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15 Tips to Make Eating During the Holidays and Cancer Treatment Less Stressful

The holidays are a hopeful time – full of anticipation, food, festivity, and time with loved ones. Most holiday celebrations include food, but during cancer treatment, finding something you can tolerate to eat can be difficult. Here are 15 helpful food tips to make the holidays less stressful.

  1. Let people know how you feel. If you are not up for your routine celebration, speak up. Friends and family will understand if you normally have the holidays at your house but don’t feel like hosting this year.
  2. Be specific. Let people know what dishes you can tolerate. They will, no doubt, be willing to make something you can eat.
  3. If you do not feel like cooking, don’t. Bring drinks, napkins, plates, plastic silverware, etc. Hosts always need these items at holiday parties.
  4. Keep your eyes open. As dishes are brought in to gatherings, keep an eye out for those that appeal to you.
  5. Be prepared. Bring snacks with you in case there is nothing you can eat at the party. Good items to pack include crackers, granola bars, and nuts.
  6. Be aware of germs. Because your resistance to illness may be low, choose foods that look the least touched. Feel free to ask to go through the buffet first in order to avoid picked-over and touched food. Also, wash your hands frequently, especially when you’re in close contact with others.
  7. Start small. Eat small portions and see how you handle them, then go back for more. Do not overdo eating early and then feel bad during the rest of the gathering.
  8. Take advantage. Potlucks can offer many different options. If you are up for it, try something you’ve not been able to eat in a while.
  9. Beware of heavy smells. If the smell of food is upsetting your stomach, snack on some crackers and a ginger ale outside in the fresh air for a few minutes. You can also chew mint gum or sip a hot beverage like cider to distract your senses.
  10. Avoid rich foods. Cream sauces, gravy, and mayonnaise are heavy and may upset your stomach.
  11. Choose basic items. Look for baked and steamed dishes. Usually, turkey, roasted potatoes, bread, green beans, noodles, and rice are safe choices.
  12. Be careful of food safety and food borne illnesses. Eat hot foods while they are still warm and avoid snacking on them after they have been sitting out at room temperature. Snacks that can safely sit out for a while are crackers, snack mixes, hard cheeses, veggie trays, chips and salsa, mixed nuts, cookies, cakes, and breads.
  13. Be proactive. Place hand sanitizer at the beginning of the buffet line for people to use.
  14. Be positive. Begin your day with as positive an attitude as possible and look for the bright spots!
  15. Enjoy the season. With careful planning and preparation, you can create an enjoyable and less stressful holiday season with your friends and family.