During an infectious disease, such as with the corona virus, the body works hard to fight the infection. Your body uses more energy and muscle mass is broken down faster. The need for energy and nutrients is then great, while the intake of food can be less, for example due to a reduced appetite, nausea and / or shortness of breath. This weakens the body and can lead to malnutrition. Losing muscle mass has major consequences for health and self-reliance. In addition, this loss of muscle mass is difficult to recover and often results in a permanent deterioration of the condition. Dietary protein is an essential building block for muscles and the rest of the body. Therefore, ensure sufficient (protein-rich) nutrition and exercise, even during illness if possible.
That is why you were offered energy and protein-rich food in the hospital. In addition, the hostess of the department has offered you extra snacks and / or drinking food. Now that you have been released from hospital, an energy and protein rich diet remains important. When you are well, extra energy and protein is often no longer necessary.
Energy and protein rich food
Energy (calories) is the fuel for your body. Proteins are building materials for the body. They are necessary for building and maintaining muscles and cells. Proteins are mainly found in meat, fish, poultry, cheese, eggs, dairy products, bread and legumes. In case of illness and weight loss, extra protein is needed for recovery.
The following tips can help you eat an energy and protein diet:
- Eat small meals more often, spread the food throughout the day
- Use as many whole products as possible, such as whole yogurt, whole milk and full-fat cheese (48+)
- Use plenty of (cream) butter or margarine on bread
- Double top your bread, preferably with savory toppings such as cheese, meat products, fish and egg. You can also eat extra fillings “from the hand”
- Take a dairy product with every meal such as (whole) milk, buttermilk, chocolate milk, drinking yoghurt, yogurt, cottage cheese or custard
- Drink 1.5-2 liters per day. Coffee, tea, water and diet soft drinks do not provide energy and proteins. Prefer to use dairy products or possibly lemonade or fruit juice. Please note, in case of diabetes mellitus, sugary drinks such as soft drinks, lemonade and fruit juices are not recommended.
- Do not use stock or clear soup without meat or filling. This fills the stomach but has little nutritional value
- Take time to eat and eat slowly
Tips for specific complaints with corona
- Have small meals more often a day, try to have something every two hours
- Use light dishes so that eating and drinking takes as little strength as possible
- Make more use of soft and / or liquid food
- Cut the food into small pieces or puree it with the help of a food processor or hand blender
- Drink with a short straw if necessary
- Do not lie down immediately after a meal. Sit upright for 30-45 minutes after eating
- Eat small meals often throughout the day
- Do not skip meals, eating too little can cause nausea
- If you suffer from nausea in the morning, it may help to eat something before getting up
- Avoid the sight and strong smells of food
- Avoid foods that are too greasy, too hot and spicy
- Try to drink a cola (diet) that is not too cold
- Try to see if soft drinks and dairy products, such as tea with lemon, buttermilk, yogurt, or cottage cheese, work better than sweet milk products. Sour milk products give a less sticky feeling in the mouth
- Soy milk products also give a less sticky feeling in the mouth than cow’s milk products
- Regularly drink small sips of cold water with food or drink, also in between when using dairy products
- Slowly suck on a vitamin C tablet
- Remove tough mucus with a soft toothbrush or gauze
- Drink 2 to 2.5 liters of fluid. This means at least thirteen glasses or sixteen cups of liquid per day. Soup, custard, yogurt and the like also count. You can lose a lot of salts through diarrhea. Therefore, drink broth, for example, which can supplement the loss of salts
- Eat small meals throughout the day to minimize the stimulation of the gastrointestinal tract
- Sour milk products such as yogurt, buttermilk and cottage cheese are preferable to sweet milk products such as milk and custard. You can use the latter, but in limited quantities.
When the energy and protein intake is not sufficient or cannot be achieved with normal nutrition, drinking nutrition can be used. Drinking nutrition is available in different brands, flavors and shapes. The start of drinking nutrition will take place in consultation with the dietician.
Vitamins and minerals
If the nutritional intake has been reduced for several weeks, you will in most cases not get enough vitamins and minerals. To avoid a risk of deficiency, you can take a multivitamin supplement with 50-100% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). You can continue to take the supplement until you have recovered or the jar is empty. If you use liquid nutrition, you will receive extra vitamins and minerals, and an additional supplement is not necessary.
Tracking your weight can help you determine if you are getting enough energy. You can monitor your weight by weighing once a week, preferably at the same time and without shoes. When your weight decreases, report this to your doctor or dietician.