What to Eat When Nothing Sounds Good: Depression Tips

When nothing sounds good due to depression, nourish your body with nutrient-dense foods like smoothies, eggs, nut butters, and whole grains for sustained energy.

Dealing with depression can make eating seem unimportant or even unappetizing.1 This happens because depression and anxiety can lower your desire to eat.1 Eating the same food over and over can also kill your appetite.1 Society’s views on diets, health issues, and some medicines can all dampen your hunger too.1 Not getting enough nutrients and being picky about what you eat makes choosing a meal hard. This is especially true when you’re tired.1

Even without the urge to eat, it’s vital to keep eating. This keeps your energy up and stops you from getting sick.2 You should try to eat something every 3 to 5 hours. This helps keep your energy steady and stops you from getting “hangry.”2 Missing meals can mess with your blood sugar, make you grumpy, worried, and weak. It can also mean you’re not getting the nutrients you need.2

If you can’t find anything that sounds good, consider comfort foods, new dishes, smoothies, or meals you don’t need to cook.1 Comfort food feels familiar and comforting.1 Trying new foods or recipes can make mealtime exciting again.1 Getting takeout or blending up a smoothie can be a good option when you’re not very hungry or you’re tired.1 It’s also good to mix up what you eat to get different nutrients. This can help with your energy and how much you enjoy your meals.1

Key Takeaways

  • Depression and anxiety can make food choices hard, leading to less eating.
  • Even if you don’t feel like it, eating regularly is really important for your health and energy.
  • Choosing comforting or different foods, smoothies, and easy meals can be a good strategy when you can’t decide what to eat.
  • Adding variety to what you eat can boost your mood and keep you healthy.
  • Don’t hesitate to seek help if you find that depression is making life very difficult.

Understanding Loss of Appetite in Depression

Depression and anxiety can greatly affect how hungry you feel. These emotions can make it hard to enjoy your meals.3 Stress for a short period might make you feel hungry but not want to eat. For people battling eating disorders, not feeling like eating is a familiar issue.4

Causes of Lost Appetite

Eating the same meals and snacks over and over can lead to not wanting them anymore.4Strict food rules from diet culture can limit the options that seem okay to eat.3 Certain health conditions, drugs, and lacking vital nutrients can reduce your hunger too.3Psychotherapist Emily Fonnesbeck adds that “Having high expectations for meal content can make finding something satisfying hard when you’re low on energy.”

Effects of Depression on Eating Habits

5 There’s a link between changes in taste and feeling down in adults 40 and older. Among people with major depression, about a quarter find food less appealing. This loss of appetite leads to weight loss for nearly a third.5 About a third of these individuals eat more, and a fifth gain weight.

5 Feeling less hungry ties to higher cortisol and less brain response to food.5 On the other hand, those eating more have immune and metabolism problems. They also show more inflammation signs.

The Importance of Eating Despite Lack of Appetite

It’s important to eat regularly, even when you don’t feel hungry. This helps keep your energy up, avoid health issues, and prevent malnutrition. Signs like thinking about food, feeling tired, getting easily upset, or having an empty stomach tell us it’s time to eat. Skipping meals often leads to feeling moody, weak, and anxious. Nutrition is key to fighting off malnutrition and keeping our bodies healthy.6

Eat even if you’re not craving anything. This approach is called “practical hunger.” Also, try adding foods you love, exploring new tastes, or having simple, quick meals. These can make eating more enjoyable when you’re not really in the mood.6

Maintaining Energy Levels

Not eating enough can make you feel low on energy and easily irritable. It’s crucial to eat regularly to keep your energy stable. This is especially important if you’re dealing with depression.7

Preventing Malnutrition and Health Problems

Skipping meals over time can put you at risk for malnutrition and weaken your immune system. It might also harm your organs.6 Making sure your body gets the right nutrients, even in small portions, can lower these risks. This is significant during times when you just don’t want to eat much, like in depression.

