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I have just started chemotherapy and am worried about losing weight. What should I be eating?

Many people manage to eat normally throughout their chemotherapy treatment.  Unfortunately some people find that the side effects of treatment make eating and maintaining weight more of a challenge.

If your weight remains stable and your appetite does not change, then continue with your normal eating pattern. In this instance it is not necessary to change your diet in any way.

If you start to lose weight or you are not able to eat your usual diet, your portion sizes are smaller than normal or you are skipping meals, you will need to change the way you eat.

In order to prevent ongoing weight loss it is advisable to introduce foods and drinks that you may normally think of as ‘unhealthy’ because they are high in calories.  This can be achieved by: 

  • Eating and drinking ‘little and often’
  • Eating a small snack between meals
  • Eating a snack meal instead of a main meal if you find this easier
  • Drinking nourishing fluids such as milk, milky drinks and milkshakes
  • Having a dessert a couple of hours after your meal if easier
  • Avoiding low fat or diet foods
  • Fortifying your meals with extra butter, cream and/or cheese
  • Consider the use of convenience foods.  These will save you time and energy.  Supermarkets stock a wide range of frozen, chilled or packet ready meals

If you are finding this advice difficult to follow and you are still losing weight, ask your doctor or nurse to refer you to the dietitian. Alternatively you can self refer. Please contact the Fountain Centre for advice on how to do this.