Fall is finally here! The weather is getting cool, holidays are rapidly approaching, and pumpkin spice is back. Thanksgiving will be here soon and then Christmas. Before we know it, it’s the New Year. We embrace the holiday spirit, spend time with family, friends, and loved ones, and of course, indulge in fabulous food!
As if the holidays aren’t stressful enough, if you or a loved one is undergoing cancer treatment, the holidays may be anything but joyous. Turkey and pumpkin pie may be the last things on your mind. During cancer treatment, it is common to experience symptoms such as loss of appetite, nausea, fatigue, change in taste, and weight loss. But, it is important to maintain a nutritious diet with adequate protein, carbohydrates, fruits and veggies, whole grains, water, healthy fats, and even calories, especially the ones that come from nutrient-dense foods.
If you are unable to tolerate certain foods or large meals, try adding the following “boosters” to increase the nutrition content of the foods you already eat! With these boosters, you can easily add extra calories, protein, and vitamins and minerals for additional health benefits. Incorporating these nutrient rich foods into your meals will ensure that your body has enough fuel to fight cancer.
- Dairy booster include: cheese, sour cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, whole milk, and cream.
- Add a dollop of sour cream or shredded cheese to your favorite winter soup.
- Use cream as a base for soups or add to hot drinks.
- Add avocado to fruit and veggie smoothies for creaminess.
- Include chopped avocado in salads.
- Spread avocado on your morning toast.
Oils (Healthy Fats)
- Healthy oils include: sunflower oil, olive oil, flaxseed oil, and butter.
- Stir these oils into saut ed veggies and salad dressings.
- Use them as recipe substitutions for muffins or desserts.
- Nuts include: almonds, walnuts, cashews, and Brazil nuts.
- Add almonds to salads and green bean casserole.
- Add hazelnuts to stuffing.
- Top a scoop of frozen yogurt with walnuts.
- Try using chia, pumpkin, flax, or sunflower seeds.
- Top cereals, yogurt, smoothies, and salads with our favorite seeds.
- Nut butters include almond butter and peanut butter.
- Use nut butters in smoothies, oatmeal, or spread on toast.
- Although it is best to get your protein from food itself, protein powder is a good supplement.
- Add a scoop of vanilla, chocolate, or unflavored protein to a smoothie for an extra 20-30 grams of protein!
- Use wheat germ in baking, on top of oatmeal, in smoothies, or in place of breadcrumbs.
Anjie Giuffrida, Senior Student in the Lipscomb University Didactic Program in Dietetics