In terms of diet advice for people with diabetes or obesity, there are many resources available to help manage their conditions. For chemotherapy patients, however, recommendations on what are the best things to eat are more limited. This is unfortunate because chemotherapy patients need to keep up their strength during treatment but often suffer from changes in taste and appetite. To help lessen the challenges chemotherapy patients face when planning their diets during treatment, here is a handy overview of eating tips and the recommended foods to consume to keep as healthy as possible.
Eating Tips for Chemotherapy Patients
Many times, chemotherapy patients’ appetites will change from day to day. Because of this, patients should eat plenty of calories when they can. If patients notice that their appetite changes throughout the day, they should eat their biggest meals during those times, even if the times do not match the patient’s traditional approach to eating. For example, some people in normal circumstances will eat their biggest meal at the end of the day, but notice once their chemo treatments begin that they have the most appetite in the morning. This change in eating patterns, from evening to morning, should be accommodated so patients can consume the highest amount of calories possible.
With that in mind, it is also important to remember that there may be days when chemotherapy patients do not feel like eating at all. Don’t get stressed out if this happens! Instead, just start eating again once your appetite returns. If you only feel like eating one or two food items on some days, simply stick with consuming those until you start craving more variety. Lastly, chemo treatments can make you more susceptible to infections so take special care when storing and preparing foods for your meals.
Recommended Foods to Eat During Chemotherapy
The National Cancer Institute has published an extensive list of foods to eat for chemotherapy patients in general as well as foods to consume when patients are experiencing specific side effects, like nausea, sore mouth, and changes in taste, from treatment. ChemoCare.com published a quick overview of some of the best foods to eat when dealing with chemotherapy, including:
Proteins: These can either be plant-based proteins like beans or lentils or animal-based proteins like meat and fish
Fruits and vegetables: Chemo patients should choose a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to get a range of different nutritional benefits
Dairy and dairy alternatives: This includes dairy-based products like milk, cheese, and yogurt
Whole grains and starchy vegetables
Healthy beverages: These include water, tea and coffee, and diluted fruit juices
To help get you starting on increasing your consumption of these foods, we created an Orange Yogurt Smoothie recipe packed with the dietary benefits you need.
Miracle Fruit Berries Can Improve Eating for Chemotherapy Patients
Miracle fruit berries have been shown in clinical trials to help up to 50% of patients suffering the effects of chemotherapy-related “metal mouth.” To learn more, please visit our blog post, “Bye Bye Metal Mouth! How Miracle Berries Can Help Chemotherapy Patients.”