It’s been a challenging few weeks for many of us. The disruption to our normal routines and being apart from friends and family can make us all feel a little out of sorts. The good news is that there are things we can all do to help us look after our health and well-being.
Some of us may have found we don’t feel like eating as much as usual. When we go through periods of change, our appetite can be affected or our routines may have changed meaning we aren’t eating when we normally would. However, it’s even more important than usual that we are all eating enough. When we don’t get enough to eat, we don’t get the right nutrients to keep our body healthy and this can make it more difficult to recover from illness. Food is vital for our health and well-being so how can we improve our appetite?
Well, firstly be kind to yourself. If you don’t fancy eating a big meal, it perfectly fine to have a few snacks instead. You may find it easier to have six small meals or snacks a day instead of three big meals. It may help to set yourself reminders or enjoy a snack with your favourite TV programme. Why not try ‘meeting up” with friends or family by arranging a video chat over a coffee or a meal?
If you don’t feel like eating as much or have noticed unintentional weight loss, a great way to get extra nutrients and calories into your meals is to fortify your food. This simply means adding other ingredients, such as full-fat foods like milk, butter, yoghurt, cream and cheese, to increase the calorie content but not the portion size. You could try adding some butter to your vegetables or treat yourself to a piece of cake with cream for pudding.
If you don’t fancy cooking, ready meals are a great option so make sure you always have a few in the freezer. You could also try a delivery service like Wiltshire Farm Foods who deliver delicious meals which suit your appetite and tastes.
The BDA also recommend taking Vitamin D (10 microgram supplement) to help protect our muscles. These can easily be found in supermarkets and pharmacies. If you are worried about getting the shopping and other essential items you need, visit Age UK for more information.
Remember to keep well hydrated too. When we don’t get enough fluid, it upsets the balance of minerals (salts and sugar) in your body, which affects the way it functions and can make us really ill and slows down recovery from illness. We may feel dizzy, tired or confused which could make us become unsteady on our feet and increase our chance of falling or tripping.
We may get a dry mouth and find we pass urine less frequently or become constipated. Dehydration could lead to serious complications such as urinary tract infections, kidney stones and even kidney failure. Severe dehydration requires immediate medical attention.
Try to drink 6-8 cups of fluid every day (this is about 1.5 litres or 2.5 pints). All hot and cold drinks count towards hydration so why not enjoy an extra cup of tea in the morning or maybe a hot chocolate after dinner.
Finally, looking after our mental health is just as important as looking after our physical health. With lots going on at the moment, it can make us feel anxious and uncertain. Age UK has some great suggestions for looking after our well-being during this challenging time.
If you are worried that you have recently gone off food or unintentionally lost weight, it may be a good idea to weigh yourself regularly so you can see if you are losing weight. Visit out Eating Well page for more tips.