Eating breakfast on chemo days

When you are undergoing treatment for breast cancer, it is important that you continue to eat well even if your appetite wanes.   Research shows that patients who maintain their weight during the course of treatment, often have better outcomes.

It makes sense. After all, when you are having breast cancer treatment, whether it is chemotherapy or radiation, your body will be working hard to fight the cancer. It may also need a little extra help to tolerate the treatments.  The way we provide the fuel for our bodies to heal and tolerate treatments is through our diet.

I sometimes get the question about whether it is ok to eat on days when you are having treatment. This often comes from people who don’t realize that they can, and should, eat on treatment days. Eating daily will help you stay healthier during treatment, unless your doctor has advised you not to eat due to a medical test or some other reason.

What should I eat for breakfast on treatment days?

Whenever I’m heading out for treatment, I always try to  start my day with a good breakfast that is a balanced meal. Ideally the meal will contain some protein, carbs, fruits, dairy and whole grains.

For example,  how about an egg white veggie scramble with a slice of whole grain toast, a small glass of skim milk and a handful of blueberries or other fruit?

Or, banana nut oatmeal with a green smoothie on the side?

Sometimes I’ll make a vegetable frittata in advance. Then, the morning of chemo I can just heat up a piece in the microwave which makes for a quick and nutritious breakfast when I’m on the run.  You can pair it with a slice of whole grain toast and a small glass of skim milk to round out the meal.

If I eat Greek yogurt or Skyr, I add some sliced fresh fruit or berries to balance the protein.  Skyr, is a traditional Icelandic yogurt made of skim milk with live active cultures. It is similar to Greek yogurt in nutritional values and consistency.  I will often also add a homemade low fat whole wheat blueberry muffin or other whole grain muffin to increase the calories in the meal.

By starting my day with a hearty breakfast, it helps me stay full throughout the morning. If later on I don’t feel like eating too much, at least I’ve had a good breakfast and can better make it through the day.

 

 

Barbara Spalding RDN Culinary Dietitian

Hi, I am

Barbara Spalding MS, RDN, Culinary Dietitian

As a dietitian and world traveler, I love bold flavors — in food and in life. 14 years ago, I fell down the rabbit hole into Breast Cancer Wonderland. Since then, I’ve learned to cook differently while savoring the pleasures of food and companionship. I’ve built a resilient new life and a bold new kitchen. Let me show you the flavors of the world.
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