4. Keep It Simple
Make mealtime as easy for yourself as possible. "Having a meal doesn’t have to be a big production," says Zelman. "Stock your refrigerator and pantry with foods you enjoy so you always have something on hand." When you cook, make enough for a few days, or trade extras with a friend. It may also be helpful to keep a few of your favorite easy meal ideas in a notebook, so you can look through it when you need a meal in a pinch.
5. Don’t Fill Up on Fluids
It can be easy to fill up on fluids -- such as water, juice, coffee, or tea -- before you're done eating. If this is the case for you, don't drink until after your meal. "Enjoy your meal first, and then have your coffee, tea, or other beverage," says Palmer. "You want to be sure to get all of the nutrients from your food before having drinks that are not so nutrient-dense."
6. Get Some Exercise
Sometimes getting a little exercise can increase your appetite. "Just getting outside in the fresh air can often do wonders for your appetite," says Zelman. "Even if all you can manage is a short walk around the block, you may find that it helps." Exercise can also help with digestion.
7. Find Company
"Some people find that their appetite increases when they share a meal with others," says Zelman. If you find that you often eat meals alone, look for opportunities to eat with others. You can invite family or friends over for a meal, or go to a senior meal center or other community dinner. Or join a dinner or lunch club, or other social group where people get together for meals.
Sons and daughters can play a big part here as well. "Many of the 'well elderly' have lost interest in eating because they're depressed," Coste says. Cooking for your parents can be a chance to provide their diet and taste buds variety and send them home with food, as well as providing company.
Of course, there are times when you will eat alone. Try to pamper yourself and make mealtime special. Use a festive tablecloth or light a candle. Turn off the TV and listen to your favorite music instead.
8. Know When to Ask for Help
"If you’re really struggling to get enough nutrition each day, ask for help," says Zelman. Your doctor or a nutritionist may be able to help you find other ways to increase your appetite and meet your nutritional needs.