What is food fatigue?
Food fatigue is when you’re bored or overwhelmed at the thought of consuming food — even when your body is saying you’re hungry. It is psychological and usually an involuntary reaction. It should not be mistaken for picky eating: the latter is a choice driven by dislike, intolerances, allergies or apprehension to specific ingredients or food groups. Whereas food fatigue can occur even when you like and can eat all of the ingredients on your plate — you just don't feel motivated or compelled to do so. While it may not seem possible to get bored of food, for some, it is a genuine struggle and can have some serious negative side effects. Especially if they're elderly or prone to illness.
The adverse side effects of food fatigue
Food fatigue on its own is usually a temporary condition but if left untreated for long periods of time can result in:
However, this can be a struggle for those who get progressively more tired as the day goes on and being given a large dinner to consume can be overwhelming and daunting — often leading to unfinished meals, wastage and missed nutrients.
- Unwanted weight loss
- Lack of energy
That is why it's essential to combat food fatigue as soon as it starts to appear.
Food fatigue vs loss of appetite
Before we delve into how to tackle food fatigue, it's crucial we distinguish the difference between food fatigue and actual loss of appetite. Food fatigue is normally not a medical side effect or a reaction to situational stress. It is psychological and is a lack of motivation or enthusiasm to consume food. Even when you’re hungry — not a loss of hunger altogether. Loss of appetite, however, is a loss of hunger and can be a direct result of stress, illness or a medical side effect. So if you're hungry but find yourself uninterested in the food you're consuming, then you could be suffering from food fatigue. Important: if you feel like you’re struggling to eat entirely or have noticed an unexplained loss of appetite we recommend you see your GP as soon as possible.
Five ways to prevent food fatigue and menu boredom
Tackling food fatigue doesn’t have to be expensive or tedious, and there are several ways you can rectify it before it starts to affect your body and well-being.
1.Take a break from cooking
For some, cooking can be considered difficult or boring and the temptation to prepare or order some-what ‘easier’ options can be tempting to many. However, these meals can often offer little nutritional value, something elder citizens should not be losing from their diet. It is important for everyone to ensure the food they consume offers real nutritional goodness, with a good diet promoting better all-round health and wellbeing.
2.Keep things fresh
A study showed certain foods can be perceived as unpleasant when they are cooked. One way to combat food fatigue is to eat more raw ingredients as it has been proven we associate crunch and crispness with freshness — a feeling which encourages hunger. This doesn’t necessarily mean crunching down on raw broccoli, because we know this could be potentially difficult for people with dentures, false teeth, etc. However, adding a fresh, leafy, side salad or even some fruit to your breakfast each morning is a simple and relatively inexpensive way to incorporate more raw ingredients into your meals.
3.Variety is the spice of life
Repetition can be useful for meal planning but can be a trigger for food fatigue. That’s why it’s good to mix up your meals every week. However, this can be tricky, not to mention time-consuming to plan and prepare a new menu every week. That’s why we offer hundreds of delicious meals for you to choose from, so you can spend less time chopping and cleaning and more time with your residents or loved ones.
4.Incorporate theme menus
To continually keep things interesting and varied, we recommend adding theme menus into your meal plans. This can be as simple as having themed menus during holidays or events or just one themed meal a week. For example, you could have ‘meat free Mondays’ as a single theme each week.
5.Make meal times more social
Eating in isolation can also trigger or even worsen food fatigue. That's why communal dining is so vital as it provides people with the enthusiasm and motivation they need to help them overcome food fatigue. Whether that’s helping to prepare the meal or just eating together. Communal dining can significantly help to minimise food fatigue and can actually improve people’s association with food.
How apetito can help combat food fatigue
We offer a huge variety of meals and cater for several food intolerances. So if you are interested in learning how we can help combat menu fatigue and what meals we deliver please call apetito today.
For further information please contact: