Loss of appetite, also called anorexia, is one of the most common symptoms during cancer treatment. It can appear at any time during treatment or during the disease. It is important to pay special attention if it is prolonged over time because it can affect the patient’s nutritional status. In lung cancer, shortness of breath can lead to more tiredness when eating.
Take advantage of the time of day when appetite is at its highest to include the most energetic and nutritious foods.
Even if you have no appetite, it is important to think about the importance of eating. It is not so important how much you eat in one meal, but what you manage to accumulate at the end of the day, and for this, it is important to set small goals that you can achieve throughout the day.
Always ensure the presence in both lunch and dinner of vegetables (raw or cooked), starchy foods (tubers, cereals, pulses) and protein foods (meat, fish and eggs or other protein-rich foods such as soy), as indicated in the plate method. Even if it is in small quantities, using a small dessert plate.
Nutritionally dense elaborations are those that include a large amount of energy and nutrients in a very small volume.
Accessible for snacking; food left in the field of vision may be consumed more frequently: grapes, bananas, tangerines, cherries, strawberries, a bowl of popcorn or a bag of breadsticks (white, wholemeal or with seeds), some biscuits, dried fruit (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts, pistachios, cashews…) or dried fruit (dried apricots, prunes, sultanas, banana, coconut). Also, keep Greek or protein-rich yoghurts in the fridge.
It is advisable to always drink in between meals and to drink more nutritious liquids, such as fruit juices or fruit and vegetable smoothies.
Serving food on a large plate can give the feeling that there is less food, which can help make it easier to eat.
Keep in mind the appearance and presentation of meals and including a variety of colours, textures and smells will also help to improve acceptance.
Have meals ready to avoid cooking every day.
Keeping active can help stimulate appetite.
Maintaining good oral hygiene to avoid undesirable flavours that may later be associated with certain foods.