Blog Nutrition What to Eat When You Don’t Feel Like Eating: Everything About Loss of Appetite

What to Eat When You Don’t Feel Like Eating: Everything About Loss of Appetite

If there’s one thing 21st-century living has taught us, it’s to be conscious about our eating habits, weight, and health. People today are more concerned about the number of meals they consume each day and their portion sizes than ever before. 

While many face the burden of increased appetites or battle with overeating tendencies, others struggle with reduced hunger. It turns out that the issue of “I don’t eat enough” is quite common and can have an impact on your health.

This article is a guide that provides answers to some burning questions. What causes loss of appetite? What are the potential risks? What should you eat when you don’t feel like eating? Read on and find out!

But first, let’s understand why you’re not hungry in the first place. 

Why am I not hungry?

Hunger is a natural signal from your body that it lacks energy and needs fuel. Your body is constantly working and needs energy for each process. The work done by your gut and brain work involves some of the most fuel-demanding processes that cause hunger. 

This is why a decreased appetite is unnatural for you. It can be a consequence of pent-up emotions, medications, and even underlying health issues. Below, you will find a list of the most common causes of appetite loss (19, 21).

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Dealing with any kind of stress can be a real challenge for your body. When under stress, your brain releases several chemicals that have an impact on your body. These chemicals include adrenalin, which increases your heart rate and slows down your digestion. As a result, you can experience decreased appetite. 

The good news is that this effect is quite short-term. However, if you’re under stress for a long period of time, the hormone cortisol is released. This increases your hunger and can cause overeating, emotional eating, and weight gain (9).


Medications often have several side effects, one of which can be loss of appetite. Some common pharmaceuticals that have loss of hunger as a side effect include: 

  • Muscle relaxants
  • Antibiotics
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Anti-depressants 
  • Parkinson’s disease medication

If you’re taking medication and experience a loss of appetite, you should consult your doctor to figure out the reason.

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What Is The Calorie Density Chart And How Can It Help You Lose Weight?

what to eat when you don't feel like eating  


Depression is one of the most common mental health issues in the modern world. Its effects are unpredictable as it can influence people in different ways. Simply put, some people can face constant hunger and weight gain, while others suffer from loss of appetite and lose weight. 

People with severe depression can lose interest in food. If you experience changes in appetite along with changes in your mood, you should consult a health professional as soon as possible.

Flu, cold, or Covid-19 

When you get the flu or a cold, your body needs to make sure it gets the necessary amounts of energy to fight the disease. This is why it releases cytokines – special hormones – that cause decreased appetite and make you feel tired. 

It is your body’s guarantee that you will rest and won’t spend energy on anything else but on recovery. Remember that you still need to eat, even if you don’t want to. In this way, you’ll support your body and especially your immune system.

In the post-pandemic world, it’s also important to be cognizant of the symptoms of Covid-19. Loss of appetite, alongside a plethora of other symptoms, are tell-tale signs of the disease. You should consult your doctor after taking a test. 


There is a stereotype that pregnant women eat a lot, as they have to eat for two people. However, many mothers-to-be (particularly during the first trimester) experience nausea. As a result, they don’t feel like eating.

Stomach issues

Some stomach disorders and other issues can cause loss of appetite as well. Gastrointestinal disorders cause bloating, stomach pain, nausea, and more. Irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel diseases are some of the most common disorders.

Your intestines or stomach can also be attacked by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. This condition is called gastroenteritis, and symptoms include cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. Bacterial infections such as pneumonia and strep can also lead to a dip in hunger. As a result, eating something is the last thing you need in such a condition.


People with such a health issue have low amounts of healthy red blood cells in their bodies. The main function of these cells is to carry oxygen throughout your body. Lack of red blood cells can make you feel tired and may lead to poor appetite. 

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You should talk to a health professional to figure out whether or not you have this condition and why. As a general rule, such people are often recommended supplements to improve the situation (5, 6). Your healthcare team will help determine which specific supplement(s) will address your specific deficiency, if that is determined to be the cause of your anemia.

