General Nutrition Guidelines During Cancer Treatment
Careful food choices will help support your immune system’s fight against cancer. The foods you choose to eat during active cancer treatment will vary according to any side effects you may be experiencing. Overall, try to make food choices that provide you enough calories, protein, and nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and fluids. Calories will help you maintain your weight. Protein will help you rebuild tissues that cancer treatment may harm. Nutrients and fluids are essential for your body’s functioning.
The following suggestions from the National Cancer Institute may be helpful if you have difficulty eating or a loss of appetite during cancer treatment:
Eat small, frequent meals (every 1 to 2 hours).
Eat high-protein and high-calorie foods (including snacks).
Keep snacks, such as peanut butter crackers, nuts, granola bars, or dried fruit on hand.
Avoid foods low in calories and protein, and avoid empty calories (such as soda).
To avoid nausea and improve your appetite, do not drink liquids with your meals.
Try to eat when you are feeling the best, no matter what time of day.
Try high-calorie, high-protein drinks when you do not feel like eating.
Try to increase your appetite through light exercise or appetite stimulants.
Add extra calories and protein to food using foods, such as butter, skim milk powder, honey, or brown sugar.
Take your medicines with high-calorie fluids.
Eat foods at room temperature.
Avoid spicy foods or foods with strong odors.