It’s probably happened to you too – the clock says it’s time for a meal but you’re not sure whether you’re hungry or not. Nothing in the refrigerator or pantry seems appetizing and you just end up skipping your meal. What follows is extreme hunger and binge eating a few hours later. Both starving yourself and binge eating being bad for your health, it’s important to maintain a healthy eating schedule. But how can you do that when nothing sounds good to eat?
First, let’s address why food seems so unexciting at times.
You’re stressed out
Stress eating is often used to cope with anxiety and stress. There is nothing more satisfying than munching on a bag of chips after a stressful day at work or having a chocolate bar to overcome emotional stress. On the other hand, there may be certain people who don’t want to eat when they are emotionally drained or physically stressed. This is because the adrenaline released by the body to fight stress reduces appetite and activity in the stomach. As a result, despite having your favorite meal laid out on the table, you may not feel like eating it. Thus, it is very important to follow a schedule when it comes to your health and food. The body is a machine and requires the right kind of fuel at regular intervals to remain functional and healthy.
If you have the flu or are feeling under the weather, it may have an impact on your appetite. When the body is fighting against infections, it releases proteins known as cytokines. Cytokines reduce non-essential activity including appetite to focus on healing. It is very common for people to lose taste while they feel sick but it is essential to eat a healthy and nutritious meal as it can help speed up the recovery process.
So, how can you get around these situations? Here are a few tips to help you find what to eat when nothing sounds good.
Try a new spice or herb
You’ve opened the fridge to find rice and curry. Though you usually enjoy the combination, today it doesn’t seem tasty enough. This is the perfect opportunity to try out a new spice or a sauce. Toss the rice with some vegetables or temper the curry with a few spices or herbs to add flavor. Experimenting with new flavors will whet your appetite and make your meal more interesting. You can also try adding a dash of hot sauce or pickles to your meal.
Give a snack a healthy twist
When a regular meal doesn’t look appetizing, you may gravitate towards a bag of chips or cookies. These may temporarily satiate your hunger but they do not provide enough nutrition. Why not find a way to make the snacks healthier? You could try pairing tzatziki dip with raw veggies, or adding some veggies to your instant noodles. If you don’t want to spend time making something from scratch, whip up a smoothie. If you feel like nothing but ice cream can soothe your cravings, add some fruit and make it a sundae, or try a fresh fruit sorbet!
Order in from the freezer
Often, it isn’t the meal that doesn’t feel appetizing but the thought of having to cook it that puts you off. The simplest way to fight this is by meal planning. You should always have a few ready-to-go meals in the freezer. When you cook a meal you enjoy, cook a slightly larger portion and freeze the leftovers. They’ll be available on the days where nothing sounds appetizing to eat! Rather than eating the same meal for two days in a row, this gives your menu variety and reduces the effort it takes to put together a meal.
Fill up on fiber
Food that is high in fiber content is always a healthy option. Fibrous foods have a low-calorie count but keep your hunger satiated. These foods are digested slowly and offer a slow release of energy that keeps you going. Raw fruits and vegetables are the most commonly available examples of fibrous foods. So, next time you’re hungry but don’t want to sit down for a full meal, just eat some fruit or put together a quick salad.
Set the mood
Multitasking isn’t always a great idea. Avoid eating meals while watching the television or while doing your office work. Eating straight from the pan is not the best idea either— spend those extra couple of minutes arranging the table, even if it’s just for yourself. Use a new plate or try plating the dish a different way. The idea is to make the experience of eating more exciting.
Turn to comfort foods
Everyone’s got that one dish that they love but don’t prepare often. It might be a simple mom-made chicken curry, a stir fry, or spaghetti noodles. When nothing else seems to make the cut, turn to these comfort foods.
Summing it up
While eating something just for the sake of eating isn’t ideal, it’s ok if it happens once in a while. This is important to sustain your body and give it the required nutrition. When nothing sounds good to eat, avoid skipping meals as much as possible, and turn to the options in this list. If you feel like nothing is working and everything you have on hand looks boring, you can always give yourself a treat at the end to make the meal more exciting. As a popular quote goes – never underestimate the power of chocolate!
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