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Ask the Expert: Weight Control

Q: My husband is going through chemotherapy and is having trouble keeping on weight. What are some healthy, nutrient-dense snacks that may prevent him from losing weight?

A: Eating dried fruit, beans, and peas is a great way of getting in more calories without consuming too much fat. Nuts and seeds are also calorie-dense foods. These foods can supply a greater percentage of calorie and protein requirements. One easy way to eat these foods is to buy or make trail mix or granola.

You can also try making fruit smoothies or shakes with nondairy milk, fruit juice, tofu, and fresh fruit.

Other great-tasting, high calorie foods include: applesauce, rice pudding, and soy yogurt.

Here are some tasty smoothie recipes:

Green Goodie Smoothie

Makes 4 servings

1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup fortified vanilla soy- or other nondairy milk
10 frozen peach slices
1 banana
1/4 cup cherries or raspberries
2 teaspoons maple syrup (optional)
1 tablespoon spirulina
ice, as needed, to chill and thicken

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend at high speed until smooth, stopping the blender occasionally to move the unblended fruit to the center with a spatula.

Per serving (1/4 of recipe):
122 calories
1.2 g fat
0.2 g saturated fat
9% calories from fat
0 mg cholesterol

4.3 g protein
24.9 g carbohydrate
16.7 g sugar
2.3 g fiber

38 mg sodium
95 mg calcium
2.2 mg iron
46.6 mg vitamin C
2366 mcg beta-carotene
1.1 mg vitamin E

Mixed Berry Banana Smoothie

Makes 4 servings

1 banana
1 cup frozen mixed berries (raspberries, blueberries, strawberries)
1 cup fortified vanilla soy- or other nondairy milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)
2 tablespoons calcium-fortified orange juice concentrate

Place all ingredients in a blender. Blend at high speed until smooth, stopping the blender occasionally to move the unblended fruit to the center with a spatula.

Per serving (1/4 of recipe):
107 calories
1.4 g fat
0.2 g saturated fat
11.5% calories from fat
0 mg cholesterol

3.3 g protein
22.3 g carbohydrate
12.9 g sugar
3.7 g fiber

36 mg sodium
130 mg calcium
1 mg iron
33.1 mg vitamin C
24 mcg beta-carotene
1.3 mg vitamin E

Q: For an overweight breast cancer survivor, is it important to just focus on eating healthy, or is weight loss important too?

A: You’ll want to focus on both. Evidence suggests that you can improve your chances of surviving breast cancer and reduce recurrence by achieving a healthy weight once you are post-treatment. The best way to lose weight is to choose healthy, low-fat meals built from legumes, grains, vegetables, and fruit, and incorporate moderate physical activity into your lifestyle. Exercise helps, too. Of course, it's important to check with your doctor to get the green light on type and level of exercise you'd like to do. You'll feel better for it!

Rock CL, Demark-Wahnefried W. Nutrition and survival after the diagnosis of breast cancer: a review of the evidence. J Clin Oncol. 2002;20:3302-3316.

Cui X, Dai Q, Tseng M, Shu X, et al. Dietary Patterns and Breast Cancer Risk  in the Shanghai Breast Cancer Study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2007;16(7):1443-1448.



   

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