I’ve been doing some research into dietary needs for chemo patients. I’ve come across some very interesting info on higher protein food needs.

Protein-Rich Foods for Chemo

Of course, I’m going to share them with you! I thought it was interesting that chemo patients need more protein. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to have a steak at every meal.

I thought this article was interesting. Here’s the important part:

“Why protein is important
Protein is very important to keep your body functioning and is also needed for growth and repair. Protein is found in almost all body cells and has many roles such as:

To form and maintain muscles, tissues, red blood cells, enzymes, and hormones
To carry many body compounds and medications
To maintain fluid balance
To fight infections and strengthen the immune system

In general, your diet will provide enough protein. However, during cancer treatment (such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy) your protein requirements may increase. It is important to be aware of food sources of protein and to include these foods at meals and snacks.”

How to determine the amount of protein you need:

Take your weight (in pounds) and divide by 2
The number you get is the approximate number of grams of protein you need daily
For example: If you weigh 180 pounds, 180 ÷ 2 = 90 grams of protein daily

My experience.

Last time I had treatment, I focused on getting more protein into my daily diet. I usually have a “crash day” after I get off of the dexamethasone I take after treatment. This time, I didn’t have such a big crash (I usually get EXTREME fatigue on that day). It may have to do with the protein I focused on, since that was the only thing I changed. Your mileage may vary, but that was my experience.

So just tell me what to eat!

So, what can you eat that has higher protein. Turns out, a lot! I’m focusing mostly on plant-based, vegetarian, and seafood sources, but meat is always an option (just not something I can easily digest right now).

I wrote up a high protein recipe roundup over on my food site, Spoon And Saucer, so take a look at that for some delicious recipes. If you’re just looking for some simple food suggestions, here’s a list of foods to get you started:

High Protein Snacks & Light Meals:

Peanut or almond butter – on toast, crackers or apple slices
Yogurt – mix with fruit, granola or chopped nuts
Salmon – lox or smoked
Hummus (this is my recipe)
Cottage cheese
Nuts and seeds – almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds
Smoothies or shakes – with added protein like peanut butter or protein powder
Granola (my recipe) with yogurt
Eggs – hard boiled or scrambled
Beans and lentils – a bean soup, dip (like hummus), salad, bean burrito, or baked beans
Red beans and rice
Trail mix – loaded with nuts and seeds
Vegetarian burgers – look at the package for the protein count, I like 10g+
Tuna – on crackers or made into a tuna salad (my recipe)
Salmon – We like ours cooked with pesto
Meat – Ok, I will put this in here, as we do eat meat on occasion

Another tool:

In case you’d like to find out what a recipe contains nutritionally, I found this calculator you can use.

Want to learn more? Here’s some more articles you can dig into on this subject.

More Reading: Here are some articles I found on the subject, if you are so inclined.

All About the Protein Foods Group – from the government’s Choose My Plate site

Move Over Meat! Here’s 18 Sources of Protein from Plants: I’m looking for more plant-based protein, as they are easier for me to digest.

Increasing Protein: Good list of proteins outside meat (which I don’t eat a lot of, since it’s hard to digest)

All About Protein: An informative article from the Cancer Center site

High Protein Diets For Chemo Patients – from ChemoCare

Protein and Chemotheraphy – from LiveStrong

High Protein Diets for Chemo Patients – from ChemoCare.com

Eating for Chemo and Radiation – A good guide on what to eat from the Huffington Post

Protein Needs During Cancer Treatment: Where I got a lot of the information on this article. A good long list of protein-rich foods

Protein Pick-Me-Up: 10 Smart Ways to Get a Midday Boost – Some good tips and recipe links for protein-rich foods