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  • Writer's pictureNaghmeh Mirhosseini

Boosting Appetite

If you have been diagnosed with cancer and are undergoing treatment, you may have noticed a change in your appetite and desire to eat. There are many cancer treatments that can lower your appetite and even cancer itself can cause a loss in appetite for several reasons. A loss of appetite, called anorexia, can lead to weight loss, which can affect your quality of life and leave you feeling weak and tired.

Here are some natural tips to help improve your appetite:

  • Eat several small meals or snacks throughout the day (6-8), rather than 3 large meals.

  • Eat meals and snacks at scheduled time, even if not hungry. Try to eat regularly, even a few bites.

  • Eat starchy foods, such as bread, pasta, or sweet potatoes, with high-protein foods, such as fish, chicken, meats, turkey, eggs, cheeses, milk, tofu, nuts, peanut butter, yogurt, peas, and beans.

  • Marinate meat in liquids (citrus juices, salad dressings, sweet and sour sauce, soy sauce or barbecue sauce) to change the strong flavour and make it more appealing.

  • If the smell of food bothers you, serve bland foods cold or at room temperature.

  • When your appetite is very low, try fruit smoothies, milkshakes, or liquid meals.

  • If your mouth isn’t sore, drink lemon water, which can help stimulate appetite.

  • Avoid drinking liquids with meals or take only small sips of liquids while eating to keep from feeling full early (unless you need liquids to help swallow or for dry mouth).

  • Use a large plate and put small portions on it. By doing this, the amount of food may appear less overwhelming.

  • Make eating more enjoyable by setting the table with pretty dishes, playing your favourite music, watching TV, or having enjoyable company.

  • Be as physically active as you can. Exercise lightly before meals to stimulate your appetite. Even a short walk may be stimulating.

  • Eat your favourite foods any time of the day; for instance, if you like breakfast foods, you can eat them for dinner.

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