Try These Tips to Help with Appetite During chemotherapy

Chemotherapy can affect how foods taste, but there are steps you can take to help.

Good nutrition is crucial during cancer treatment and recovery, yet not always easy to achieve. Appetite problems during chemotherapy are common, as a result of the way the treatment impacts how foods taste. Many people undergoing chemo treatment complain of a metallic aftertaste in foods, and this can even occur in plain water. When combined with another prevalent side effect of chemotherapy – nausea – sticking to a healthy diet can be a challenge.

Clinically known as dysgeusia, it’s a condition that affects as many as 65% of patients receiving chemotherapy, sometimes lasting for just a few days or even up to several months. Nutritionist Ginger Hultin, RDN, explains, “Taste changes can really turn people off to eating enough food. Patients can start losing weight and not get enough calories or protein, which are critical to support the body during treatment.” 

Thankfully, there are some helpful tips to make food more palatable to those experiencing dysgeusia:

  • Utilize plastic utensils, plates and cups
  • Season food with spices, herbs, citrus, salt or sugar 
  • Choose plant proteins instead of meat
  • Try frozen or chilled foods like smoothies 

To get you started, we have a delicious mango banana smoothie recipe you can try. Simply blend the ingredients below together until smooth, pour into a chilled glass, and garnish with cinnamon or cardamom.

  • 2 cups frozen mango chunks
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 1 cup non-dairy unsweetened plain yogurt
  • 2 cups unsweetened coconut or soy milk
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. ground turmeric root

Partner with Hired Hands Homecare, the top provider of senior care in Santa Rosa, CA and the neighboring areas, for help with planning and preparing nutritious meals for yourself or a loved one struggling with appetite problems during chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer or any other condition. Our caregivers will even clean up the kitchen afterwards! 

Other ways we can help older adults enjoy a better quality of life at home include:

  • Friendly companionship to brighten each day through conversations and fun activities
  • Light housekeeping and laundry
  • Assistance with personal hygiene needs, such as taking baths or showers and getting dressed
  • Running errands, like picking up groceries and prescriptions
  • Transportation to medical appointments and procedures as well as enjoyable outings
  • Specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia
  • Professional care management
  • Compassionate hospice care and support
  • And so much more

Contact us at (866) 940-4343 for more information or to arrange for a free in-home consultation to get started on our award-winning in-home care services.

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