Nutrient-Dense Foods for Depression

Some foods are really great for your mind and can help fight depression. For example, eggs, spinach, and salmon are rich in tryptophan. This helps your body make more serotonin, known as the ‘happy hormone.’1

Other key players are foods with lots of folic acid, like avocados and leafy greens. They support your brain’s health and can reduce depression signs.8

Fatty fish, such as salmon and tuna, are loaded with omega-3. Omega-3s are good for your mood and brain.8

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Don’t forget about vitamin B12! It’s in fish, meat, and fortified cereals. Vitamin B12 helps your energy levels and keeps your brain sharp.8

Foods Rich in Tryptophan

Tryptophan is a special amino acid that makes serotonin. This helps keep your mood stable. Foods like eggs, spinach, and salmon are packed with it, making them a good choice for those with depression.1

Foods High in Folic Acid

Vitamin B9, or folic acid, is crucial for your brain to work well. Eating avocados, greens, and other rich foods can improve your mental health.8

Foods with Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3s from fish, like salmon, can brighten your mood. These foods are an important part of a diet that helps fight depression.8

Foods Containing Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is vital for energy and clear thinking, especially in fighting depression. Try eating fish, meat, and cereals to keep your B12 at a good level.8

nutrient-dense foods

Comfort Foods for Depression

Feeling down and not wanting to eat much is common with depression. Turning to1 comfort foods can help. These are dishes from our culture or childhood. They give us a feeling of home and bring back memories.1 Such foods might not be the healthiest, but they boost our mood when times are tough. Having a special treat from a favorite place can also lift our spirits.1 Remember, these should be just sometimes treats. They’re not meant to replace a balanced diet. Including them occasionally can make eating more pleasant, especially when everything else doesn’t appeal.

Cultural Foods and Childhood Favorites

Think about foods that are part of your culture or remind you of your childhood.1 These meals bring a feeling of comfort and a memory of happier times. They can make mealtime more enticing when you’re feeling low.

Indulgent Treats and Restaurant Meals

Don’t forget about the tempting meals and desserts from your favorite places.1 Treating yourself with these indulgences can put a smile on your face. They’re a great way to take a break from the daily struggles and enjoy eating again.

Quick and Easy Meal Ideas

When depression hits, it’s hard to cook and eat. Easy meals become essential. No-cook foods like whole grain crackers, nut butters, and cheese are quick to grab. They also offer a mix of carbs, protein, and fiber.9

No-Cook Options

Smoothies and shakes with fruits, veggies, and yogurt are simple to make. They are packed with healthy nutrients.9 If cooking feels too much, ordering in is a good choice.9 It helps keep your diet balanced without the stress. Keeping these meal choices ready can really help with eating enough.

Smoothies and Shakes

Smoothies and shakes with fruits, veggies, yogurt, and protein powder are perfect fast meals.9

Takeout and Delivery

Sometimes, cooking is just too hard. That’s when takeout or delivery comes to the rescue.9 It means you can eat well without any extra work. Making sure you have simple meal options available is a game-changer.

Strategies for Improving Appetite

There are many ways to boost your desire for food, especially if you’re feeling down.7 Often, people find that when they eat what they truly want, their hunger returns. This makes them enjoy meals more.6 Feeling not hungry can be due to many things, like not feeling well, being sad, or some medicines.7 Health issues and changes in life or mood can also play a part.7 Problems like stress or feeling low can really mess with your appetite. They might make you eat less or choose the wrong foods.

Meal Planning and Preparation

Planning your meals, even just a bit, can help a lot.6 It’s good to eat small, but frequent meals. Make sure to drink enough and move a bit. This can help you feel more up to eating.6 Also, having tasty meals ready to go can make all the difference.

Eating with Others

Eating is often more fun when shared with company.7 A meal with friends or family can brighten your day, making it more enjoyable.7 It might also give you a break from usual food choices.

Incorporating New Flavors and Cuisines

Finding new tastes can stop meals from getting boring.1 Trying foods from different places can make eating exciting again.1 It opens up a world of food options.

It’s important to eat regularly, even if it’s just a little bit.7 Every meal, no matter how small, helps.7 If you’re really struggling, a dietitian can guide you in the right direction.

what to eat when nothing sounds good depression

Struggling with depression and not wanting to eat is hard. But, having the right snacks and easy foods can help a lot.2 Simple snacks like yogurt, cottage cheese, and nut butters are good.10 So are crackers, granola bars, and fruit. They give you energy and are easy to eat.6 You can also use things like frozen grains, canned veggies, and rotisserie chicken for meals. They’re quick to prepare. Having these foods around makes staying nourished simpler even when eating seems unappealing.

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Depression-Friendly Snacks

Not feeling like eating due to depression is common. That’s why having easy snacks is key.2 Foods like yogurt, nut butters, and fresh fruits can help a lot.10 They give you a fast boost and are full of the nutrients you need. This stops you from getting too hungry and making bad eating choices. Or from skipping meals completely.

