Many cancer patients lose weight during their cancer treatment. This is partly due to the effects of the cancer itself on the body. Also, if you’ve lost your appetite and are eating less than usual because of your treatment or emotional worries, you may lose weight. How to Increase Calories and How to Increase Protein under our website’s Diet section (under Nutrition tab) will give you some ideas for slowing weight loss or even gaining a few pounds.
Instant Dry Milk as a Protein Powder
For extra protein in dishes, consider adding a little nonfat instant dry milk to scrambled eggs, soup, cereal, sauces, and gravies.
Commercial Products to Improve Nutrition
If you cannot get enough calories and protein from your diet, commercial meal replacements such as drinks, “shakes,” and “instant breakfast” powders may help. Other products also can be added to any food or beverage. These supplements are high in protein and calories and have extra vitamins and minerals. They come in liquid, pudding, and powder forms. Most commercial meal replacements contain little or no lactose. However, it is important to check the label if you are sensitive to lactose. Your nurse or a registered dietitian can tell you which products are best for you and which ones are available in your area.
Most of these products need no refrigeration until you open them. That means you can carry them with you and have them whenever you feel hungry or thirsty. They are also good chilled as between-meal or bedtime snacks. You may want to take a can with you when you go for treatments or other times when you may have a long wait.
Many supermarkets and drugstores carry a variety of commercial liquid meal replacements. If you don’t see these products on the shelf, ask the store manager if they can be ordered.