burning calories, which can increase your appetite. You don’t have to eat big meals but you do need to eat at regular intervals throughout the day. When you feel hunger, eat as much as you can even if you normally eat a smaller amount at that time. If breakfast is when you feel hungry, eat a big breakfast packed with protein and then you can eat lighter later in the day.
Liquid nutrition boost
If chewing a steak seems overwhelming, try a nutritious beverage instead. Smoothies can be packed with protein and nutrients and deliver a boost to your system when food seems too difficult. However, avoid drinking water or other beverages before trying to eat a meal. Drinking before a meal can reduce your appetite. If you want to try to eat a meal, refrain from drinking anything for 30 minutes before eating to see if it improves your appetite.
Eat what you like
If you’ve never liked green beans, you’re not suddenly going to like them just because they’re good for you. When trying to jump start your appetite, start with foods you like. If the thing that gets you excited about eating is a fast food hamburger, try pairing it with some healthier sides. The idea is to look down at your plate and find something that is appealing. Even if it means eating the same thing twice in one day, it will help stimulate your appetite and get you back on track with healthy eating.
Much to consider
When it is time to leave the hospital after surgery or illness, there are so many things to consider from eating properly to medical needs. For the quickest and most successful recovery, proper attention has to be given to all of your special needs. For many people, the best option is recovery in a short-term care center where there are trained professionals to provide proper nutrition, therapy and medical care. Instead of hoping that you’re eating the best foods to promote healing, you can be assured that the dietitian has created a meal plan that will bring the right combination of proteins and nutrients to speed your recovery along. One of the premier facilities for delivering this level of care is Whitehall of Deerfield.
With one of the highest staff-to-patient ratios around, Whitehall of Deerfield offers guests a positive, supportive environment where questions are answered, needs are assessed and results are delivered.
Whitehall of Deerfield offers a full range of therapies targeted to meet each guest’s individual needs. A clinical nurse liaison completes an assessment to find out areas that need attention. Then physical, occupational and speech therapists work one-on-one with guests seven days a week. A state-of-the-art orthopedic rehabilitation center along with rehab gyms provide all the equipment needed to reach your highest level of independence and functioning. Special therapy areas, including a kitchen, give guests an opportunity to practice skills before returning home. Social services and in-house discharge planners monitor progress and help with the transition back to your home.
Whitehall of Deerfield also consistently receives Medicare’s highest rating in Medicare’s five-star rating system of nursing and rehabilitation centers, reflecting Whitehall of Deerfield’s outstanding clinical care and outcomes.
This consistent, attentive and compassionate care is provided by everyone from the concierge to the nursing staff. Guests enjoy a wide-ranging choice of balanced, delicious meals in a deluxe setting that is rarely found in health care. Well-appointed spacious suites and rooms include in-room dining, high-speed wireless Internet, concierge service, newspaper delivery, valet parking for visitors and dozens of cable channels with a 24-hour channel of newly released movies. Guests can enjoy a wide-ranging choice of cuisine from selective menus as well as a variety of dining settings. An on-site ice cream parlor and coffee shop offers fresh-baked goods in the mornings and ice cream treats in afternoon as well as gourmet coffee all day long. These are just some of the many world-class amenities that give the feel of a hotel get-away during a stay at Whitehall of Deerfield.
When it comes to choosing superior care in an environment that enhances recovery, Whitehall of Deerfield is the choice for qualified compassionate care in elegant surroundings. To arrange a visit or to learn more, visit whitehallofdeerfield.com or call 847-945-4600.