5 Things to Eat When You Feel like Eating Nothing At All
Last updated: October 2023
Nausea. Constant toilet trips. No appetite. Gnawing stomach. There are many reasons why some days it just seems easier to avoid eating altogether. But we all know it is important to try to eat when we can and how even keeping down a little food can help with our energy levels. Today, I thought I'd share my top tips on foods that help me when I really don't feel like eating. And of course, we're all different in terms of what foods we can tolerate, but maybe these will work for you, too.
Trying to eat with Crohn's and colitis
These are the 5 foods I turn to when I feel like eating nothing at all:
1. Bone broth
Obviously, in some cases, your doctor will prescribe enteral nutrition in the form of shakes such as Ensure. However, if this isn't an option, turning to liquid forms of nutrition at home might be helpful. Bone broth (or good old-fashioned chicken stock) is one of my favorite things to turn to for days when solids seem out of the question. It's actually quite filling and can help you get some nutrients (such as protein).
If you're feeling a little better, try adding safe staples to it to form a soup. I will often add plain rice noodles and cooked chicken to make a filling meal that is really soothing.
2. Juices and smoothies
Another form of liquid reinforcement can be juices and smoothies. Whilst these do require some digestion, it's usually much easier than stomaching a plate full of the solid version and can be great when fruit and veggies are out of the question.
Juices, in particular, removes the fiber, so it takes very little energy to digest it and I find that they don't seem to upset a touchy stomach. Smoothies do contain fiber but they're blended pretty finely, making it still easier on your insides than whole food.
Smoothies also allow you to get some much-needed protein from milk or dairy alternatives. I personally also use vegan proteins such as hemp and pea protein, but others might do better with whey.
3. Mashed potato
We all love mashed potatoes! There's a reason: potatoes are super soothing and when mashed, it's one of the kindest things for our belly. If gaining weight is an issue, try to sneak some extra fats in: through milk, butter, or cheese. I will sometimes sprinkle things like nutritional yeast (great for vitamin B12) or even break up a multivitamin and blend it into my mash potato. If you don't fancy anything too rich, cooking the potatoes in bone broth or stock can add some flavor.
4. Fortified breakfast cereals
There's something about a flare-up that makes me revert back to being a kid at times. And for some reason, I turn to breakfast cereal! However, there's actually one benefit to this. Although they may not always be the healthiest, they ARE often fortified with vitamins like B12, vitamin D, and calcium. So if it IS all you can stomach – take comfort that it will be helping get some of your much-needed vitamins and nutrients.
As it's the season for it, let's talk about TINNED PUMPKIN! This is my biggest pal on low-appetite days and great if you have a sweet tooth. Stewed apples are just as soft and easy to digest (apples being one of the things recommended on the BRAT diet). One way to take it a step further is even baby food, which is often just mushed up soft fruit and veggies.
I hope those tips help! A final note is that sometimes targetting specific symptoms can help too. Ginger can help lots with nausea and it's thought a sign of zinc deficiency is decreased appetite. But otherwise, you might find the foods above will be beneficial in getting your appetite and digestive juices flowing!
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