Eating for Recovery: Nourishing Your Body After Cancer

The journey after a cancer diagnosis can feel like charting a new map, with twists and turns you never anticipated. One crucial aspect of finding your footing again is reclaiming your energy and strength through food. Nourishing your body with the proper fuel can be life-changing, but the path forward isn’t always clear. You might face fatigue, side effects that impact your appetite, or just plain uncertainty about what’s best for your body.

At Survivor Fitness, we understand these challenges. Through our partnerships with incredible registered dietitians and nutrition specialists, we’ve seen the tremendous power of personalized nutrition as part of a holistic approach to recovery after cancer treatment. In this post, we’ll share some tips and hacks that have helped our participants thrive.

Nutritional Tips for Your Post-Cancer Journey: Find What Works for YOU

In the realm of post-cancer recovery and wellness, it’s essential to remember that nutrition is not a rigid set of rules but rather a new perspective. While general guidelines provide a foundation, there’s no singular “perfect” way to nourish your body. 

As one of our partners, Jill Merkel, shared, “There’s so much misinformation and confusion about what to eat or not eat with a cancer diagnosis that people are afraid to eat. Helping participants to realize that there’s no perfect way of eating and helping them find what is right for them is my main goal.” 

Make Small, Sustainable Changes

Drastic dietary overhauls might feel overwhelming, and often, tiny adjustments can lead to significant results. Allison Tallman, another one of our nutrition partners, describes it this way: “It’s better to make small changes one at a time rather than a lot of big changes all at once. This helps the changes you make actually stick.”

She encourages cancer survivors to make simple switches to their diet and celebrate each positive shift, no matter how small. 

Make Sure To Fuel Your Body

When you’re battling fatigue or nausea from treatment, skipping meals might seem tempting, but fueling your body is crucial for healing. Aim for three regular meals and two or three healthy snacks a day. Choose foods that are easy to digest and pack an energy punch, like whole grains, lean protein, and fruits and vegetables. Listen to your body’s hunger cues and prioritize nourishing yourself.

Prioritize Protein

Protein is the building block of your cells, tissues, and muscles. Adding the right amount of protein can help counteract the muscle loss from cancer treatment.  That’s why one of the first areas of focus for our partners is to make sure participants eat enough food and get enough protein in their diet. This can include protein sources like lean chicken or fish. You can also find a variety of non-meat sources of protein

Embrace Mindful Eating

In the hustle and bustle of life, it’s easy to rush through meals. Cultivate a habit of mindful eating, savoring each bite, and paying attention to hunger and fullness cues. This practice enhances digestion and fosters a deeper connection with your food.

Snack Smart

Stock your pantry with nutritious foods that are easy to grab and delicious. Some of the best options include trail mixes with dried fruit and nuts, Greek yogurt with berries, or mini bell peppers with hummus. Keep pre-cut vegetable sticks and slices and easy dips in the fridge for a quick and refreshing snack anytime.

Fuel your Body Before and After Exercise 

As you embark on your fitness journey post-cancer, the importance of fueling your body cannot be overstated. Prioritizing nutrition before and after workouts can enhance performance, aid recovery, and support overall well-being.

Spice Up Your Water 

Staying hydrated is an essential part of cancer recovery, but plain water can get a bit boring. Infuse your H2O with fruits, herbs, or vegetables to make it a tasty and hydrating treat. There are dozens of combinations you can choose from. Try cucumber and mint, watermelon and basil, or citrus slices for a refreshing twist. Bonus points for adding berries or ginger for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

From Surviving to Thriving: Embracing Nutrition’s Role in Recovery

Remember, your post-cancer journey is just as unique as your diagnosis and treatment. Your nutritional needs will evolve over time. Listen to your body, stay patient with yourself, and celebrate every small victory. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to seek professional guidance from a registered dietitian or nutritionist.

At Survivor Fitness, we believe in empowering you to take control of your recovery. We combine personalized training with expert nutritional support to help you build strength, regain energy, and rediscover the joy of movement. 

We’d encourage you to explore our website for additional resources and recipe ideas. You can also learn more about our program or contact our team to discover how to become a Survivor Fitness participant today.