Read more: 7-Day Weight Loss Low-Carb Diet: Choose High-Protein, High-Fiber, or Ultra-Low-Carb


As you age, you’re likely to go through hormonal changes, experience health issues, and need to take medication. All these factors may lower your appetite. Your digestion slows down too, and you may feel full longer. This can also decrease your appetite. In this case, it’s best to consult your doctor.


This medical condition can affect your desire to eat too. When it isn’t treated properly, high levels of sugar in your blood can affect some nerves in your body, including a nerve that is responsible for your stomach muscles. 

When it doesn’t function properly, the food isn’t digested the way it should be. As a result, you can experience bloating and loss of appetite. This condition is known as gastroparesis and is treated with surgery, diet adjustments, and/or medications.


This is quite a common issue that can cause loss of appetite. Some people also experience nausea and vomiting.


Poor appetite can be a side effect of cancer and its treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, which can also cause pain, dehydration, and nausea (16).

Weather changes 

Weather changes can have a significant impact on your appetite. During colder seasons, the body often craves hearty, calorie-dense foods to generate warmth. Conversely, in hotter weather, the appetite tends to decrease as the body seeks lighter, hydrating options to cope with the heat. In fact, some people may feel like skipping meals completely as temperatures rise. (8)

In addition, changes in atmospheric pressure and humidity can affect taste and smell, which influences food preferences (22). Generally, weather-induced alterations in temperature and atmospheric conditions play a crucial role in shaping our dietary choices and appetite fluctuations.

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what to eat when you don't feel like eating  

What should you eat when you don’t want to eat?

You already know that loss of appetite is quite a common problem with plenty of reasons, but what should you do when you are not hungry but need to eat? 

You should look for foods that are rich in protein and high in calories. Lean meats, dairy, eggs, cereal, and many other healthy foods are excellent choices as they help keep you satiated. 

Below, we’ve listed the foods that are useful when dealing with a decreased appetite. 

White rice

This is often recommended for people who suffer from diarrhea, nausea, and stomach discomfort as it is easy to digest. It is also a rich source of B vitamins, iron, manganese, and magnesium. This superfood can support the health of your muscles, bones, and nerves and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease (20). 

Hard-boiled eggs

They are a perfect option if you have a stomach upset. They are also a rich source of protein, which is especially easy for your body to digest and use.


These are low-fiber fruits that will help your body get numerous essential nutrients without worsening nausea. Potassium and magnesium, both of which are found in bananas, help replace electrolytes that you’ve lost due to vomiting or diarrhea.

Broth soups

Such soups are especially helpful for people with a cold or flu. They go down easily and help fight inflammation and make you feel better. 

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are a nice option for an upset stomach if you cook them well and without the skin. The same is true of squash.

Smoothies and shakes

Drinking your calories and protein in liquid form can help you get the nutrients you need without making you feel as full as eating a solid meal. Liquids move more quickly through the stomach to the intestines (where nutrients are absorbed). 

what to eat when you don't feel like eating  


Research has found that ginger’s active compounds, such as gingerol, can exert anti-nausea effects, potentially helping with appetite stimulation (12). 

Citrus fruits

There is an abundant vitamin C content in citrus fruits, which positively influences mood and cognitive function. Therefore, it potentially counteracts loss of appetite (2). 

Nuts and seeds 

It has been found that the combination of healthy fats and protein in nuts may contribute to increased satiety and improved appetite (18).

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Exploring the Nutritional Benefits of Eating Watermelon at Night

Yogurt or probiotic-rich foods

Research has highlighted the potential of probiotics in modulating gut-brain communication, which can impact and stimulate appetite and overall well-being (4)

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Tips for you on how to get your appetite back

In terms of hacks, there are many ways to get your appetite back or trick your mind into eating more easily. Whether you’re not hungry after working out, not hungry in the morning or in general, or just feeling the loss of appetite, these tips can help you. (8)

