Managing Eating Problems During Cancer Treatment: Loss of Appetite or Weight
Loss of appetite is a common side effect of cancer and its treatment. It can be due to depression, pain, loss of smell and/or taste, difficulty swallowing, or an early feeling of fullness. Most causes of loss of appetite resolve with time.
- Eat any time there is an urge to eat.
- Add butter, whole milk, and cheese sauces to appropriate food.
- Eat small amounts of a favorite food every 2 hours.
- Drink beverages between meals rather than with meals.
- Exercise lightly to stimulate the appetite. Talk with your doctor first.
- Keep nutritious snacks available (yogurt, cheese or peanut butter and crackers, hard cooked eggs).
- Add dry milk powder to foods such as cream soup and mashed potatoes.
- Enjoy meals in a pleasant atmosphere with soft music and a pretty table setting.
- Try special occasion foods without the special occasion.
- Skip traditional foods at specific meals and eat whatever sounds good at the time.
- Use plates.
- Carry portable snack foods.
- Choose easy to chew foods, such as applesauce, pudding or yogurt.
- Eat what is appealing rather than what is healthy.
Source: UI Cancer Information Service
Last Reviewed: March 2011