Guide Posts of Strength
Click any sign on the guide post to read Key Information.Registered Dietitian
Carrie Robinson, RD, CNSD, LDN
Advanced Home Health, Piedmont Triad, N.C.

Napoleon is credited with the observation that “an army marches on it stomach.” Good nutrition is essential, and that is especially true for anyone battling cancer. During treatment good nutrition can help you maintain your strength and your energy as well as promoting the growth of healthy cells.

Unfortunately, some people experience some side-effects and symptoms that make it even more challenging to eat a balanced and nutritious diet. Side effects of cancer treatments vary from patient to patient, depending on the type, length and dose of treatments as well as the type of cancer being treated.

Carrie Robinson intimately understands this process having lost her father to cancer. She combines her personal and professional experiences to bring innovative, practical and compassionate ideas to Guide Posts of Strength, Inc.

Key information from GPS’s dietitian:

Grocery shopping and preparing your meals can be very challenging and exhausting for someone undergoing cancer treatment. Consider enlisting help from friends, family members, and even neighbors.

  • Meals can also be made ahead of time if you are feeling up to it and frozen for later.
  • Large meals can be overwhelming, try 5-6 small meals a day instead. (Hint: try using a large plate, that way your portions appear conservative)
  • Don’t fill up on liquids during meals; keep your beverage separate from your meals by about 30 minutes on either side.
  • Make your meals as visually appealing as possible; mix colors and textures of food, use attractive dishes and glasses.
  • Prepare yourself mentally for meal time, eating on schedule can be helpful so can a pre-meal ritual of your choosing. (Wash your face and hands before sitting down to eat. Light some soothing candles or play music you enjoy. Say grace.)

The mere act of grocery shopping can be a challenge during chemotherapy so check your local stores for shortcuts.

  • Some grocery stores now have a feature on their website that allows you to select and pay for your food on-line. Then will gather the items for you and bring them out to your car at the selected time. This not only saves you energy, it keeps you away from germs!

Food sanitation is more important now than ever for you, make sure that you and your caregivers are familiar with at-home food safety and sanitation.

Always eat in a clean, well ventilated area – this will help keep strong food smells moving away from you. And wear loose-fitting comfortable clothing.

Nourishing Foods

Arm yourself with nutrients. Carbohydrates are fuel for your brain and your body cells, proteins are the building blocks of body cells, fat is a concentrated form of energy, and water, vitamins and minerals promote growth and development and regulate body functions.

  • Eggs are an inexpensive, and easy to prepare source of protein.
  • Peanut butter (if allergies are not an issue) is an easy-to-eat, easy-to-prepare food that is high in protein, energy and heart-healthy fats.
  • Dry-powdered milk (found in the baking aisle) added to hot cocoa, milkshakes, hot cereal, gravy, sauces, meatloaf, cream soups or puddings this significantly increases the calories, protein and calcium without increasing the volume you are eating. Mix 1/3 cup dry powdered milk in 8 ounces of liquid milk; you get the nutrition of two glasses of milk in one!
  • Sports drinks can be great to have on hand to help keep you hydrated.
  • White rice, bananas and coconut macaroons can be a very helpful if you develop diarrhea.

Calorie Counting

Every person’s calorie needs are individual. Age, gender, height, activity level and even disease process influence their needs. On-line calorie calculators are quick and easy ways to estimate your caloric needs and consumption. However, they are not as specific or individualized as the recommendations a registered dietitian can make during a consultation. Be certain to discuss your needs with your oncologist and your dietitian.

The following tools can help you stay on track with your nutritional needs during cancer treatment.

This calorie counter from the American Cancer Society is easy to use.

The Mayo Clinic has a calorie calculator that actually takes more specific anthropomorphic data into account.

If you want to plug in what you have eaten to see if you are meeting your calorie goals, try The Calorie Counter.

Supplements

If you have difficulty consuming enough calories, there are ways to supplement your nutrition. The American Cancer Society website offers good information and very helpful questions and answers.

UCSF Medical Center website offers a thorough overview of the specific dietary needs of those with side effects from cancer treatment.

