Eating during Chemo
I’m getting more and more requests from people and organisations to develop recipes and menus for people undergoing chemotherapy – they want to know more about eating and chemotherapy. It can be a time when appetite is low and eating can be difficult. And yet, it is a time when eating a variety of nutritious food is so important to maintain health. So what do you need to remember?
Firstly, the mucosal lining of the mouth and digestive system can get damaged so calming them down with calming teas such as fennel, liquorice and chamomile can help. There can also be quite a bit of nausea, which ginger tea can help. Simply grate or chop some ginger in some hot water, leave for 10-15 minutes and sip.
Secondly, consume nutritionally dense foods to ensure that you get as much nutrients as possible. Good examples are whole grains such as oats, brown breads and brown rice/whole grain pasta, fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, and easier digested protein such as lean meat, fish and pulses and beans. The fibre in these foods can also help maintain a good digestive system, helping to maintain the immune system. In addition, these foods, especially the fruits and vegetables are a great source of antioxidants, which help to protect the body and support the immune system.
The most important thing to remember with any food choices is to make them as easily digestible as possible. I find liquidising, pureeing, grinding or juice great methods. Many people juice their fruits and vegetables, or they cook stews or soups with blended ingredients or they puree or grind nuts, seeds or grains to help the digestive system.
Keeping fluid intake up is important so eating soups or juices with extra water content can help. Processed foods can often taste quite metallic so seasoning foods with gentle spices and herbs can help to taste and flavour foods.
This smoothie blends a small bit of fruit with some nutritionally dense yogurt and spinach. Although the smoothie does end up quite green, it is lovely and sweet and is nicely blended to enhance the absorption of the nutrients.
Eating during chemo: Banana and Spinach Smoothie
- 1 large handful of spinach
- 2 tablespoons of low fat yogurt
- 1 ripe banana
- ½ inch grated ginger root
Place the spinach and banana in a liquidiser and add a small glass of water. Whizz till the spinach is well liquidised.
Add the yogurt and blitz.
Add more water if needed.
Wheat free, gluten free, sugar free