Eating Well with Cancer

Your disease and treatment may increase your body's need for calories and protein. Chemotherapy, certain other drug therapies and radiation therapy also create a need for more calories and protein each day. At the same time, the side effects of your treatment may make it a challenge for you to take in enough calories and protein. Some nutrition tips to help you get enough calories and protein:

  • • Eat frequent, small meals or snacks, perhaps four to six times a day.
  • • Keep prepared snacks or small meals on hand.
  • • Have liquids such as juices, soups or shakes if eating solid foods is a problem.
  • • For extra calories, blend cooked foods or soups with high-calorie liquids such as gravy, milk, cream or broth instead of water.
  • • Sip water and other clear liquids such as broth, ginger ale, or lemonade frequently to prevent dehydration.
  • • Choose soft foods or foods that can be cooked until tender.
  • • Cut foods into bite-sized pieces or grind or blend them so that less chewing is needed.
  • • Bring snacks when away from home (especially doctors' appointments).
  • • Try new foods and recipes to accommodate changes in taste or smell.
  • • When possible, take a walk before meals to improve appetite.
  • • Eat with friends or family members when possible. When eating alone, listen to the radio or watch TV.
  • • Accept help with food shopping and meal preparation.

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