Nutrition Management of Esophageal Cancer:
This section provides nutrition guidance Before Treatment and After Treatment.
Nutrition DURING Treatment
Some patients also describe early satiety which is a feeling of fullness after a small amount of food.
When rapid or significant weight loss has occurred, it is important to make more of an effort to consume foods that are high in nutrient density. The priorities when attempting to regain lost weight or maintain weight are calories and protein.
High Calorie | High Protein
Some foods that are high in calories and protein include the following:
- Peanut butter
- Almond butter
- Flavored yogurt
- Smoothies with protein powder
- Premium ice cream
- Chocolate candy with lots of nuts
Easy Swallow Foods
Ideas for moist calorie and protein-rich foods include:
- Ground meat with gravy
- Stew or soup with chopped or ground meat added
- Tuna salad
- Egg salad
- Pasta with cheese sauce
- Pasta with meat sauce
- Meatloaf with gravy
- Scrambled eggs
Ideas for small meals or snacks that are high in calories include:
- Toast with butter and peanut butter
- Dried fruits and nuts
- Cereal with banana and whole milk
- Hummus and crackers
- Cheese and crackers
- Cream soup with ½ turkey sandwich
- Cookies and whole milk
- Greek-style yogurt with fruit and granola
- Try to eat small frequent meals and snacks every few hours instead of 2 or 3 large meals per day.
- Keep snacks visible, convenient and handy.
- Avoid carbonated beverages and high fiber/low calorie foods.
- Drink beverages after or between meals and snacks.
- Eat while watching TV or reading – we tend to eat more when distracted
- Add butter, margarine or oil to you food whenever practical
- Use whole milk or cream in recipes like oatmeal or pudding
Nutrition AFTER Surgery
Think Smaller. It may help to serve your meals on a salad plate to get used to eating small amounts. To avoid filling up too fast, drink fluids in between meals, instead of with meals or snacks. Eating more than your “new stomach” is ready to handle may lead to discomfort and regurgitation of food or liquid. Sitting in an upright position for 30 – 45 minutes after a meal or snack can also help with prevention of reflux or back up of stomach contents. Most patients also benefit from antacid therapy after surgery if reflux is a problem. If this is bothersome to you, be sure to discuss it with your doctor.
Many people who lose a significant amount of weight before surgery may find it difficult to return to their pre-illness weight, however, they do reach a new stable and comfortable weight. This is fine as long as you are feeling well and your quality of life is acceptable to you. If you are still feeling fatigued and cannot do your usual activities after you have healed from surgery, you may still need supplemental feedings with the jejunostomy tube to achieve a comfortable and “healthy” weight.
Written By: Kathryn A. Allen, MA, RD, CSO