When's the White Stuff OK?

During the Lung Cancer Forum at Dana-Farber this past weekend, a few of the incredibly lovely attendees had a similar question.  "If maintaining our weight and preventing weight loss is critical, but we're supposed to avoid sugary/processed foods (which tend to be the easiest way to get calories) what the heck are we supposed to eat?!"  

Great question.

Let's say you're struggling to maintain your weight during treatment and you're experiencing side-effects such as taste aversions or loss of appetite.  And, let's say the only thing that sounds remotely appealing to you is a piece of carrot cake or that oatmeal raisin cookie.  Please.  Eat it.  You need to choose your battles wisely.  Right now is not the time to analyze the nutrient content of every morsel that passes your lips.  It is time to provide your body with energy to sustain you and prevent weight loss.

That doesn't mean we have to totally throw in the towel and buy stock in Ben and Jerry's.  Consider finding ways to have your cake and eat it too.  In other words, have foods that are calorically dense, are pleasing to your palate, AND are nutrient dense as well.  

One way to do this is to modify your sweet treats so that they elicit a smaller rise in blood sugar and a smaller surge of insulin.  Let's take that carrot cake.  A few ideas include adding some finely chopped walnuts on top and/or accompanying it with a glass of fortified milk (4 to 1 ratio of milk [cow's, almond, soy] to nonfat instant dry milk, blended).  Result?  Smaller insulin surge while providing nutrients and calories to maintain lean muscle mass and weight.  

Have milkshakes on the mind?  Easy.  Let's blend 1 cup 2% milk with 1/3 c nonfat instant dry milk or 1 scoop protein powder.  Then blend in 1 small ripe banana (sliced, frozen), 2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter, 1/4 ripe avocado, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and stevia or agave to taste.

Nutrition: 563 calories, 25 grams of heart-healthy fat, 57 grams of carbohydrate, 7.6 grams of fiber, 24 grams of protein

Other ways to add nutrient density to your foods/sweets include adding 1 Tbsp canola or coconut oil to milkshakes, adding ground flaxseed or chiaseeds on top of ice cream, and adding a scoop of protein powder to pudding mix before blending in the milk.  

I always love hearing from you.  Shoot me an email with your questions or comments! 

Fuel Well!