  • Schedule your meals: If you suffer from poor appetite, you should stimulate it. You can do this by eating small amounts of food more regularly.
  • Create an aesthetic: Make your dishes more “attractive”. They should look and smell good. This small trick can also help stimulate your appetite. At the same time, strong odors that are off-putting to you should be avoided.
  • Avoiding dense ingredients: Avoid foods that are high in fermentable fiber such as cauliflower, broccoli, and beans until your appetite is okay as they generally make you feel gassy and uncomfortable.
  • Plan meals together: Find some company for when you sit down to eat. This is because people tend to eat more when they enjoy their mealtime and share it with their closest family and friends rather than when they sit alone and in silence. 
  • Get your exercises in: You can try working out. This will rev up your metabolism, boost your appetite, and lower your stress level. Make sure to consult a health professional before taking such a step and stick with lower-impact exercises at first as you figure out what you can tolerate.
  • Try something new: New foods, dishes, and even places where you eat can increase your appetite.
  • Get the timing right: Take advantage of the times you feel good and eat calorie-dense and protein-rich foods then.

Why do I feel full when I have eaten very little?

If you feel full after eating very small amounts of food, and this isn’t typical for you, you should consult your doctor. While it is easy to stop eating when you’re not hungry, feeling too full on a reduced food intake can be the symptom of an underlying issue. 

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How Long Does It Take For Caffeine To Leave Your System?

This issue is known as early satiety. You may also experience nausea and vomiting. This condition can be caused by peptic ulcers or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). If you feel satiated when you have eaten too little food, it is best to talk to a healthcare professional (3, 10). 

Read more: 24 Weight Loss Smoothies, 2 Diet Plans, and 5 Belly Fat Smoothie Secrets

What if I don’t treat this issue?

If you experience loss of appetite due to a short-term condition that you can identify and know will go away, you shouldn’t worry about it. 

However, if you don’t want to eat due to a more serious condition, the consequences may be dangerous. If you don’t treat your loss of appetite, this could lead to: 

  • Unhealthy weight loss
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Increased heart rate
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Malnutrition

This is why you should make a plan with your healthcare team. It’s important to diagnose the specific reason for such a loss of appetite. 

what to eat when you don't feel like eating  


  • Why am I not hungry in the morning?

Many people have no appetite in the morning. Your metabolism can still “sleep”, even when you’re already awake, so it is best to eat something tasty and nutritious within a few hours of waking up. You can also “start” your metabolism by eating some nuts before breakfast.

  • Why am I hungry but don’t feel like eating?

For many people, despite feeling hungry, they often find it hard to eat. This can be the result of a few causal factors such as: 

  • Psychological Factors: Hunger, appetite, and the desire to eat are influenced by a cocktail of complex psychological factors. Stress, anxiety, or depression can suppress appetite despite the physiological need for nourishment. Research has suggested that there is a strong link between mood disorders and appetite disruption, which can be the reason why you’re hungry but don’t feel like eating (7).
  • Leptin Resistance: Another larger issue could be leptin, a hormone that regulates hunger, which may be compromised. It has been argued that leptin resistance can lead to an inability to recognize the body’s need for food, which results in feelings of hunger without the desire to eat (15).
  • Meal Timing and Composition: Irregular eating patterns or imbalanced meals that don’t include all nutrient groups can affect the appetite. It’s important to understand the composition of your meal as a lack of key nutrients can disrupt the body’s hunger signaling. Another major reason could be eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, which can force an individual to consistently deny themselves food. (1

Understanding these factors can help address the disconnection between hunger and the desire to eat, which will promote a healthier relationship with food.

  • Should I eat if I’m not hungry?

While you should definitely avoid overeating or indulging in unhealthy foods, it’s important to nourish yourself with a well-balanced meal when you’re hungry. Some of the factors to watch out for include: 

  1. Nutrient Balance: Eating when not hungry can be beneficial if it ensures a balanced nutrient intake. Regular, balanced meals are known to support overall health and provide essential nutrients, even when hunger cues are absent (13). 
  2. Blood Sugar Stability: Consuming small, nutrient-dense snacks between meals helps stabilize blood sugar levels, even when you’re not particularly hungry. Maintaining stable blood glucose contributes to consistent energy levels and overall well-being (14).
  3. Mindful Eating: Conscious eating practices encourage you to pay attention to internal hunger and fullness cues. Eating mindfully can foster a healthier relationship with food, whether you’re hungry or not (17).
  4. Metabolic Health: Another factor to consider is your metabolism. Eating at regular intervals supports metabolic health and consistent meal patterns help maintain metabolic function, even when hunger cues are not pronounced.

