Nourishing diet and food fortification [7:03]

Nourishing diet and food fortification video transcript


My name's Katie and I'm a dietitian from the Sir Charles Gardner Osborne Park Healthcare Group.

In this video I'm going to speak to you about a nourishing or high energy, high protein diet. Nutrition plays an important role during head and neck cancer treatment. Remaining well-nourished during your treatment can help you to maintain your weight and muscle, help you feel better and stronger, help keep your immune system strong, and help you to cope with some of the potential side effects of your treatment. During your head and neck cancer treatment we recommend that you follow a diet high in energy and high in protein. Energy refers to the calories or kilojoules in your food, and it is an important fuel source for your body. Different foods contain different amounts of energy, and it is helpful in maintaining your weight. Protein helps to maintain, restore, and build the muscle on your body. It's also an important fuel source for the body.

High protein foods include eggs, meat, fresh fish, tinned tuna and salmon, poultry, lentils and beans, nuts and seeds, dairy products such as cheese, yogurt and milk, and tofu. High energy foods include butter and margarine, vegetable oils, avocado, honey, jam, nuts and seeds including nut butters, mayonnaise, dairy products such as cheese, cream, milk and ice cream, and salad dressings.

If you find that you were starting to eat less at mealtimes, we would encourage you to try and eat more often throughout the day. Try and adopt a regular pattern of eating. Eating small frequent meals throughout the day. Try and make the most of each mouthful, eating foods that provide energy and protein. If you are not feeling hungry try and eat by the clock. No matter what time of the day, try and eat or drink something every two to three hours. Try to eat the protein component of your meal first and swap fluids such as tea, coffee and soft drink for fruit or milk-based beverages. If your appetite is poor, sometimes a nourishing drink may be easier to consume. We would also encourage you to pick full fat or full cream dairy products. Here are some ideas on how you can increase the protein and calories in your meals. Your dietitian can also provide specific recommendations based on your usual diet. High energy, high protein breakfast examples may include crumpets, pikelets, or pancakes topped with jam and cream, toast or bagels topped with cream cheese and avocado, baked beans on toast topped with cheese, soft cooked eggs, porridge made with milk or full cream, or softened cereal with milk, yogurt and fruit. High energy, high protein lunch and dinner examples include creamy soups topped with sour cream, scrambled eggs cooked in butter or margarine, or an omelette, baked potato with mayonnaise and tuna filling, sandwiches with tuna, chicken, egg and cheese filling, shepherds or cottage pie, pasta with a tomato and mince or cream-based sauce, or soft slow cooked meats with mashed potatoes, vegetables and gravy. High energy, high protein snack examples may include custard, or yogurt with tinned fruit, creamed rice, chocolate mousse, or dairy-based desserts, nourishing drinks such as Up & Go or flavoured milks, half or full sandwiches with filling, boiled eggs or crackers with cheese and dip.

Food fortification means increasing the protein and calories in your meals and fluids without necessarily increasing the volume or the size of your meal and fluid. By doing so, you are making the most of each mouthful when you do eat. Examples of food fortification include adding margarine, butter, or oil when cooking, adding cream, sour cream, or cheese before eating, and topping your meals with gravies and creamy sauces such as hollandaise. There are also products or nutrition formulas which can be added to your food to increase the calories and protein without necessarily changing the flavour. An example of this would be Sustagen Neutral which you can purchase from your local pharmacy. This can be added into foods such as soups, mashed vegetables, scrambled eggs, custard, yogurt and milk to make a nourishing drink. Another example of food fortification is using milk powder to make enriched milk. To make enriched milk, add one heaped tablespoon of full cream or skim milk powder to one cup or 250 ml of full cream milk or milk of your choice. To make a larger batch add four tablespoons of milk powder to one litre of milk. This can be used in homemade milkshake recipes for example adding it to fresh fruit, ice cream and yogurt, or flavouring of your choice. It may also be added on top of cereal or porridge. If you are struggling to eat and drink enough or if you lose weight during your treatment your dietitian may recommend that you include a nutrition supplement in your daily diet. There are nutrition formulas which can be purchased from your local pharmacy such as the Sustagen and Ensure powders. Your dietitian may also recommend a specialist nutritional supplement which can be accessed through your dietitian at the hospital.

Your dietitian will provide recommendations on how many nutrition supplements you should take each day. During your treatment you may become fatigued and may not feel up to cooking. In that case you may opt for easy to prepare meals such as tinned soups, frozen meals, tinned baked beans and spaghetti on toast, breakfast cereals, and dairy-based desserts. Your dietitian may also provide some recommendations for meal delivery services.

We hope you enjoyed this video. For more information on how to manage side effects during your treatment please see our other videos. If you would like further information on nutrition during your treatment, please ask to speak with your dietitian.

Last Updated: 04/04/2023