The Livestrong website has good information but can be distracting with lots of pop-ups and sponsored links.

Please note: These items can be purchased from grocery stores and retail pharmacies. Some even have on-line purchasing options so these can be delivered right to your home.

If you have someone who can do cost-comparison shopping for you, please ask for their help with these supplements. Sometimes you can get goods savings when items are available through warehouse stores.

  • Ensure

Ensure is a popular brand of liquid meal replacement with the texture of a thin milkshake. It is packed with important vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and necessary fat required for bodily recovery and prevention of malnutrition.

Abbott, the product manufacturer, suggests that the vanilla-flavored shake makes an excellent substitute for milk used in cereals, rice pudding, instant whips and soup recipes. Other flavors may also be added to enhance the flavor and make it more palatable to discerning tastes.

Chocolate Ensure may also be heated through for a warm drink, although boiling the product could compromise the nutritional value.

  • Resource

For those who prefer or require a thinner texture, Resource provides nutrition in a clear liquid form similar to juice. According to Nestle Nutrition, the manufacturer, Resource provides nutrition that is fat-free, frozen and ready to thaw and serve, and packs 100% of the daily requirements for vitamin C, 12 % protein and 88 % carbohydrate.

Resource has a water base rather than milk or soy, making it appropriate for people who are lactose-intolerant and gluten-intolerant, as well as for those who are following low-residue or Kosher diets. It comes in orange and apple-cranberry juice flavors.

  • Powdered Supplements

Beneprotein, Benecalorie and Resource Thicken-Up are all powdered additives that are also manufactured by Nestle Nutrition. The manufacturer suggests that each powder can be added to any food or drink product without adding unwanted flavors or textures, with the exception of Thicken-Up, which is geared toward those with swallowing problems. The powders deliver specific nutrients or serve a particular purpose without adding extras. They are also very convenient because they are completely portable.

Links / Apps

The American Cancer Society — includes questions and answers that address common concerns that cancer patients and survivors have about diet.

The American Dietetic Association — Can help you find a Registered Dietitian in your area.

National Cancer Institute — For hints and recipes to help manage specific nutrition related symptoms.

American Institute for Cancer Research — For recipes, frequently asked questions and a nutrition toolkit.

The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) — For information about dietary supplements.

Caring 4 Cancer — Expert authors discuss nutrition across the cancer continuum.

Food Sanitation Tips — For essential information about home food safety and sanitation.

Key Info Nourishing Foods Calorie Counting Supplements Links and Apps

 

Key information

Grocery shopping and preparing your meals can be very challenging and exhausting for someone undergoing cancer treatment. Consider enlisting help from friends, family members, and even neighbors.

  • Meals can also be made ahead of time if you are feeling up to it and frozen for later.
  • Large meals can be overwhelming, try 5-6 small meals a day instead. (Hint: try using a large plate, that way your portions appear conservative)
  • Don’t fill up on liquids during meals; keep your beverage separate from your meals by about 30 minutes on either side.
  • Make your meals as visually appealing as possible; mix colors and textures of food, use attractive dishes and glasses.
  • Prepare yourself mentally for meal time, eating on schedule can be helpful so can a pre-meal ritual of your choosing. (Wash your face and hands before sitting down to eat. Light some soothing candles or play music you enjoy. Say grace.)

The mere act of grocery shopping can be a challenge during chemotherapy so check your local stores for shortcuts.

  • Some grocery stores now have a feature on their website that allows you to select and pay for your food on-line. Then will gather the items for you and bring them out to your car at the selected time. This not only saves you energy, it keeps you away from germs!

Food sanitation is more important now than ever for you, make sure that you and your caregivers are familiar with at-home food safety and sanitation.

Always eat in a clean, well ventilated area – this will help keep strong food smells moving away from you. And wear loose-fitting comfortable clothing.

Nourishing Foods

Arm yourself with nutrients. Carbohydrates are fuel for your brain and your body cells, proteins are the building blocks of body cells, fat is a concentrated form of energy, and water, vitamins and minerals promote growth and development and regulate body functions.

