It's often difficult to eat well when you don’t feel like shopping for food or cooking because you're tired or unwell. You may miss meals while having treatment or waiting for appointments. The following meal and snack ideas may not all seem like healthy choices, but if you have a poor appetite it’s important to boost your intake of food and focus on high protein and energy foods and fluids.
Place fruit and orange juice in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook for about 20–30 minutes, stirring occasionally until fruits soften (the length of time will depend on how hard the fruits are). Serve with some full cream custard, ice cream or cream.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Brush a medium ovenproof dish with oil. Layer the sweet potato, pumpkin, parsnip, carrot and potatoes in the prepared dish. Drizzle each layer with a small amount of cream. Top with the remaining cream and sprinkle on the grated cheese. Bake in the oven for around 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and the vegetables are tender.
Crack eggs into a bowl and add cream and chives. Whisk with a fork until combined. Heat a pan over medium heat and add a small amount of butter. Cook the eggs for 1 minute, stirring as you do so that they cook through. Butter the two slices of bread and serve the eggs on top.
Mix mince, breadcrumbs, egg and seasoning with a fork until well blended and then form into balls (golf ball size). Brown in the margarine. Remove meatballs from pan. Make a thick gravy with the drippings, flour and water. Return the meatballs to the gravy and simmer for 1 to 1½ hours until tender. Add herbs or spices to the meat mixture to taste. May be frozen raw or cooked.
Fluids are an essential part of any diet. They allow you to stay hydrated and help your kidneys function. As a general guide, you should aim for at least eight to twelve glasses (2–3 litres) of fluid per day. The quantity of fluid you need may vary depending on your type of treatment. Your doctor or dietitian will give you guidelines about how much fluid you should drink per day.
As well as drinking water you can get fluid from soups, milkshakes or smoothies, fruit juices, fruit or ice cubes. For more information speak to your dietitian.
Nourishing drinks are drinks high in protein, energy, vitamins and minerals. These fluids include ready–to–drink commercial supplements, as well as nourishing drinks you can make at home. Use these drinks when:
These drinks can be used to replace fluids such as water, tea, coffee, bonox, soft drinks and cordials, which are generally a poor source of nutrients. Milk is a common base for nourishing drinks, as it's a high protein and energy fluid itself. Full cream milk has more energy than low fat milk and so is preferable to use at this time.
If you're lactose intolerant, then milk may give you diarrhoea. Lactose intolerance may also occur as a result of some types of cancer treatment. In this situation ordinary milk can be substituted with low lactose milks. Speak to your dietitian who can advise you about what lactose-free supplements are available, and for advice about making alternative recipes.
Place all ingredients in a blender or milkshake maker and blend until smooth. Serve chilled.
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
Thoroughly mix ingredients until powder is blended. Enriched milk can be used on its own or in milkshakes, smoothies, soups, cereal and desserts.
Blend ingredients together.
Soups can be easy to eat, easy to digest and nourishing. Clear soups may stimulate the appetite and can provide extra fluid but be careful not to include clear soups in the diet on a regular basis as these will provide extra fluid but little nourishment (i.e. protein or energy). Be sure to add meat, legumes, cereals (rice, pasta, noodles) and cream, butter, margarine and oil to boost energy and/or protein content. Try adding nutmeg, ground cumin or curry powder to vary the taste of soups.
Soup can be pureed or blended for people not able to swallow pieces of food, or strained and only the broth served. Thicker soups can be made with added puréed vegetables, cream, egg yolk, fortified milk or arrowroot. If a puréed soup is too thick add a little more milk.
Debone if necessary, remove fat and cut meat into small pieces. Soak meat and bones in cold water for ½ hour. Then bring slowly to the boil. Wash cereal and add as soon as soup is boiling. Simmer for 1 hour. Prepare and dice vegetables into small pieces. Add and simmer for ½ hour before serving. Remove bones and season to taste.
Cook leek in a large saucepan with oil until soft. Add cumin seeds and cook for a further two minutes. Add potato and stock to the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 25–30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in the cream and serve.
Melt margarine and sauté vegetables for 5 minutes. Add flour and stir. Add crumbled stock cubes, water, tomato paste and butter beans. Simmer until vegetables are tender. Blend the mixture in a blender or food processor until smooth. Stir in milk and cream. Add in rice and heat for 15–20 minutes until rice is cooked.
Marinating helps to tenderise, add flavour or change the taste of meat or tofu. The following marinades are enough for four serves of beef, pork, chicken, lamb or tofu. For best results, marinate the meat or tofu in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight. Drain the marinades before cooking to prevent stewing and splattering. When using a marinade that contains honey or sugar, cook the meat on a lower heat than usual to stop the marinade charring.