Cancer patients face a myriad of difficulties that range from large, such as undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments, to small, such as the fact that food often tastes different during and even after cancer treatment. However, even smaller issues can take on greater importance, as an OncoLog article points out that cancer patients who lose just 5 percent or more in body weight may have a harder time tolerating chemotherapy and have higher mortality rates.
Cancer patients often experience symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, loss of appetite, vomiting, sore mouth and/or throat and dry mouth during treatment. In addition, the emotional effects of having cancer and the stress of having to deal with treatment and fears and anxiety that are associated with cancer can cause patients to lose their appetite or have regular nausea or vomiting.
Because of these issues, many cancer patients need a specific nutrition plan to help them maintain a healthy weight and nutrition level despite not feeling well or hungry.
If you or your loved one has a cancer diagnosis, such as having been diagnosed with mesothelioma, it is a good idea to design a nutrition meal plan for before, during and after treatment. Many patients do not have the energy to go to the store or make meals during treatment or when they do not feel well, so loved ones may want to go for them or cancer patients may want to go to the store and prepare some meals on days when they feel better to have items on hand later on.
Examples of some nutritious, healthy food that should appeal to cancer patients and be gentle on their bodies include the following:
- Clear broth soups with pasta, such as noodles or stars
- Fruit juice, milk, tea, water, electrolyte-rebalancing sports drinks
- Mild cheeses, such as American, cream cheese, or cottage cheese
- Scrambled eggs
- Baked chicken
- Whole wheat bread for turkey sandwiches or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and peanut butter toast
- Mashed potatoes
- Well-steamed vegetables that are tender and soft
- Enriched cereals, both hot and cold
- Fruit sherbet
- Greek yogurt
- Canned fruit
- Corn (off the cob)
- Protein snack bars
- Tuna fish sandwiches
- Fruit and yogurt smoothies
- Pita bread and hummus
If you are looking for ways to add protein to the diet, considering making tuna or turkey melts with cheese and add grated cheese to soup, mashed potatoes, rice or pasta. Also, try making yogurt drinks and smoothies with some protein powder mixed in.
Adding calories to someone with an upset stomach or poor appetite can be difficult, so appeal to the specific cravings of the cancer patient and add calories to meals and treats. For example, offer granola, which is high in fat and calories, for breakfast or add to yogurt for a snack. Try dried fruit as a snack or a treat.
Speak with your doctor for additional nutritional tips and to find out what areas of the meal plan needs additional focus, such as adding protein or calories. Remember that a healthy, nutritious diet will help the patient feel better with more energy and experience an improved quality of life. Spending the time and energy to create a workable meal plan is always worthwhile.
About Jillian McKee
Bringing a wealth of personal and professional experience to the organization, Jillian McKee has worked as the Complementary Medicine Advocate at the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance since June of 2009. Jillian spends most her time on outreach efforts and spreading information about the integration of complementary and alternative medicine when used in conjunction with traditional cancer treatment.
Read more: http://www.mesothelioma.com/blog/authors/jillian/
I am a digestive health coach. I help my clients have more energy and a eliminate digestive problems by eating food they love!