Ways to Help Manage Eating Problems

Prosure Manage Eating Problems

When Appetite is Lost

  • Offer several small meals each day rather than 3 large ones. Keep a supply of yogurt, ice cream, cheese and other high-calorie, high-protein, appealing snacks within easy reach.
  • Create relaxing and enjoyable surroundings at meal times.
  • Make food look as attractive as possible – a little parsley, lemon wedge or tomato can brighten your plate and may tempt appetite.

When Feeling Sick

  • Suggest sipping fluids frequently between meals and offer drinks that contain calories each day. Chilled or frozen fluids are often easier to keep down.
  • Limit serving greasy, fatty or fried foods.
  • Suggest letting the healthcare team know if the patient can’t keep food down; there are a number of anti-nausea treatments available.

When Experiencing Sore Throat/Mouth

  • Try offering moist and pureed foods rich in calories and protein like fish, meat, yogurt, puddings, creamy soups, cheese and milk.
  • Offer high-calorie fluids such as milkshakes, fruit juices, smoothies or cream soups.
  • Avoid salty or spicy foods that may irritate the mouth.
  • Try offering flavored ice or Popsicles prior to eating.
  • The healthcare team can provide advice on mouth and throat problems and may be able to provide medication to help.

When Experiencing Dry Mouth

  • Suggest carrying a favorite calorie-containing drink around in a water bottle.
  • Use lots of fluids with meals to help keep food moist.
  • Keep gravies and sauces available to add to food to increase moisture.
  • A nurse or doctor may be able to recommend a lip balm to keep lips moist.

When Experiencing Food Taste Changes

  • Many people with cancer find that the taste of food changes, which may be temporary. Offer a variety of foods on a regular basis and he or she may find new favorites.
  • Try new herbs and spices to season food.
  • If some drinks taste too strong or sweet, try watering them down or adding milk.
  • Some people find cold or cool-temperature foods tastier than hot foods.

When Experiencing Constipation

  • Offer plenty of fluids.
  • Suggest increasing physical activity as tolerated.
  • Gradually introduce high-fiber foods into the diet, such as raw fruits and vegetables, whole grain foods and legumes.

When Experiencing Diarrhea

  • Limit high-fat and greasy foods.
  • Limit caffeine-containing food, such as chocolate and coffee.
  • Offer small amounts of foods and liquids throughout the day.