Eating extra calories when sick - adults
Getting more calories - adults; Chemotherapy - calories; Transplant - calories; Cancer treatment - calories
If you are sick or undergoing cancer treatment, you may not feel like eating. But it is important to get enough protein and calories so you do not lose too much weight. Eating well can help you handle your illness and the side effects of treatment better.
Change your eating habits to get more calories.
Ask others to prepare food for you. You may feel like eating, but you might not have enough energy to cook.
Make eating pleasant.
When you feel up to it, make some simple meals and freeze them to eat later. Ask your provider about "Meals on Wheels" or other programs that bring food to your house.
Ways to add Calories to Your Food
You can add calories to your food by doing the following:
Ask your provider about liquid nutrition drinks.
Also ask your provider about any medicines that can stimulate your appetite to help you eat.
American Cancer Society website. Nutrition for children with cancer. www.cancer.org/treatment/children-and-cancer/when-your-child-has-cancer/nutrition.html. Updated June 30, 2014. Accessed March 20, 2016.
National Cancer Institute website. Nutrition in cancer care (PDQ®) - health professional version. Bethesda, MD: National Cancer Institute. www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/side-effects/appetite-loss/nutrition-hp-pdq. Updated January 8, 2016. Accessed March 20, 2016.
Rock CL, Doyle C, Demark-Wahnefried W, et al. Nutrition and physical activity guidelines for cancer survivors. CA Cancer J Clin. 2012;62(4):243-274. PMID 22539238 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22539238.
Review Date: 2/6/2016
Reviewed By: Laura J. Martin, MD, MPH, ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine and Hospice and Palliative Medicine, Atlanta, GA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 03-14-18.
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