Eating During Chemo
Chemotherapy can take a toll on your sense of taste. It may seem as if the foods you are eating are too salty, too sweet, or have no taste at all. These changes are usually temporary and go away with time.
In the meantime, you can follow these 15 nutrition tips for chemotherapy to meet your body's nutrient requirements.
Add Sauces and Seasonings
If the food seems too bland or lacks flavor, add seasonings and marinades to improve the taste. Some things you can add to perk up the food's flavor are mustard, ketchup, barbeque sauce, vinegar, wine, soy sauce, and teriyaki sauce.
You can also add bacon bits, ham strips, nuts, or cheddar cheese to improve the taste of your food.
Sweeten Up Your Breakfast
You shouldn't have to eat a bland breakfast when getting ready for your chemo treatment for the day. Put some maple syrup, cinnamon, raisins, dates, or brown sugar on toast for a healthy and sweet breakfast.
You can also eat snack chips on your way to the chemo center.
Refrigerate Your Food
During chemotherapy, you must minimize your risk of infection. If there are any leftovers, put them in the refrigerator as soon as you're done eating.
Wash Your Produce
It is always good practice to wash your fruits and vegetables. However, when going through chemotherapy, you should not eat raw fruits and vegetables without scrubbing them with water and a clean brush.
Soak berries and similar fruits that cannot be scrubbed. Rinse afterward.
Take a Snack Along
When going for chemotherapy, keep a snack with you. Some good snacks include liquid yogurts, crackers, and bananas. Don't eat acidic snacks as they can irritate your digestive tract.
Avoid These Foods
You should not eat certain foods if you have neutropenia, which means the white blood cells called neutrophils are lower than normal in your body.
These include raw milk, undercooked or raw seafood and poultry, eggs, deli meats, undercooked hot dogs, and unwashed fresh produce.
Many medicines come with a grapefruit warning. The fruit can interact with common drugs, even those given for cancer. Don't drink grapefruit juice or eat the fruit raw.
Drink Green Tea
Green tea is typically safe for people getting chemotherapy. However, if you are taking bortezomib (Velcade), you should not drink green tea since it may reduce the drug's effectiveness.
Avoid Smelly Foods
Smelly foods can trigger your nausea or make it worse. Ask friends or family for help so that you do not have to be in the kitchen when food is being prepared.
You can also go for a short walk before meals to get fresh air.
Give Sparkling Water a Go
Sparkling water gets mixed responses from people. But it could help soothe your stomach if you're undergoing chemotherapy. If you're not a fan of sparkling water, try iced tea or ginger ale.
Eat Fiber to Ease Constipation
If chemotherapy is making you constipated, include fiber in your diet. You can ask your doctor about insoluble and soluble fiber sources suitable for your particular condition.
Besides fresh produce, you should also wash the countertops, knives, cutting boards, and utensils used in cooking. This is most important when you are making turkey, fish, chicken, or raw meat.
Foods for Mouth Sores
Mouth sores are common during chemotherapy. Avoid eating your food too hot or too cold. Don't eat sharp foods, like chips and crackers. Instead, eat bland and moist foods, such as custards, pudding, and oatmeal.
If mouth sores are making it impossible for you to eat, talk to your doctor right away.
Use Wooden Utensils
Finding foods that taste good during chemo can be tricky since most people complain about having a metallic taste. Try eating with wooden or plastic spoons to minimize this flavor.
Experiment With Food
It's common for people to have a poor diet during chemotherapy. However, don't keep yourself from eating during chemo, especially if the foods are safe and good for your health.
Experiment with chemo foods by adding new flavors and spices. Limiting yourself to the same recipes will take the joy out of food. Instead, try new ingredients and recipes. If you're uncertain, talk to your doctor.