Nutrient-Dense Convenience Foods

Along with snacks, having easy, nutrient-rich meals is important.2 Things like pre-cooked grains, canned veggies, and rotisserie chicken are great.10 So are frozen fruits and veggies. They’re simple to use in meals. This way, you can still eat healthy without needing to cook a lot.

Keeping a mix of snacks and easy meals can really help. It makes sure you’re getting the nutrition you need. Even when eating is the last thing on your mind.2106

Breakfast Options When Nothing Sounds Good

Mornings can be tough when you’re battling the blues and food doesn’t appeal.10 But, don’t worry. Several options exist to kick start your day.

Smoothies and Yogurt Parfaits

Smoothies pack a powerful punch by combining fruits, veggies, and yogurt.1 They’re perfect for getting nutrients in an easy, sippable way. Yogurt parfaits, with layers of granola and fruit, also make a quick and balanced breakfast.

Toast and Avocado Combinations

Avocado toast, seasoned with a pinch of salt and pepper, plus an optional egg, is a flavorsome choice.10 It’s hearty and rich in good nutrients. A great option to start your day poistively.1

Dinner Ideas for When You Have No Appetite

Evenings can be tough for those with depression and no appetite. But, there are dinner choices that offer nourishment without being too much.6ok> Depression or anxiety can make you not want to eat.1

Soups and Salads

Choose soups and salads for an easy meal. Use things like canned beans, rotisserie chicken, and pre-bagged greens.1 Eating regularly stops big hunger swings and overeating.1

Sandwiches and Pasta Dishes

Sandwiches and pasta are also great for dinner.1 Medicines like Adderall and Ozempic can make you not hungry. But, eating small portions of healthy food can help.6

Stir-Fries and Tacos

Stir-fries and tacos are easy to prepare and full of veggies and proteins.1 Eating nutritious meals can increase your energy and make you feel better.1 Plus, they ensure you get all the nutrients you need without using up too much of your evening energy.

The Role of Exercise and Self-Care

Nutrition is key in fighting depression, but self-care covers more.11 Doing light exercises like walking improves mood and energy.11 Getting enough sleep and connecting with friends also help.12

Adults should exercise for 75 to 150 minutes weekly, say guidelines.11 But over half of the UK’s adults didn’t meet this in 2015.11 Being active daily cuts depression and dementia risks by 20% to 30%.11

Exercise boosts your mental health too.11 Active people have lower stress.11 It can also treat depression and anxiety.11 Low-intensity aerobic exercise, for 30–35 minutes, 3–5 days a week, increases positive moods.11

Self-care is crucial for managing depression.12 A routine can lessen anxiety and depression, and boost happiness and energy.12 It fights burnout too, caused by prolonged stress.12

Adding regular exercise, good sleep, and healthy eating enhances self-care.12 It also protects against burnout, vital in helping professions.12 Self-care improves self-esteem and strengthens relationships.12

Covering nutrition and self-care holistically helps fight depression.1112

Seeking Professional Help for Depression

If you’re struggling with depression and it’s changing your life, it’s time to get help.3 You may notice signs like feeling sad all the time, hopeless thoughts, and trouble doing your daily tasks.13

Recognizing When to Seek Help

Getting help for depression is key, especially if it’s affecting your appetite.13 When someone loses interest in food, depression might be to blame, as seen in a story.13 For example, the author went through a phase of not eating for days because of depression.13 This lack of interest can spread to other favorite things, like music.13 Facing your fears is part of getting better, which can slowly help bring back feelings.13

Treatment Options for Depression

There are different ways to treat depression, from talking with a professional to taking medicine.3 A therapist or psychiatrist can create a plan that fits you. This plan should help deal with why you’re depressed and support your recovery, which may also include advice on what to eat.3

For treating depression, you might look into staying at a hospital, going to appointments, or even doing therapy online.3 There are many types of therapy, like CBT, talking one-on-one, in a group, or with your family.3

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Developing a Positive Relationship with Food

Eating foods rich in nutrients and those easy to make is good. But, it’s also key to have a positive view of food. This is especially true for people facing3 depression and difficulty eating. Mindful eating, where you really focus on how your food tastes and feels, can improve your relationship with meals.3

