menu/recipe ideas for chemo pts

  1. I wonder if any of you know of a website, cookbook or just have anecdotal info about what foods a chemo pt. might be able to tolerate well or even actually enjoy. I have a family member starting therapy for lung Ca with taxol, or something related to that, and carboplatin. I know from my research that any of the platinum based chemos are infamous for having nausea as a side effect.

    Anyway, I would like to help them out with some meals over the next few weeks and need ideas. I remember another family member some years ago did well with potato soup during her chemo - any other ideas out there?

    ps if it matters, she is a young mother with husband and two small children, so I am looking for things that would be good for the family but not offensive to her also.
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   sassy3
    What a wonderful thought and help. Wish all patients had someone like you. Unfortunately...the generic answer is...it is hard to say. Appetite, N/V, taste changes, aversions ---all change and are individualized. WHat someone likes in the beginning of treatment - they may had three treatments from now. So it can change and sometimes it is a wait and see.

    Pretty simple tips would be:
    1. 1-800-4 CANCER has a pt ed book called "eating hints" that has some great suggestions, tips and meal ideas.
    2. Don't make the patient's favorite dish those first couple of days of treatment and after (they tend to experience more N/V and may develop an aversion to their favorites).
    3. Must times you want to increase calories and take advantage. if they have a poor appetite and aren't able to eat much...give them a milkshake with carnation instant breakfast for instance so they get lots of calories. Macaroni and cheese, soups, puddings, etc
    4. avoid spicy, hot, foods.
    5. taste changes are not uncommon so their favorite foods don't always taste the same as they did before.
    6. experiment! The patient will let you know what they are craving, wanting
    7. Cook family meals for tx days when the pt may not want to cook but it would be help for her family (which will be a big worry).
    8. Small frequent meals are better than big huge dinners, etc.

    Hope this helps. You are a great support to this women and your efforts, gestures will go a long way to help her and her family
  4. by   NurseyBaby'05
    Whatever they think they can keep down and sounds tasty to them. Sorry to be so simplistic, but like another poster said, tastes and aversions wind up being so individualized. A friend of my parents' ate nothing but canned pears for almost two weeks straight because it was the only thing she tolerated. That was awhile ago. Now they have clear/flavorless supplements (I think Prosource liquid is one.) that can offer a boost of protein and other nutrients to whatever the pt's can tolerate.

    Cooking for the family is a great idea too. That way the smells of the food being prepared won't be all through her house in case she can't tolerate them. At least if a plate of something is zapped in the nuker, the smell will only be there until it's eaten instead of it permeating the house. I would still avoing things with strong smells and odors though. Garlic, cheese, etc just in case.
    Last edit by NurseyBaby'05 on Sep 26, '06
  5. by   CapeCodMermaid
    Go day by day. My doc told me to eat whatever I could to keep my weight up when I had chemo. One day it was ice cream, the next cheap frozen pizza. I ate what I felt like at the time even if it wasn't considered nutritionally sound. The big problem I had was explaining to my 4yr old son and not quite 2 year old daughter that Mommy didn't HAVE to eat her vegetables or clean her plate!
  6. by   Nibor6000
    Do you have access to a good dietitian? They can help. It will be important to try to maximize protein intake during treatment. The dietitian will have tips (Boost/Ensure, cottage cheese, milkshakes, protein bars/powders, pudding made with whole milk (extra kcals)), eggs, meat if tolerated, cheese, peanut butter, beans if tolerated). The Eating Hints for Cancer Patients booklet was an excellent suggestion. It has everything a patient and family needs to know about symptom management. And yes, you don't need to eat your vegetables unless you really want to. It's about getting as many kcals in as possible, especially during the rough times. Tell the patient to eat what they want, when they can.

    -Robin MS, RD
  7. by   donsterRN
    My chemo exhausted me, but I had no N/V. My oncologist said I could eat anything I felt like eating and encouraged me to do just that. And I did.

    I know that chemo is different for different people, and I'm sure I was just very lucky, but my chemo was platinum based, too (Oxcalaplatin), and I truly had no difficulties with appetite.

    I think it's wonderful that you're doing this for your family member. Certainly a Registered Dietician could provide you with lots more information.
  8. by   babynurselsa
    One thing I used to suggest for some of my hospice pts was to use the ensure and toss it in the blender with some ice cream. Nice and calorie packed. The cold ice cream made the ensure more palatable.
  9. by   RNsane
    I tell some pts who have trouble eating and hate supplements such as Ensure to take a Coronation Instant Breakfast and use whole milk to make it. This has equal calories to a can of ensure. Also, use whole milks, creams, anything to get extra calories. I also recommend Gatorade to drink.

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