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Here are some hints to keep in mind to help you get the nutrition you need while you are undergoing cancer treatments. Be sure to review this list with your health-care professional before following any of these suggestions.
1) Try eating small meals and snacks all day instead of three large meals.
2) When you are hungry, eat more than usual.
3) Eat meals and snacks with sufficient protein and calories to help you keep up your strength.
4) You may find that your appetite is better in the morning, so eat more then. You may want to eat your main meal early in the day rather than at night.
5) Keep ready-to-eat snacks handy to nibble on during the day, such as cheese, crackers, ice cream, muffins, yogurt, granola bars and nuts.
6) If you are not interested in eating and can eat only one or two things, consume a liquid or powdered commercial meal replacement product, such as instant breakfast, for extra calories and protein.
7) On days when you don’t feel like eating, drink plenty of fluids, especially water. Other healthy liquids include fruit juices, sports drinks, broth and milk.
Because cancer treatments can weaken your body’s immune system, your body may not be able to protect you against infections at times, and so you may be told to avoid some foods that can expose you to bacteria, such as raw and undercooked meat, fish, poultry, eggs and tofu.
Once your treatment is complete, most of your eating-related side effects should disappear. Rather than staying on a high-calorie, high-protein diet, you should return to a conventional healthy diet when you start feeling better.