Nutrition Tips for Managing Feeling Full Quickly

During cancer treatment, it can be common to feel full after eating a small amount of food, especially if you have had abdominal surgery. For some individuals this can cause weight loss. Not eating enough can also weaken the body and delay healing.  Below are some recommendations that may be helpful for managing your symptoms.

Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day.

  • Smaller meals are easier to digest and will allow you to better meet your needs throughout the day.
  • Keep healthy snacks on hand to eat between scheduled meals.

Avoid foods and actions that may cause gas or bloating.

  • High-fat foods take longer to digest. They can make you feel fuller between meals. Avoid fried or greasy foods.
  • Gas-forming foods include: broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, corn, turnips, onions, peas, garlic, cantaloupe, watermelon, apples, avocado, beans, lentils, and nuts.
  • Stop behaviors that involve swallowing extra air. Do not suck on ice or candy, chew gum, drink carbonated drinks, or drink through a straw.

Drink liquids between meals rather than during meals.

  • Drinking with your meals and snacks can fill you up more quickly.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks. Carbonated drinks can make you feel fuller.

Keep your head up after meals.

  • Lying down after meals will only make your discomfort worse.

If you are underweight or losing weight too quickly, choose foods that are rich in nutrients and calories.

  • Try to have a source of protein with each meal and snack. Some examples of protein-rich foods include eggs, chicken, fish, meat, milk, yogurt, cheese, beans, nuts, and peanut butter.
  • Add extra calories, protein, and healthy fats to foods you already eat to help prevent weight loss. Try adding olive oil, nuts, nut butters, seeds, non-fat powdered milk, or protein powder to recipes.
  • Drinking nutrient-rich liquids like smoothies or milkshakes can provide nutrition without making you feel full. Liquids leave the stomach more quickly than solid foods.
  • Ask a registered dietitian if drinking a liquid nutrition supplement is needed to provide necessary calories and protein. If needed, a specific liquid nutrition supplement can be recommended that meets your needs.

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