When you’re having a COPD exacerbation, you may find it hard to cook the way you usually do – or at all – or you might not have much of an appetite. It’s important to eat healthy nevertheless. The trick is to plan your meals to minimize your symptoms, and prepare nutritious food without exhausting yourself.
Eating When Short of Breath
To avoid contributing to shortness of breath, modify your food intake so that you don’t add any pressure on your lungs from an over-full stomach. Eat five or six small meals or snacks throughout the day instead of three bigger meals.
Sit upright to eat, choose foods that are easy to chew, and avoid foods that can cause gas or bloating.
If you are prescribed oxygen, use it while eating.
Don’t lie down right after a meal.
Preparing Meals When Fatigued
Rest up before cooking a meal, and choose dishes that are quick and easy to prepare. Sit down while washing, chopping, and cooking if you can. Be sure you’re eating highly nutritious food, especially in the morning, to help maintain energy throughout the day.
If you’re really fatigued, don’t try to be a hero or give up on having a healthy meal. Ask family or friends to help you with cooking, if possible – or order a meal or two to be delivered. There are many local-restaurant delivery services you can access online. Grubhub.com is one example.
When You’re Feeling Better
Take advantage of your good days to cook foods that might be too much work on your down days – and prepare multiples of your recipes so you can freeze extra individual servings for the days when you don’t have the energy to cook.
More On Nutrition
For more information on COPD and nutrition, see an informative article by Eden Coleman, published on the COPD store.