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Foods to Consider When You Don’t Have an Appetite

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at West Chester chapter.

Most times I never have trouble telling you that I am hungry, or what I am craving, but on the rare occasion I do not have an appetite, I end up staring at the refrigerator not able to make a decision. I know I have to eat, if I don’t ill be tired and cranky, sometimes even hangry, but that does not make my decision any easier. If you are like my boyfriend you can skip meals simply because you are not hungry, but I am not, and it’s certainly not the healthiest thing to skip a meal either. So there are times when I have to persuade myself to eat. If I am fighting stress, cramps, fatigue, constipation, heat, or any other factors I find myself knocked off my routine, that’s when I need help gaining an appetite the most. So what do you eat when you don’t have an appetite?

Here are a few different types of food to try when you aren’t craving anything in particular and do not have any motivation to eat. 

  • Foods You Loved as a Kid: Some of my favorite foods are the ones that I ate most in my childhood. I am nostalgic for these foods, and they bring happy stress-free memories. There is something about eating Spaghetti-Os that reminds me of sitting in front of the TV watching Saved By The Bell after playing a soccer game on a Saturday. Eating spoons of peanut butter out of the jar in my grandmother’s kitchen as a child makes me smile the same it does today. It might not be th healthiest option, but it is better than not eating anything at all. 
  • Classic Combinations: They are classics for a reason, they taste good together. My go-to traditional combination foods are Crackers and Cheese or Applesauce and Cinnamon. Most of the time the combinations are looked over, but they can really hit the spot when you aren’t craving anything in particular. Maybe it’s just peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese you need to get you through the day.
  • Foods You Can Sip On: Just last night I was not very hungry, but I knew that if I did not consume something before bed, I would regret it in the morning. I decided to have some chocolate milk. Try a milkshake, protein shake, coffee, juice, or tea. It may not be the most filling, but that’s exactly what you need when you aren’t hungry. 
  • Foods that Comfort You: Nothing is more comforting than breakfast food. I love eating cereal for dinner, baking chocolate chip muffins at 3:00 AM, or going on a brunch date to order pancakes and french toast. They are fun, warm, and comforting. When you aren’t hungry, you don’t typically want harsh food, so stick to breakfast foods.
  • Plain, Simple Foods: Let’s be honest, though sometimes we do not have an appetite because we do not feel good. In this scenario, the best things to eat are simple foods that help calm your stomach. I love eating dry Cheerios, peanut butter toast, or ramen noodles (just buttered no spice or sauce) when I don’t feel good. 

I do want to point out that if you chronically do not have an appetite, there might be a bigger issue at bay. I would recommend reaching out to your doctor if that is the case. I am by no means a medical professional.

But for the occasional lack of hunger, try out one of the types of food above. You might surprise yourself, you might have been craving food from your childhood, or food you drink using a straw all along. 

Julia Harpel

West Chester '23

Julia Harpel is a senior editor and student at West Chester University. She is working towards her BSED English Writings Track with a Creative Writing Minor. She hopes to one day earn a Master's Degree. Julia is a mental health advocate, environmentalist, and feminist. When she is not at school, at work, writing, or reading, she loves to spend time with friends, go on adventures such as kayaking, and listen to country music.