Incorporating these considerations into your eating habits can help promote a more balanced and nourishing approach to food consumption.

  • Why do I never feel hungry or full?

If you’re facing a persistent loss of satiety, i.e. never feeling hungry or full, it is advisable to consult a health professional for any underlying reason. Some of these reasons include: 

  • Hormonal Imbalances: Hormones play a crucial role in hunger and satiety. Conditions such as thyroid disorders or hormonal imbalances can disrupt these signals. 
  • Gut Health: An imbalance in gut microbiota can impact hunger and fullness. A diverse and balanced gut microbiome is essential for optimal digestion and appetite control.
  • Medication Side Effects: Certain medications, such as antidepressants or chemotherapy drugs, can alter appetite.
  • Emotional Factors: Emotional suppression of hunger or fullness cues may result from past trauma or disordered eating. Anxiety and stress are other common reasons for suppressed hunger. 

Understanding these factors requires a comprehensive approach, which involves medical evaluation, dietary adjustments, and addressing emotional well-being, to restore a healthy appetite cycle.

  • Is it normal to not feel hungry all day?

Personal appetites can have different forms, some of which may include not feeling very hungry throughout the day. However, if a loss in appetite has been ongoing for a long time, you should consult a health professional. 

Whether you’re feeling hungry or not is dependent on the following: 

  • Individual Variability: Appetite patterns can vary widely among individuals. Genetic and physiological factors contribute to differences in hunger cues (11). 
  • Metabolic Rate:  Some people have a naturally lower metabolic rate, meaning that they require fewer calories and experience less pronounced hunger. 
  • Lifestyle and Stress: Busy lifestyles or chronic stress can suppress appetite. 
  • Unbalanced Dietary Habits: The composition of your diet influences hunger levels. A balanced diet with adequate nutrients and fiber contributes to sustained energy and normalized appetite.

While daily fluctuations in hunger are normal, a persistent lack of hunger may warrant consultation with a healthcare professional to rule out underlying health issues and ensure overall well-being.

The Bottom Line

So, what should you eat when you don’t feel like eating? As we’ve discussed, while it is okay to face daily fluctuations in terms of appetite, if it persists, medical advice should be sought. 

The best hack to deal with eating when you’re not feeling hunger pangs is to trick your mind into doing so. This can be done using several strategies such as working out, making your food aesthetically attractive, trying new foods, and eating with friends and family. 

It is important to understand that skipping a meal or two here and there or actively following intermittent fasting diets can be beneficial for weight loss. That being said, there is no substitute for eating. A well-balanced, nutrient-packed meal can do wonders for your body and essentially provides the fuel you need for surviving your daily life. 

Actively denying yourself food when you feel hungry or don’t feel hungry at all for persistent periods could mean there are other psychological, emotional, or dietary issues. 


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 6 Common Types of Eating Disorders ( 2022, 
  2.  7 Reasons to Eat More Citrus Fruits ( 2023,
  3. 7 signs and symptoms not to ignore (2020,
  4. 8 Health Benefits of Probiotics ( 2023, 
  5. Anemia (2020,
  6. Anemia (2019,
  7. Appetite Changes Reveal Depression Subgroups (2018,
  8. Appetite Loss Could Be Nothing—or a Sign of Something Serious (2023,
  9. Can Stress Cause Weight Gain? (2016,
  10. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) (2020,
  11. Genetics of Eating Behavior (2011,
  12. Ginger Roots (2022, 
  13. Healthy diet ( 2020, WHO)
  14. How Does Eating Affect Your Blood Sugar? ( 2020, 
  15. Leptin and Leptin Resistance: Everything You Need to Know ( 2023, 
  16. Loss of Appetite (2020,
  17. Mindful Eating ( 
  18.  Nuts, Energy Balance and Body Weight (2023, 
  19. Reasons You’re Not Hungry (2020,
  20. Rice Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits (2020,
  21. What causes a loss of appetite? (2018,
  22. (10) Why does food taste different on planes? (2015,
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