Have you ever recovered from a bout of illness and found it difficult to get your appetite back? You know that situation where everything you eat tastes like sawdust? Most of us have probably gone through this. The question below typifies someone going through the same experience and then you get some great tips for dealing with this, the next time it dares come your way! 😀
Q: Hello Dr Ketch, I have just recovered from a bout of malaria. I have not had malaria for over two years and so this really destabilized me. I was really ill for about two weeks. Even when the fever resolved, I struggled to get my strength back. It’s been about a week after my illness, but my appetite is still not what it used to be. I basically force myself to eat every day. Is this appetite loss normal and what can I do to get my appetite back?
A: Thanks a lot for writing in and I’m glad to hear that you no longer have a fever…even if you’re not entirely back to your normal self. It is not unusual to experience some loss of appetite during and soon after a bout of illness. Unfortunately, your body needs nutrients more than ever at this time…to build up damaged body tissues and heal.
Here are some tips to help you get back into the groove of eating normally 😀
- Focus on portion sizes and try to eat small portions during each meal. You can use smaller plates (to stop you from feeling overwhelmed by lots of food on one plate).
- Remember that you can have 5 small meals: breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack and then, dinner. Good snack options are fruits, nuts, yoghurt etc
- If you cannot stand any snack at this time, go for a nourishing drink. This provides the nutrients you need in a drink form. Complan is one such nourishing drink, which contains proteins, carbs, fats, minerals and vitamins. It has all the nutrition of a complete meal in a drink form. These nutrients replenish the body stock and help healing and convalescence.
- There is a lot of focus on repairing damaged tissues at this time, so be sure to include proteins in your choice of meals. Good examples include fish, chicken, beef, milk, cheese, eggs, Complan etc. For more on protein sources, please click on https://chatwithdrketch.com/2015/06/26/daily-health-tips-how-can-i-get-more-proteins/
- In the same vein, starchy foods are also needed to help you build up your energy. So get at least one serving per meal. Good examples are rice, potatoes, bread.
- Attractive looking foods also look appetizing and are more likely to tempt a sluggish palate/appetite 😀
- Exercise also helps to work up an appetite. You may not have the energy to get back into your regular exercise routine…assuming you had one before 😀 But taking a walk before meal times can help improve your appetite.
- As a result of the energy needs at this time, it may be necessary to have some foods that we ordinarily would not suggest 😀 😉 And so, at this time, ice cream, butter, full cream milk etc may be used to supplement energy needs. Please note that this is just for this period of appetite loss. Once you got it back, kindly ease off 😀 Remember a second on the lips, a lifetime on the hips 😉
- Cold drinks and even cold foods may be easier to also tolerate at this time. Be sure to stay hydrated by taking in sufficient fluids. Eat and drink slowly, generally during this period to enable you keep more down.
These tips should get you firmly back on your way to health and great appetite. In the meantime, keep your head high and your spirits up. Trust me…this too shall pass 😀