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Fatigue

Fatigue is a common side effect of cancer and cancer treatments. People explain fatigue as being weak and tired. If you are fatigued you may have troubles preparing and eating nutritious meals.

  • Keep a diary of your fatigue. Are there particular activities that make you more fatigued? When you become fatigued, how long does it last? Are there certain times of the day that you are more fatigued?
  • Stock your pantry and freezer with easy-to-prepare and easy-to-eat foods such as cooked eggs, dairy foods, fruits, vegetables, canned soups, canned beans, hot/cold cereals, frozen entrees, potatoes, pretzels, trail mix, dried fruit, pudding and bakery items.
  • Before you start any cancer treatments, prepare single-sized portions of food and freeze for a later time.
  • Ask friends and family to grocery shop or prepare meals as needed.
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals and snacks that consist of your favorite foods and beverages.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Avoid high sugar foods. Meals and snacks should include a good source of protein, healthy fat and fiber. This will help keep blood sugars stable, which will help you feel more energized. For an example, have apple slices and peanut butter or have Greek yogurt with walnuts.
  • Incorporate nutrition supplements between meals as snacks, such as Ensure®, Boost® or Carnation Instant Breakfast®.
  • Rest when you are feeling the worst.
  • If it is okay with your medical provider, be as active as possible when you are feeling well. Try to take a short walk each day.
  • Make sure you are getting plenty of sleep at night.

These suggestions are not meant to replace talking to your doctor and registered dietitian. For more information regarding fatigue, schedule an appointment with the Registered Dietitian at the UW Carbone Cancer Center by contacting Cancer Connect by calling (608) 265-1700.