Summer is lovely – all that sun and heat! But does affect your appetite? Heat can reduce your craving for cooked food so that it becomes easier to skip cooked meals if you don’t feel hungry. Maybe you also take the opportunity to be out a lot, which makes it easier to escape from your daily routines. It’s important to try to maintain your eating habits and to eat enough to have the energy you need even during the summer, of course, so here are a few tips as to what might stimulate your appetite and suggestions for things that are easier to eat on hot summer days!

Cold food It has no smell and seems more appetising in the heat. When you have a loss of appetite, it’s usually easier to eat food that has no smell as opposed to hot cooked food. Best of all: it’s more convenient to carry a lunchbox with cold food that doesn’t need to be heated and can be eaten anywhere. A cooler bag is required, of course, so that the food doesn’t go off. A lunch can sometimes also consist of a filling sandwich with, say, cold-smoked salmon, egg or roast beef and cottage cheese.

Eat less but more often than you normally do. This gives you the energy you need without having to eat yourself full at mealtimes. Snacks are therefore important in the heat!

Don’t drink before you’ve eaten. It’s better if you make an effort to have most of your mealtime drink straight after your food and also focus on drinking more between meals rather than during meals. This is to avoid filling your stomach with liquid and feeling full more quickly.

Energy drinks and liquid food Drinks provide a lesser, short-term feeling of being full compared with food as they are fluid and pass through the stomach quickly. It’s an easy way to increase your energy intake. If you can’t satisfy your energy requirement with food, you can replace part of your water intake with milk. Smoothies are also a very good choice! In addition, you can get a lot of energy by adding avocado, seeds and oats as optional extras in your smoothies.

Salty and acidic flavours stimulate the appetite. Lemon water, citrus fruits, apples, beetroot and vinaigrette stimulate the production of saliva, which sends hunger signals to the brain. Starting a meal with something salty may also increase your appetite so that you want to continue eating. E.g. salty pickled gherkin, some salty almonds or a piece of cheese can be useful. So, ideally have some kind of starter before your food!

The meal’s surroundings and what we see are important. What we see also affects how we experience our food. Food with colour – and contrasting colours at that – often produces a positive experience. Red colours stimulate the appetite! Another suggestion is to lay the table and arrange the food nicely on the plate, sit comfortably and ideally eat in the company of someone else, or to put on some pleasant music in the background. As we partly eat with our eyes, this may help you to eat more!

Increase your physical activity! Going out and having some exercise, such as going for a walk, a cycle, a run or doing a gym session are useful for stimulating the appetite!

Increase your fat intake. If you’re eating smaller amounts than usual in the heat, the food should contain more – or be enriched with – fat to counter weight loss that is too rapid. Unintentional weight loss is never desirable and contributes to loss of muscle mass. Fat provides more than twice as much energy as carbs and protein do. It’s a way of getting a small volume to provide you with lots of energy. Above all, choose to increase your intake of healthy unsaturated fats such as olive oil, rapeseed oil, nuts, avocado, egg, olives and fatty fish. You don’t need to choose the lowest-fat dairy products during this period either. Examples of how to enrich your food:

  • Add an egg yolk or liquid margarine to your mashed potato
  • Drizzle extra oil over root vegetables or pour a little oil on to your pasta
  • Have extra dressing on your salad, ideally vinaigrette
  • Add 2 tsp chia seeds to your porridge while you cook it
  • Have fish roe spread or mayonnaise on your eggs

With a bit of luck, this will give your appetite a boost in the heat!

Photo: iStockphoto