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Esophageal Cancer and Diet

  • Ask the Nutritionist

    Q: I have just been diagnosed with esophageal cancer and wanted to know what the best diet would be. Any suggestions to gain/maintain weight as I go through chemotherapy?

    DC, September, 2016

    A: For esophageal cancer, eating soft foods is recommended. Using sauces is a good way to moisten food to make meals easier to eat, as well as add calories to help you gain weight. Try adding higher calorie foods and sauces to your meals and snacks. For example, adding melted shredded cheese and mashed avocado to scrambled eggs for breakfast is a tasty way to add calories, healthy fats, and protein to your diet. In porridge, try adding coconut oil, whole milk, or peanut butter to add flavor and extra nutrition. Avoid eating tough meats and soft doughy breads, as these tend to be harder to swallow.

    For vegetables, slowly simmer them in low heat for a longer time to soften them. Add olive or canola oil for extra calories. Avoid eating most raw fruits, however baking fruit with spices like cinnamon and cardamom is a great way to eat soft fruit. For a healthy snack or dessert with added calories, try adding ricotta or cottage cheese to a bowl of baked fruit.

    When cooking lean meats, simmer them slowly so that it gets nice and soft. Adding gravies or sauces is also a great way to add calories and moisten meat. Well-cooked pasta is another great soft and versatile food. Try adding cheesy sauces or pesto to add calories. Pureed butternut squash with a little added cream for flavor is a delicious pasta option with added calories. Topping a pasta with a poached egg and soft vegetables is another way to add nutrition to a dish. Creamy soups are another food that can help you gain weight. Try this delicious creamy tomato soup, roasted sweet potato and chipotle soup, or seafood bisque.

    It is important to snack throughout to day to help you gain and maintain weight. For snacks, smoothies are a good option to sip on. You can add protein powders or nut butters to help add calories and nutrition. Enjoy an avocado berry smoothie or chocolate peanut butter and banana shake. Yogurt is another healthful snack, as well as soft cooked veggies with hummus.

  • Ask the Nutritionist
  • Esophageal Cancer
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