from left to right:
Danielle Karsies, M.S., R.D., Nancy Burke, R.D., and Melissa Shannon-Hagen, R.D., CSO
the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center Nutrition Services team
Check out these healthy summer recipes
The New Dinnertime Battle
If you've sat at a table with kids, you've probably said or heard these words of
encouragement: "Eat your breakfast, it's the most important meal of the day," "Eat your broccoli, it's good for you," or "You have to at least
try something." We know how important eating is to fuel our bodies, and some foods are better than others. We also know that eating
may be the last thing on a kid's mind.
Strategies for eating (and eating well) when you don't want to eat
When cancer is diagnosed, a new mealtime battle may start -- waged not with kids but with your husband, wife, mom, dad or
friend. Depression, stress, lack of appetite, side effects of treatments and other factors can hinder one's desire and ability to eat.
How can you force yourself to eat when you're nauseated, or get a loved one to eat when he or she has no interest?
Eating well and maintaining your weight during cancer treatment may help you:
- Feel better
- Keep up your energy and strength
- Tolerate your treatment better
- Lower your risk of infection
- Heal and recover faster
Think of your body like a car: Without gas, the car won't go. Without enough calories and protein to support your daily
needs (which are increased during treatment), you'll lose weight and weaken an immune system already busy fighting
cancer. Your body will break down muscle mass to make up the calories you aren't eating, leading to fatigue and weakness.
- Think of food as part of your medication
regimen. Set meal times regularly and
take time to eat.
- Eat small, frequent meals and snacks
every 3-4 hours, whether you are
hungry or not.
- Nake every bite and sip count.
Instead of calorie-free water, choose
milk, soy milk, shakes, smoothies or
100% fruit juice.
- Eat more when you are feeling hungry.
- Increase your appetite before meals
with light exercise such as walking.
EATING TIPS FOR TREATMENT-RELATED SIDE EFFECTS
- Eat high-calorie, high-protein foods.
Stop using low-calorie, low-fat, lowsugar
- Eat the higher-calorie, higher-protein
foods on your plate first, saving lowcalorie,
high-fiber (filling) foods such
as fruits and vegetables for last.
- If fruits and vegetables taste good,
increase their calorie and protein
content with healthy additions like
olive oil, cheese, nuts and sauces.
- Make sure your clinician is aware of
your symptoms and their severity.
Medication could help.
- Ask for a referral to see a registered
dietitian to review which foods are
best tolerated and symptom management
strategies to keep you comfortable
If you are a patient of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center:
Make an appointment for nutritional counseling by calling 877-907-0859.
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