I'd like to start carrying healthy snacks to my long infusion appointments. Any suggestions?
At my clinic, there's a snack cart loaded up with everything no one should eat-- chips, candy, and sodas. I started packing up my own. When you're neutropenic, remember to stay away from fresh foods, including produce. Your packaged items are best (like numbers one thru six on the list). My ten favorites are:
- Packaged nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, cashews, sunflower seeds, and macadamias are my favorites. I buy the unsalted varieties.
- Dried fruit, like cranberries or bananas with no sugar added.
- Snack bars, but only the organic kind that aren't sweetened with sugar or any sugar substitutes, like sucralose or aspartame. Be careful when buying! Many "healthy" granola bars aren't much different than eating a Snickers!
- Popcorn-- but I make my own at home with just a little butter and a dash of sea salt.
- Chocolate: A little dark chocolate is just what the doctor ordered because it's healthy for you. Not only is it an antioxidant, but it has cancer fighting properties, too.
- Water: Consider buying high quality water with electrolytes.
- Cheese: This can be controversial because some nutritionists frown on dairy, but I like string cheese and Baby Bel. Super easy to take on the run.
- Trail mix: Consider making your own to include much of what is listed above, like nuts, seeds, dark chocolate, and organic granola.
- Fruit: I go to Costco and buy the precut organic apple slices. It's so easy to grab a bag on my way out. I also love the mini oranges (clementines). They're so easy to peel and delicious.
- Veggies: Try organic prepackaged carrots or celery. So easy and travels well.
about the author
Lizzy Smith was diagnosed with myeloma in 2012 at age 44. Within days, she left her job, ended her marriage, moved, and entered treatment. "To the extent I'm able, I want to prove that despite life's biggest challenges, it is possible to survive and come out stronger than ever," she says.