Strategies for eating (and eating well) when you don't want to eat
If you've sat at a table with kids, you've probably said or heard these words of encouragement: "Eat your breakfast, it's the most important meal of the day," "Eat your broccoli, it's good for you," or "You have to at least try something." We know how important eating is to fuel our bodies, and some foods are better than others. We also know that eating may be the last thing on a kid's mind.
When cancer is diagnosed, a new mealtime battle may start -- waged not with kids but with your husband, wife, mom, dad or friend. Depression, stress, lack of appetite, side effects of treatments and other factors can hinder one's desire and ability to eat.
How can you force yourself to eat when you're nauseated, or get a loved one to eat when he or she has no interest?
Eating well and maintaining your weight during cancer treatment may help you:
- Feel better
- Keep up your energy and strength
- Tolerate your treatment better
- Lower your risk of infection
- Heal and recover faster
Think of your body like a car: Without gas, the car won't go. Without enough calories and protein to support your daily needs (which are increased during treatment), you'll lose weight and weaken an immune system already busy fighting cancer. Your body will break down muscle mass to make up the calories you aren't eating, leading to fatigue and weakness.
EATING TIPS FOR TREATMENT-RELATED SIDE EFFECTS
Other articles to help when you or your loved one has little appetite
If you are a patient of the U-M Comprehensive Cancer Center:
Make an appointment for nutritional counseling by calling 877-907-0859.