  • Eggs are an inexpensive, and easy to prepare source of protein.
  • Peanut butter (if allergies are not an issue) is an easy-to-eat, easy-to-prepare food that is high in protein, energy and heart-healthy fats.
  • Dry-powdered milk (found in the baking aisle) added to hot cocoa, milkshakes, hot cereal, gravy, sauces, meatloaf, cream soups or puddings this significantly increases the calories, protein and calcium without increasing the volume you are eating. Mix 1/3 cup dry powdered milk in 8 ounces of liquid milk; you get the nutrition of two glasses of milk in one!
  • Sports drinks can be great to have on hand to help keep you hydrated.
  • White rice, bananas and coconut macaroons can be a very helpful if you develop diarrhea.

Calorie Counting

Every person’s calorie needs are individual. Age, gender, height, activity level and even disease process influence their needs. On-line calorie calculators are quick and easy ways to estimate your caloric needs and consumption. However, they are not as specific or individualized as the recommendations a registered dietitian can make during a consultation. Be certain to discuss your needs with your oncologist and your dietitian.

The following tools can help you stay on track with your nutritional needs during cancer treatment.

This calorie counter from the American Cancer Society is easy to use.

The Mayo Clinic has a calorie calculator that actually takes more specific anthropomorphic data into account.

If you want to plug in what you have eaten to see if you are meeting your calorie goals, try The Calorie Counter.

Calories Count. This food diary will be helpful for anyone who is intimidated by technology.

Supplements

If you have difficulty consuming enough calories, there are ways to supplement your nutrition. The American Cancer Society website offers good information and very helpful questions and answers.

UCSF Medical Center website offers a thorough overview of the specific dietary needs of those with side effects from cancer treatment.

The Livestrong website has good information but can be distracting with lots of pop-ups and sponsored links.

Please note: These items can be purchased from grocery stores and retail pharmacies. Some even have on-line purchasing options so these can be delivered right to your home.

If you have someone who can do cost-comparison shopping for you, please ask for their help with these supplements. Sometimes you can get goods savings when items are available through warehouse stores.

  • Ensure

Ensure is a popular brand of liquid meal replacement with the texture of a thin milkshake. It is packed with important vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and necessary fat required for bodily recovery and prevention of malnutrition.

Abbott, the product manufacturer, suggests that the vanilla-flavored shake makes an excellent substitute for milk used in cereals, rice pudding, instant whips and soup recipes. Other flavors may also be added to enhance the flavor and make it more palatable to discerning tastes.

Chocolate Ensure may also be heated through for a warm drink, although boiling the product could compromise the nutritional value.

  • Resource

For those who prefer or require a thinner texture, Resource provides nutrition in a clear liquid form similar to juice. According to Nestle Nutrition, the manufacturer, Resource provides nutrition that is fat-free, frozen and ready to thaw and serve, and packs 100% of the daily requirements for vitamin C, 12 % protein and 88 % carbohydrate.

Resource has a water base rather than milk or soy, making it appropriate for people who are lactose-intolerant and gluten-intolerant, as well as for those who are following low-residue or Kosher diets. It comes in orange and apple-cranberry juice flavors.

  • Powdered Supplements

Beneprotein, Benecalorie and Resource Thicken-Up are all powdered additives that are also manufactured by Nestle Nutrition. The manufacturer suggests that each powder can be added to any food or drink product without adding unwanted flavors or textures, with the exception of Thicken-Up, which is geared toward those with swallowing problems. The powders deliver specific nutrients or serve a particular purpose without adding extras. They are also very convenient because they are completely portable.

Links / Apps

The American Cancer Society — includes questions and answers that address common concerns that cancer patients and survivors have about diet.

The American Dietetic Association — Can help you find a Registered Dietitian in your area.

National Cancer Institute — For hints and recipes to help manage specific nutrition related symptoms.

American Institute for Cancer Research — For recipes, frequently asked questions and a nutrition toolkit.

Oncology Nutrition — To locate a registered dietitian who specialized in oncology in your area.

The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) — For information about dietary supplements.

Caring 4 Cancer — Expert authors discuss nutrition across the cancer continuum.

Food Sanitation Tips — For essential information about home food safety and sanitation.


Guide Posts of Strength