Approaches to Healthy Weight Gain

Approaches to Healthy Weight Gain

By Leigh Anne Kamerman Burns, MS, LDN, RD

Even though weight loss is common for patients during cancer treatment it is important to try to make every attempt to prevent it. Patients with NETs have challenges since the foods usually recommended for other cancer patients can increase symptoms such as diarrhea, which can increase weight loss. When selecting meat or dairy, try to choose lower fat options like chicken, turkey and low-fat yogurt. Pancreatic enzymes may be prescribed to improve digestion so fats can be tolerated. Cooking foods to soft consistency may improve absorption; chopping or mashing can improve digestion and decrease malabsorption. It can be helpful to increase the frequency of meals.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • Combining protein and calorie-dense foods as snacks between meals can increase the amount of calories consumed daily.

  • Nutritional drinks contain high levels of nutrients which may be more easily absorbed. Look for options low in fat, with no sugar added, or targeting diabetic patients.

  • Adding low-fat dairy such as yogurt, American cheddar cheese, ricotta or cottage cheese to dishes can increase calories and protein.

It is easy to prepare a high protein entree and cold foods are great for the summertime. Try the recipes below for making Soft Scrambled Eggs and Macaroni and Chicken Salad.

Macaroni and Chicken Salad

Serves four, 4 oz servings (approximate)

  • 1 cup cooked macaroni

  • 1 cup chopped cooked chicken

  • 1/2 cup non-fat plain Greek yogurt

  • 1 chopped egg

  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil or herb of choice

  • 1 tablespoon chopped relish

  • 1 ounce low fat American or non-aged cheese, chopped

  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

  • A dash of pepper if tolerated


  1. Combine all ingredients

  2. Chill and serve

  3. Store in an airtight container

Soft Scrambled Eggs

Serves two


  • 2 eggs

  • 1/4 cup of butter

  • 1/4 cup of fill fat milk


  1. Add the butter and milk to a pot or pan and heat gently over low heat until the butter is melted (do not allow the milk to boil).

  2. Whisk the eggs and cream together and add the grated cheese.

  3. Slowly stir the egg mixture into the pot or pan.

  4. Cook for approximately 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.