Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+)
Bookmark and Share

Related Information

 

Eating extra calories when you are sick - adults

Alternate Names

Getting more calories - adults

Self-care

If you are sick or getting cancer treatment, you may not feel like eating. But it is important to get enough protein and calories so that you do not lose too much weight. Eating well will help you handle your illness and side effects of treatment better.

Change your eating habits to get more calories:

  • Eat when you are hungry, not just at mealtimes.
  • Eat 5 or 6 small meals a day instead of 3 large ones.
  • Keep healthy snacks handy.
  • Do not fill up on liquids before or during your meals.
  • Ask your health care provider or nurse if you can have a glass of wine or beer with your meal. It may make you feel like eating more.

Ask others to prepare food for you. You may feel like eating, but you might not have enough energy to cook.

Make eating more pleasant:

  • Use soft lighting and play relaxing music.
  • Eat with family or friends.
  • Listen to the radio or watch TV.
  • Try new recipes or new foods.

When you feel up to it, make some simple meals and freeze them to eat later. Ask your health care provider or nurse about "Meals on Wheels" or other programs that bring food to your house.

Ways to Add Calories to Your Food

Sauté or fry your food (ask your health care provider first about this). Add butter or margarine to foods when you are cooking, or put them on foods that are already cooked. Eat peanut butter sandwiches, or put peanut butter on some vegetables or fruits, such as carrots or apples.

Mix whole milk or half-and-half with canned soups. Add protein supplements to yogurt, milkshakes, fruit smoothies, or pudding. Add honey to juices. Drink eggnog, milkshakes, or prepared liquid supplements between meals. Add cream sauce or melt cheese over vegetables.

Ask your health care provider about liquid nutrition drinks.

Also ask your health care provider about any possible medicines that can stimulate your appetite to help you eat.

References

Rock CL, Doyle C, Demark-Wahnefried W, et al. Nutrition and physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors. CA Cancer J Clin. 2012; publihed online at doj: 10.3322/caac.21142.

Ottery FD. Cancer-related weight loss. In: Walsh D, Caraceni AT, Fainsinger R, et al, eds. Palliative Medicine. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 133.

Bozetti F, Bozzetti V. Principles and management of nutritional support in cancer. In: Walsh D, Caraceni AT, Fainswinger R, et al, eds. Palliative Medicine. 1st ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008:chap 106.


Review Date: 6/6/2012
Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington; and Yi-Bin Chen, MD, Leukemia/Bone Marrow Transplant Program, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
adam.com
 

Medical Care

Cancer
Pregnancy & Prenatal Classes
Weight Loss
Orthopedics
Heart Disease
Neurology
Women's Health
More Medical Care

Locations

Hospitals
Immediate Care
Health Centers
Emergency Room
Doctors Offices
Specialists
Affiliate Hospitals

Patients and Visitors

MyChart
Pay Your Bill
Request an Appointment
Get Healthy
Support Groups
Fitness Groups
Mobile Applications
Clinical Trials
Online Nursery
Classes and Events
Send an eCard
Patient Stories
Places to Stay

About Us

Quality Report 
Careers
Ways to Help
Community Outreach
Contact Us
(502) 629-1234

Connect with us

© 2014 Norton Healthcare
Serving Kentucky and Southern Indiana