Appetite Changes

Two common changes during chemotherapy are feeling less hungry and finding that some foods may taste differently.

  • Eat well to help your body stay strong.
  • Notify your TCI care provider if you lose weight.

Try these tips to make eating easier:

Set meal times and routines.

  • Eat a little even if you’re not hungry.
  • It may help to eat five or six small meals each day, instead of three large meals.
  • Try new foods to keep up your interest in food.
  • Eat with family or friends, or watch television while you eat.
  • Choose healthy foods, like those listed in the table.
  • Ask your TCI care provider about seasonings that may help some foods taste better.
  • If food tastes like metal, eat with plastic forks or spoons.

Be active.

  • Being active may help you feel more hungry.
  • Take a short walk each day.
  • Talk with your physician or nurse about exercise that can help you.

Drink liquids.

  • Getting enough to drink is important, but don’t fill up on liquids during meals.
  • Drink milkshakes or soups that are easy to swallow.
  • Keep track of how much you eat and drink each day. Then talk with your care provider to make sure that you are eating and drinking enough.

Questions to ask your TCI care team:

  1. What problems should I call you about?
  2. What foods should I eat?
  3. Are there high-protein drinks or vitamins that can help me?
  4. How much water, or other liquids, should I drink each day? 

Keep this list on your refrigerator.

Eat more of these foods and drinks that are high in calories and protein.

SOUPS
Cream soups Soups with lentils or beans (such as black, kidney, pinto or red)

DRINKS
Some instant breakfast drinks Milkshakes Fruit smoothies Whole milk

MAIN MEALS & SNACKS
Chicken Lentils or beans (such as black, kidney, pinto, or red) Eggs Nuts, seeds, and wheat germ 

SWEETS
Custard Ice cream Muffins Pudding Yogurt (plain or vanilla)

EXTRAS
Butter, margarine, or oil added to foods Cottage cheese, cream cheese, and sour cream Some liquid meal replacements Peanut butter Powdered milk added to foods

Ask your TCI care provider what foods and drinks are best for you. 

“Many days I’m just not hungry. I find it easier to eat small meals. My nurse told me about foods that can help me keep up my strength.”