Handling Eating Problems

I don't feel like eating

  • Eat more when you feel most hungry
  • Eat several small meals each day rather than three large ones
  • Keep a supply of yogurt, ice cream, cheese and other high-calorie, high-protein snacks that appeal to you within easy reach
  • Eat in relaxing and enjoyable surroundings
  • Make your food look as attractive as possible—a little parsley, lemon wedge or tomato can brighten your plate and may tempt your appetite

When I try to eat, I feel sick

  • Sip fluids frequently between meals and try to drink fluids that contain calories each day
  • Chilled or frozen fluids are often easier to keep down
  • Avoid greasy, fatty, or fried foods
  • Let your healthcare team know if you can’t keep food down; there are a number of antinausea treatments available

My mouth/throat is sore

  • If you can’t eat much, try to eat moist to pureed foods rich in calories and protein (fish, meat, nuts, yogurt, puddings, creamy soups, cheese, milk)
  • Try introducing solid foods gradually, after starting with high-calorie fluids
  • Avoid salty/spicy foods that may irritate your mouth
  • Try sucking on ice or popsicles prior to eating
  • Your healthcare team can give you advice on mouth and throat problems and may be able to give you medication to help

My treatment leaves me with a dry mouth

  • Carry your favorite calorie-containing drink around with you 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
  • Your nurse or doctor may be able to recommend a lip balm to keep your lips moist

Food tastes different to me since I started my treatment

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