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Eating Hints: Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment

  • Posted: 09/30/2009

After Cancer Treatment

Many eating problems go away when treatment ends

Once you finish cancer treatment, many of your eating problems will get better. Some eating problems, such as weight loss and changes in taste or smell, may last longer than your course of treatment. If you had treatment for head and neck cancer or surgery to remove part of your stomach or intestines, then eating problems may always be part of your life.

Return to healthy eating

While healthy eating by itself cannot keep cancer from coming back, it can help you regain strength, rebuild tissue, and improve how you feel after treatment ends. Here are some ways to eat well after treatment ends:

  • Prepare simple meals that you like and are easy to make.
  • Cook 2 or 3 meals at a time. Freeze the extras to eat later on.
  • Stock up on frozen dinners.
  • Make cooking easy, such as buying cut-up vegetables from a salad bar.
  • Eat many different kinds of foods. No single food has all the vitamins and nutrients you need.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. This includes eating raw and cooked vegetables, fruits, and fruit juices. These all have vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Eat whole wheat bread, oats, brown rice, or other whole grains and cereals. These have needed complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
  • Add beans, peas, and lentils to your diet and eat them often.
  • Go easy on fat, salt, sugar, alcohol, and smoked or pickled foods.
  • Choose low-fat milk products.
  • Eat small portions (about 6 to 7 ounces each day) of lean meat and poultry without skin.
  • Use low-fat cooking methods, such as broiling, steaming, grilling, and roasting.

Talk with a dietitian

You may find it helpful to talk with a dietitian even when you are finished with cancer treatment. A dietitian can help you return to healthy eating or discuss ways to manage any lasting eating problems.