Mindful Eating Practices

To enjoy food again, try mindful eating. Simply taking the time to taste and feel every bite can make a difference. It’s a great strategy for those with13 depression who might feel disconnected from food. This method works well to overcome moments of not wanting to eat or feeling nothing towards food.13

Gentle Nutrition Approach

Then there’s the gentle nutrition way. It’s all about choosing foods that are good for you instead of saying no to “bad” foods. This can ease the worry and shame linked to eating when things are tough.14 By being kind and not judgmental toward food and your body, you can build a lasting positive relationship with nourishment.14


Dealing with depression often means not wanting to eat. However, feeding your body is vital, even if it feels hard. By knowing why you might not be hungry, you can choose foods that are packed with nutrients. Try comfort foods and easy meals. This approach can help you manage your depression and feel better.1516

It’s also important to get professional help and take care of yourself. A well-rounded mental health approach is crucial. While overcoming depression and appetite problems is tough, focusing on your health can help. It makes a real difference in battling these challenges.

Learn as much as you can and try different nutrition plans. Addressing what’s causing your depression is key. This way, you can take charge of your health. It leads to a happier, healthier life.


What are the common causes of lost appetite during depression?

Depression and anxiety can greatly reduce appetite. Eating the same foods often can make you tired of it. Diet culture might limit your food choices.Health issues, lack of nutrients, and wanting perfect meals also play a role.

Why is it important to eat regularly despite lack of appetite when dealing with depression?

Eating often keeps your energy up and avoids poor health. It stops issues like low blood sugar which can make you feel down more.Not eating regularly can cause big health problems in the long run.

What are some nutrient-dense foods that can help support mental health and manage depression symptoms?

Foods rich in tryptophan and omega-3s can boost your mood. Examples are eggs, salmon, and avocado. They can help manage depression.

How can comfort foods be helpful when dealing with depression and lack of appetite?

Regional dishes and childhood favorites help by bringing comfort. They make you feel better during hard times.

What are some quick and easy meal options for when depression has dampened one’s appetite and energy levels?

Foods that don’t need cooking, like crackers, are good. So are smoothies and shakes. They’re easy to make and eat.

What strategies can help improve appetite when dealing with depression?

Planning meals and cooking with others can make eating more fun. Trying new foods can also help.

What are some depression-friendly snack and convenience food options to have on hand?

Eating foods like yogurt and granola bars is easy. Also, foods that don’t need much time, like frozen grains, are good to keep. They offer quick nourishment.

What are some breakfast ideas that can be appealing when dealing with depression and lack of appetite?

Easy foods like smoothies and avocado toast are good for breakfast. They’re tasty and full of nutrients, even when you don’t feel like eating much.

What are some simple dinner ideas for when you have no appetite due to depression?

Food like soups and stir-fries are easy to prepare. They’re light but still nutritious. They’re good options when you don’t have much energy.

When is it important to seek professional help for managing depression and its impact on appetite?

If depression is making it hard to live your life, getting professional help is key. This includes not being able to do daily tasks or feeling very sad all the time.

How can developing a positive relationship with food help when dealing with depression and appetite challenges?

Being mindful about what you eat and how you eat can improve your relationship with food. Enjoying nourishing meals, even in tough times, is important.

Source Links

  1. https://yourlatinanutritionist.com/blog/hungry-but-nothing-sounds-good
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  3. https://www.priorygroup.com/blog/depression-and-loss-of-appetite-advice-and-next-steps
  4. https://www.everydayhealth.com/hs/major-depression/depressions-effect-on-appetite/
  5. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/depression-food-doesnt-taste-good
  6. https://www.goodrx.com/well-being/diet-nutrition/what-to-eat-when-you-have-no-appetite
  7. https://alissarumsey.com/hungry-but-nothing-sounds-good/
  8. https://www.healthline.com/health/depression/healthy-eating
  9. https://www.tasteofhome.com/collection/simple-dinners-feeling-stressed/
  10. https://thenutritionjunky.com/what-to-eat-when-nothing-sounds-good/
  11. https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/explore-mental-health/publications/how-look-after-your-mental-health-using-exercise
  12. https://www.snhu.edu/about-us/newsroom/health/what-is-self-care
  13. https://www.self.com/story/depression-food
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9915006/
  15. https://www.bbc.co.uk/food/articles/good_mood_food
  16. https://drhyman.com/blog/2018/11/28/can-you-beat-depression-with-food/