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.
Take advantage of the time of day when appetite is at its highest to include the most energetic and nutritious foods.
Always ensure the presence of vegetables in lunch and dinner (raw or cooked), starchy foods (tubers, cereals, pulses) and protein-rich 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, for example using a small dessert plate.
Nutritionally dense dishes 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, yoghurts (natural, Greek, rich in protein…) or small cheeses.
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 so it is important to set small goals that you can achieve throughout the day.
Always drink in between meals and drink more nutritious liquids, such as natural 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.