NUTRITIONAL HELP for cancer-related appetite loss

Nutrition is essential and helps keep your strength up during treatment.

However, your drive to eat may be derailed during cancer treatment if you experience a loss of appetite. The information below may offer information to help you navigate appetite loss during cancer treatment to keep your weight and nutritional status on track.

Tips for managing nutritional needs when you experience loss of appetite:

  • Eat 5-6 small meals or healthy snacks a day
  • Drink milkshakes, smoothies, or soups if you do not feel like eating solid foods.
  • Prepare and store small portions of your favorite foods.
  • Ask a family member or friend to prepare snacks and meals to have on hand.
  • Seek foods that appeal to the sense of smell.
  • Experiment with different foods.
  • Sip only small amounts of liquids during meals.
  • Be as active as possible to help develop a bigger appetite.
  • Tell your doctor if you are having eating problems such as nausea or vomiting. Your nurse or registered dietitian may be able to help too.
  • Eat foods that are high in protein and calories.
  • Eat high-protein foods first in your meal while your appetite is strongest—foods such as beans, chicken, fish, meat, yogurt, and eggs.
  • Add extra protein and calories to food. Cook with milk, which is a good source of protein.
  • Eat larger meals when you feel well and are rested.
  • Eat your largest meal when you feel hungriest, whether at breakfast, lunch, or dinner.