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Recovering from cancer - appetite now very small - any advice on what to eat?

(7 Posts)
TeriyakiWoo Thu 02-Jun-11 10:02:15

Not sure if I should post this here or in food so will post in both.

I'm recovering from Leukaemia and am feeling pretty healthy generally, apart from my appetite seems to have shrunk to almost nothing. This has been the case since I started chemo in January.

I'm just wondering is there anyone else who is experiencing (or has experienced) the same thing? And if so what do you actually eat?

Breakfast is normally just tea and a biscuit (I know that's bad!) and I can no longer manage a big evening meal (I used to be able to eat like a horse!) so just have toast or cereal. Lunchtime is pretty much the same. I know I have to eat more healthily to keep my body strong and I still like food, it's just my appetite is tiny now which feels weird to me because it used to be huge!

Any ideas for healthy snack type foods?

ThingOne Thu 02-Jun-11 21:40:14

Glad to hear you are feeling better. My appetite was poor for a long time and I struggled to eat normal meals. I ended up eating a lot of humous as it is nutritious and the full-fat version is high in calories (but still a good food).

Avocados are relatively easy to digest, too. Do you like almonds and brazil nuts? They are full of goodies, unless you buy salted, obviously! Bananas? If you can't even manage a small one you can peel it part way down, break off half and put the rest in the fridge. Only a teeny tiny part at the top goes black. The rest is fine.

Don't fill yourself up with empty carbs - only eat ones which have some nutritional value too, such as quinoa and bananas. Toast and cereal, and a breakfast biscuit make my wagging finger quite energetic ;).

I'm not a vegan but I have a great Liz Cook vegan food chart showing the nutritional benefits of various foods which helped me balance my intake when I was struggling to eat enough. Google, or local health food store should help.

CatPower Thu 02-Jun-11 22:14:01

I'm no expert, but what about soup? If you feel up to making home made (and by home made I just mean bung some veggies and tins of tomatoes in a pan with some stock and water, boil and blend, nothing fancy!) or getting some cartons or tins in. Try just a mug of soup and increase slowly to a bowl, if you can stomach it.

When my MIL was having chemo, she found stewed fruit and a bit of custard to be the only thing she could stomach. She never had a lot, just a few spoons, but it really perked her up.

KurriKurri Thu 02-Jun-11 22:29:17

What about something like smoothies - you can make your own if you've got a blender, - I do a breakfast one with a banana, plain yogurt, a bit of milk and a spoonful of oats -whizz it up and its quite filling. Any fruit would do and you can use juice instead of milk/yogurt if you prefer.

Porridge is good too - easy to digest and nutritious. Put a bit of honey or maple syrup on it and make it with full fat milk to calorie it up.

I know when I had chemo my sense of taste was badly affected - I found things with a stronger flavour were better.
I ate stuff like lemon sorbet - has a nice sharp flavour.
Oatcakes with a bit of cream cheese or fruit spread on them are a good snack too.

Maybe mix together a few nuts and some dried fruit - you can pick at them during the day and it will give you a calorie boost.

Loads of luck with the rest of your treatment smile

4pudding Fri 03-Jun-11 15:44:55

Avocado is full of vitamins and healthy fats. Can eat on it's own or mashed up on toast. It's one of the most 'complete' foods out there.

pinkstarlight Fri 03-Jun-11 20:43:00

i know how hard it is you just need to try and eat a little and often, i find smoothies a god send you can even pour them into ice cube trays.for me the only thing i can garentee to stomach is rice with a little bit of meat and spice and eating it along side a cracker or those creamy rice pots with apple you can just take a bite here and there.i also find frozen grapes very soothing on the throat and for some odd reason lemon cheesecake is also really easy to eat.

MummyDoIt Fri 03-Jun-11 20:48:16

There are some very good liquid meal substitutes available for people who can't eat. Like Complan only better. DH and my Dad both had them when they had cancer and couldn't eat. There are lots of different varieties under a number of brand names. Most are milk-shakes but you can get soups as well. The brand DH used was called Ensure. Speak to your GP as you should be able to get them on prescription. They provide all your vitamins and minerals, plus protein so you can have them instead of a meal if you can't face food.

Also, see if your hospital or GP surgery has a dietician you can see as they can offer very good advice on managing your eating.

Best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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