Diet during cancer treatment: Tips on managing appetite and weight loss
August 11, 2014
| by Dominique Grignetti
Appetite loss may be common during cancer treatment, lasting throughout your therapy or only occasionally, but it can be managed.
Keep snacks close at hand during cancer treatment in order to take advantage of the moments when you feel like eating.
Below are tips from the National Cancer Institute(NCI) that can help you keep your weight up and, in doing so, keep your body well-nourished. (See the end of this article for a delicious chocolate-avocado smoothie recipe that's perfectly in line with these recommendations.)
When it’s hard to eat, drink a liquid or powdered meal replacement.
Drink liquids throughout the day. Liquids like juice, milk, soup and other drinks can still provide calories and other nutrients.
Change the form of a food. Instead of eating a piece of fruit, make a fruit milkshake.
Sip only small amounts of liquids during meals. Many people feel too full if they eat and drink at the same time.
Eat five to six small meals each day instead of three large meals. This will also help you from feeling too full.
Keep snacks nearby for when you do feel like eating. Great easy-to-carry snacks are peanut butter crackers, nuts, granola bars or dried fruit.
Add extra protein and calories to your diet.
Eat a bedtime snack. This will give extra calories but won’t affect your appetite for the next meal.
Eat soft, cool or frozen foods like yogurt, milkshakes and popsicles.
Eat larger meals when you feel well and are rested.
Exercise. If you are able to do light exercise during treatment, being active will help improve your appetite. Studies show that many people with cancer feel better they get some exercise each day.
Have relaxed and pleasant meals. It helps when you eat meals with people you enjoy, as well as having foods that look good to eat.