How to Stay Well Nourished and Hydrated

HOW TO STAY WELL NOURISHED AND HYDRATED

Getting all of the nutrients your body needs can help you maintain your weight and strength, stay active and support your recovery – all important factors in managing cancer-related fatigue. Please note you may want to speak with a dietitian specializing in cancer regarding your specific fluid requirements and what liquids are best for you.

Fuel up at regular intervals

Food provides our body with energy, like fuel does for a car. Eating at regular intervals throughout the day helps maintain your energy levels. Including a source of protein (fish, poultry, dairy foods, nuts, legumes, eggs, meat) with all meals and snacks is also important to keep your energy at an even level, and to prevent muscle loss.

Stay hydrated

Not drinking enough fluids increases fatigue. Most people need eight cups (2 litres) of fluid each day. Fluid is anything that is liquid at room temperature and can include water, juice, milk, smoothies, soup, broth, popsicles made with real fruit or juice, or herbal tea. You may want to speak with a dietitian specializing in cancer regarding your specific fluid requirements and what liquids are best for you.

Keep it simple

Getting balanced nutrition doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming. Aim to include a protein, a whole grain, and a fruit or vegetable at each meal and snack.

Bend old habits

Why not try some store-bought, already prepared foods if you just don’t feel like making anything yourself? You may want to eat breakfast food at night. Or use your microwave more often to prepare meals or snacks. Have leftovers from the meal before. Prepare a larger batch of food than you need and eat it in portions. Allow yourself to do the unusual if this helps you eat.

Plan for convenience

We realize preparing meals from scratch every day isn’t realistic. Give yourself permission to take some shortcuts. Stocking your pantry, refrigerator and freezer with convenience items is a great way to help you meet your nutritional needs and conserve energy (TABLE 1). Frozen meals, canned fish or poultry, instant oatmeal and nutritional supplements (drinks) can provide good nutrition when you need something quick and effortless. Check out our suggestions for meals and snacks. (TABLE 2)

TABLE 1: HOW TO MAKE FOOD PREPARATION EASIER

Hover over each image for details

Grocery Shopping

• Organize your grocery list by aisle so you don’t have to walk too far when shopping.
• Shop at less busy times to avoid line-ups.
• Make sure your grocery bags are not too heavy.
• Arrange for home delivery if possible.
• Try ordering from a grocery delivery service or doing a “click and collect” order. You can order on-line, or over the phone.

Cooking

• Prepare food while sitting at a table, rather than standing.
• Use tools like a food processor or mandolin rather than cutting food by hand.
• Choose recipes for one-pot meals like casseroles and stews.
• Make large batches of food when you have energy and freeze into individual-sized portions you can reheat when you don’t feel like cooking.

Washing Dishes

• Use a dishwasher if you have one.
• Let dishes air dry in a drying rack rather than drying by hand.
• Use biodegradable plates and utensils when you are too tired to wash dishes.

TABLE 2: NUTRITIOUS MEALS AND SNACKS

NO COOKING REQUIRED

Cottage cheese, fruit and a muffin
Canned fish, crackers and raw vegetables
Store-bought BBQ chicken with a vegetable and bread
Sandwich with canned poultry and a smoothie

READY IN A FEW MINUTES

Boiled egg, slice of bread, vegetable juice and yogurt
Soup with added milk, cheese, pita bread and dried fruit
Frozen meal, fruit and a glass of milk
Pasta with store-bought sauce and grated cheese

SNACK IDEAS

Cereal with milk
Hummus and pita
Toast and nut butter
Crackers and cheese
Fruit and nuts
Milk and muffin
Yogurt and granola
Smoothie (recipe below)

Enjoy this recipe
Blueberry pear smoothie

A snack with antioxidants and fibre

  • Preparation: 10 minutes
  • 2 servings

INGREDIENTS

  • ½ cup frozen blueberries
  • ½ banana, peeled and sliced
  • ½ fresh, ripe pear (or 1 cup canned), chopped
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted raw cashew nuts
  • 3 tablespoons low fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey (optional)
  • ½ cup milk or soy beverage

PREPARATION

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

RECIPE MODIFIER TO INCREASE CALORIES AND PROTEIN

  • Add more nuts
  • Use yogurt with higher fat content
  • Use milk with higher fat content

HELPFUL WITH SIDE EFFECTS!

  • Fatigue
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing
  • Dry mouth

HOW TO GET VITAMIN D

People with skin cancer are usually advised to limit their sun exposure. Learn how to get vitamin D with a cancer diagnosis

MANAGING DIARRHEA

When you are experiencing diarrhea, eating well can be a challenge.

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References

Berger AM, Abernethy AP, Atkinson A et al. Cancer-related fatigue. J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2010;8(8):904-31.
Cramp F, Daniel J. Exercise for the management of cancer-related fatigue in adults. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2008;(2):CD006145.
Mock V et al. NCCN Practice Guidelines for Cancer-Related Fatigue. Oncology (Williston Park, NY) 14.11A (2000): 151-161.
A Pan-Canadian Practice Guideline: Screening, Assessment and Care of Cancer-Related Fatigue in Adults with Cancer, Toronto: Canadian Partnership Against Cancer (Cancer Journey Advisory Group) and the Canadian Association of Psychosocial Oncology, February 2011.
http://www.capo.ca/Fatigue_Guideline.pdfBrown JC et al. Efficacy of exercise interventions in modulating cancer-related fatigue among adult cancer survivors: a meta-analysis. Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention 2011;20.1 123-133.

Source

Staying well-nourished with cancer-related fatigue. By Josée Beaudoin, MSc, RD and Angela Martens, RD. Managing fatigue. By Christy Brissette, MSc, RD. In: Nourish Vol 1 issue 2 https://www.nourishonline.ca

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