I never thought I'd be saying this...but I need to be eating more. I recently switched to a new medication which has been suppressing my appetite to the point that I can go all day without eating. I have to force myself just to get 700 calories a day, and even that is difficult. I've lost 15lbs in two months as a result, which is great but not necessarily healthy. I am 5'7" and weighed in at 185lbs this morning.

I've been purposely eating junk food to try to raise my calorie intake and taking a multi-vitamin, but I need to find some healthier foods. So what can I eat that's healthy but still has a high enough calorie density to keep my body out of 'starvation mode'? I want to keep losing weight, but I'm worried my body is going to start burning muscle instead of fat.

Alternatively, is there something I can do to stimulate my appetite to an appropriate level?

Bonus question: It's easier for me to eat early in the morning or late at night. I know that the conventional wisdom is to eat small frequent meals, but how bad is it to get most of my calories at the beginning/end of the day?

2 Answers 2


It really shouldn't be a problem eating quite a bit more than 700 calories, even with a suppressed appetite. The key is proper planning and management of your diet so you know what and when to eat and make sure the food availble is there.

You mention your appetite is best early in the morning/late at night so it sounds like you take your medication in the morning and its effects last all day. In that case you can have a big breakfast and dinner. Even though it's somewhat better to eat more meals during the day a lot of successful diets -warrior diet, lean gains, IF- are centered around only 1 or 2 big meals.

If your medication is split up into separate doses you can time your meals so you eat right before you take your next dose. That way you can have 3 or 4 meals a day which is completely sufficient. If your medication isn't split up you can still do 2 meals and just rely on smaller snacks/meals.

For food choices you want to stay with calorie dense and appetizing foods. Fats in general are very calorie dense, so foods like nuts, nut butters, heavy cream, eggs, butter, avocado, cheese, fatty meat/fish etc make it extremely easy to hit your calorie goals. An example breakfast could be eggs + meat (sausage/salmon/steak/bacon)/and or cheese, with a piece of toast/fruit and some veggies. That easily can get up to a thousand calories by itself.

Carbs also are a good choice because they can increase your appetite and generally are easy to eat. Things like bagels/flour tortillas pack a lot of calories. Fruit also is high in carbs and make for a great snack -such as oranges/bananas. Its best to stick to whole grains but more processed carbs like sugars/white flour will be easier to eat.

Liquid calories can be used as a last resort if you just cannot get the calories up via solid foods. You can make a meal replacement shake by mixing milk, protein powder, fruits, and peanut butter for example. A modest shake can easily pack ~500+ calories and would be very easy to put down. If you have a sensitive stomach/lactose intolerance look into pure whey isolate/lactose free milk.

The most important thing is to figure out how many calories you should be eating to achieve your goal -sounds like you want to lose fat, so probably around 1500 calories if you are sedentary. Then figure out how many meals you can realistically eat and split up your caloric intake over those meals. Try to make the meals as balanced and healthy as possible -natural/whole foods, no processed foods, vegetables, balanced macro split. And you will be fine.

One last thing to consider is that if you just started on a new medication its possible your appetite will improve soon as you develop tolerance and the side effects are lessened.


If you're looking for nutritious foods that have a lot of calories, try things like nuts and peanut butter or almond butter. They're a good source of fat, protein, and carbs, and they also have a lot of calories (peanut and almond butters have about 200 calories per every two tablespoons). Avocados are also a good source of healthy fats and calories.

In general, it is better to eat smaller meals more frequently, but if you're only going to eat in the morning or at night, in my experience it's better to eat in the morning. There is a lot of evidence that people who eat breakfast are healthier and have a better metabolism. Of course, if you're trying to pack on the calories that may be the opposite of what you're trying to do. I can't really speak to that unfortunately.

  • 2
    Nuts, peanut butter and almond butter are not 'packed with carbs'. They are packed with fat -peanuts are 11% carb, 73% fat, 16% protein. Please look up the nutrition facts for the foods that you recommend. You are correct that they are calorie dense -because of the fat content- and would be good for someone trying to add calories to their diet.
    – mike
    Oct 12, 2011 at 19:03
  • Thanks for the more precise breakdown. I edited my post accordingly.
    – Lauren
    Oct 12, 2011 at 19:44

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