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6 foods to help cancer patients maintain weight

An assortment of milk and cheeses on a blue table.
Blog

/ by Nasreen Omran, dietetic intern at the UK Markey Cancer Center

Cancer patients can expect some side effects with their treatment, including nausea, appetite loss, changes in taste or smell, and vomiting. These side effects can affect what and how much cancer patients eat, which can lead to weight loss.

Maintaining a stable weight during treatment is vital to a patient’s health. Here are six foods that can increase protein and calorie intake when dealing with side effects from treatment:

  1. Cheese: Adding cheese to sandwiches, egg dishes and vegetables is a tasty way to add calories to your snacks.
  2. Nut butters: Peanut and almond butters are the perfect solution for someone looking to add some protein and calories to their diet. Two tablespoons of peanut butter contains 210 calories and eight grams of protein, and two tablespoons of almond butter contains 196 calories and seven grams of protein. Add nut butter to oatmeal, smoothies, shakes and toast for a protein-packed meal or snack.
  3. Ice cream: Ice cream is an excellent source of calories. Making a milkshake with peanut butter, ice cream and protein powder can help increase calorie and protein intake.
  4. Supplemental drinks: Drinks like Boost or Ensure are good ways to add both calories and protein, especially if a patient isn’t feeling that hungry. One Boost Plus drink contains 360 calories and 14 grams of protein.
  5. Eggs: Eggs can be used in a wide variety of recipes. Adding them to salads or eating them as snacks is a good way to incorporate protein into a diet throughout the day.
  6. Milk and yogurt: Swapping out skim or 1 percent milk for whole milk is a good source of calories and protein. Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, is also a great way to get more protein.

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