Cancer treatment is never easy and is often very hard on the patient’s body, but eating well can help make the treatment process a little easier for patients. The body uses the energy it receives from food to fuel and repair itself during treatment. When cancer patients lose weight during treatment, they diminish their bodies’ ability to heal. Here are some tips to help cancer patients get the proper nutrition and avoid losing weight during cancer treatment.
- In many cases, cancer patients in treatment experience diminished appetites. If this happens to you or to a patient you care for, try five or six small meals a day instead of traditional breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Try not to worry about eating or how much you eat. Just eat when you can and eat what is appealing to you at the time. It’s best to go for foods rich in nutrients, carbohydrates, and fats, but in some cases just eating anything is all a patient can handle.
- Make snacking easy. Hunger can come and go quickly, so make sure you are stocked with foods that are easy and quick to prepare, such as yogurt, nuts, oatmeal, shakes, and tuna.
- Look for recipes that are high in calories and protein to make the most of every time you are able to eat. Nuts and peanut butter are great choices for patients trying not to lose weight during cancer treatment.
- Don’t pay attention to the clock: eat what you want, when you want. There is nothing wrong with eating bacon and eggs at midnight if that is what you feel like.
- Avoid drinking liquids during meals, which can fill you up more quickly.
- Never force yourself to eat if you are feeling queasy or nauseous. This may do more harm than good.
If a cancer patient is unable to eat for a day or more, it’s time to contact their doctor. He or she can get patients and their families in touch with nutritionists who are experts in the field of cancer treatment and helping cancer patients maintain a healthy weight.