While some people with depression overeat, others may find they have no appetite at all. Appetite changes are a common symptom of depression, along with persistent feelings of sadness, irritability, trouble sleeping, and losing interest in activities you once enjoyed. 

If you or a loved one are experiencing such symptoms, it's important to seek help. Confidant can help connect you with professionals in your area who can treat your depression. In the meantime, you may also want to try some practical tips for getting nutrition even when you don't feel like eating.

Try Smaller, More Frequent Meals

When you're not feeling hungry, staring down at a large plate of food may be daunting. And taking in too much at once when you haven't been eating much can be uncomfortable. 

Smaller meals are easier to digest. But you have to make up for the meal size with frequency to get enough calories. Try eating four to six mini-meals throughout the day. 

Eat Nutrient-Rich Foods

Choose lean proteins instead of filling up on less nutritious foods. Experts recommend that you vary your protein choices. Lean cuts of meat, seafood, and eggs are all excellent protein options. Also consider plant-based sources such as beans and legumes, which also contain heart-healthy fiber.

Serve Food Hot

Cooking doesn't just warm up your food. The aroma of hot food also helps boost your appetite. 

Up the Calorie Content

Look for opportunities to add calories to your meals if you're not eating enough. Cook with olive oil or butter, and use peanut butter when you can because it adds both calories and protein.

Work Up an Appetite

Exercise or physical activity before a meal can help increase your appetite, while also triggering the release of mood-boosting chemicals in the brain. So get moving, -- even a brisk walk can make a difference.

Eat With Others

Eating should be a pleasurable experience. Being in the company of others is comforting. If you don't have anyone to eat with, you may be able to trick your brain by turning on the television. Studies show that eating with friends can increase your caloric intake by 18 percent. Eating in front of the TV can increase your intake by about 14 percent.

Eat Breakfast

Often called the "most important meal of the day," breakfast should be a priority if you're trying to overcome the loss of appetite. It's an opportunity to get started consuming calories and nutritious foods early, so you can get a head start on eating more throughout the day. 

Keep Snacks Handy

Have some favorite nutritious foods ready to eat, so you can quickly grab them when you feel the need for a snack. Wash and cut fruit and veggies ahead of time. Hard boil eggs. Anything you can prep in advance and have on hand will help you avoid moments of staring into your kitchen cabinet or refrigerator, wondering what to eat, and subsequently giving up because things take too much time and effort to prepare. 

Avoid High-Calorie Drinks

Sodas and other high-calorie beverages can fill you up, but with little nutritional value. It's easy to fall into a habit of sipping on sugary drinks if you're not eating enough nutritious foods and reducing your appetite even further. Water is a much better option -- even the sparkling variety if you prefer something bubbly.

While these tips for addressing the loss of appetite may help deal with one aspect of the problem, remember that depression is a serious illness that requires real treatment from a qualified health professional. Your Confidant Matchmaker can put in touch with providers who can help.