Nutrition Counseling

Being well-nourished with a healthy, balanced diet is vital to your recovery from cancer. Our Premier Health licensed clinical dietitians will help you with individualized meal planning and solutions to loss of appetite, differences in taste, and nausea that may occur during treatment. We’ll work with you both in and out of the hospital.

If you are interested, we also offer you resources for home-delivered meals based on your dietitian’s recommendations.

Here are key ways in which our dietitians offer nutrition counseling throughout you cancer treatment and recovery:

Develop personalized nutrition care plans. First, our dietitians evaluate your current diet. We identify nutritional deficits, then create a plan to fill the gaps and provide the full range of nutrients required for your good health and a strong immune system. 

Each type of cancer and cancer treatment requires different diet modifications. For instance, some cancers feed on sugar. Head and neck cancers may hinder chewing ability, requiring alternatives such as liquid diets and tube feeding to assure adequate nutrition. 

We’ll customize a plan to help you be well-nourished.

Solve dietary challenges. Cancer and cancer treatments affect what you taste and smell, your appetite, and your ability to eat enough food and absorb enough nutrients to maximize your health. We identify ways to work around these and other challenges, including: 

  • Finding nutritious foods that agree with your sense of taste if it’s been altered by chemotherapy. You may find yourself liking things you formerly didn’t or disliking other foods you once liked.
  • Offering smaller portions, if chemotherapy causes nausea. It may be easier to start with a small dish than a whole plate of food.
  • Providing a wide range of creative solutions to help you get the nutrition you need despite the side effects of cancer and treatment. For example, we may offer you oral supplements, homemade milkshakes, fruit smoothies, protein powders added to drinks, clear liquid supplements frozen into ice cubes, or popsicles. 
  • Managing complicated dietary needs if you have pre-existing chronic conditions, such as diabetes. If you have diabetes, you may need a special dietary plan to promote healing of cancer surgery incisions. 
  • Addressing your nutritional needs if you continue working while receiving cancer treatment. It may be harder to eat throughout the day if you are working, especially if you’re feeling nauseated or dizzy, or if you have a sore mouth. Receiving nighttime tube feedings may be one solution.

Educate patients and families about good nutrition and food safety. If you tend to live on fast food, we’ll recommend that you make adjustments for a more nutritious diet.

Cancer weakens the immune system, increasing your risk of food poisoning. Small things like leaving food sitting out at a picnic for four hours can seriously compromise a person whose immune system isn’t strong.

Counsel family caregivers. We welcome the chance to communicate with family caregivers, who play an essential role in cancer care. We encourage you to bring a loved one to treatment and nutrition counseling sessions. You may be feeling weak and tired from your illness and chemotherapy, and a family caregiver may be better able to follow health care providers’ instructions, and take notes. 

Plus, your caregivers are likely the ones who are buying groceries, preparing and serving food, and encouraging you to eat. Your caregivers help carry out the nutrition care plan developed by your dietitians. You need a support system when you’re too tired to eat. Even if you live alone, it helps to have someone come over and eat with you.

Contact Us

Our cancer team is here for you. Our cancer specialists have access to nationally recognized cancer care protocols and best practices, since Premier Health is a certified member of MD Anderson Cancer Network®, a program of MD Anderson Cancer Center. Our patients benefit from advanced local care backed by the world-renowned expertise of the nation’s leading cancer center. 

Call the Premier Health cancer hotline at (844) 316-HOPE(844) 316-4673 (4673), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to connect with a Premier Health cancer navigator.