I have just been started on a steroid for the next 2-4 weeks and I've been told that a common side effect is a large increase in appetite. I was wondering if you had any food ideas that I could stock up on in case I get this side effect. I have to take it for chest pain and inflammation around my heart and I am afraid that I will gain a lot of weight during this time. Thanks.

I recently was on steroids also for 1 week. I did notice a bit of increased appetite and I found myself having an increased sensation of craving sweets. I would prepare yourself for being hungrier when you start your steroids and plan ahead to help keep you on the healthy eating track. If you already know you have a “weak” spot with various foods (chocolate, salty chips, etc.) I would try not to keep too many of them around the house. Stock up on lower calorie foods and foods filled with fiber like fruits and vegetables (fresh, frozen or canned) and make sure you have an idea of how you would eat them. For example, purchase baby carrots and dip them in hummus. Create a healthy and colorful stir fry with frozen vegetables, a little light soy sauce and olive oil. Snack on fruit or combine frozen fruit, low fat yogurt and low sugar juice (Healthy Balance) in the blender for a great smoothie.

Stock up on high protein foods also! I am not sure if you like eggs, but hard boiled eggs make a great snack. Personally (and yes…may sound weird) I eat cottage cheese for breakfast every day and sometimes I will grill up a few chicken breasts and snack on one of them when I get home from work (I take a 50 calorie whole wheat wrap and cut up the chicken and put a little low fat ranch dressing on it).

Rice cakes are great too and there are Special K low calorie chips that you can eat a LOT of for little calories. I would also want you to evaluate your liquid calorie intake. What do you drink throughout the day? As a culture, we consume far too many calories from our liquid choices each day. Many people choose fancy coffee drinks from popular establishments and these can contain ~500+ calories per drink! Aim to take in more water and if you are not a water fan I suggest a low sugar juice like Healthy Balance. There are only ~29 calories per serving so you can consume a few glasses a day for little calories. Other ideas could be flavor packets to add to water and to dilute juices with water or club soda. Good luck!!

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