Not feeling hungry is frustrating when you know you need to eat to help fight cancer! A poor appetite may result from cancer treatments as well as the cancer itself. So often we think of food as simply something to enjoy (and we should enjoy it!) but there are times when the thought of food and eating does not sound enjoyable at all! But remember, food is the fuel that helps keep you going. I often tell patients to think of food like medicine – you may not always want to take it but it is helping you manage your disease! Taking in adequate nutrition can often help you tolerate your cancer treatments better as well as recover and heal quickly.
- Eat during times you feel good. For many, morning is the time when they feel their best. Eat a hearty breakfast and substantial mid-morning snack then mini-meals the rest of the day.
- View eating as a part of your overall treatment and care. Think of food as medicine.
- Use foods that are easy to prepare and eat. On days you feel good, prepare foods to be eaten later.
- Eat smaller, more frequent meals. Have about 4-6 mini-meals or snacks a day. Snack on nutritious foods such as yogurt, cheese, nuts, peanut butter and fruit.
- Don’t drink a lot of liquids with meals. Coffee, tea and other non-caloric beverages fill you up and keep you from eating foods. Fluid is important though! Try drinking a glass of water after each meal or snack. Or have a nutrient rich smoothie or soup as your meal – fluid and nutrients combined!
- Eat in a pleasant, relaxing atmosphere. We “eat” with our eyes too. Garnishes, an attractive table setting and eating with a friend or family member can make mealtime more enjoyable.
- Be active. Getting some light activity such as a short walk or yoga may actually increase your appetite.