What can I do about loss of appetite from radiation treatment?

Here are some hints to help you, if you have lost your appetite during treatment.
  • Eat when you're hungry, even it it's not mealtime.
  • Eat smaller meals more often.
  • Keep non-sugary, nutritious snacks handy such as fresh or dried fruits and vegetables, cottage cheese, milk, and fruit juices.
  • Exercise for a few minutes about 30 minutes before a meal to make you hungrier.
  • Create a pleasant dining atmosphere by using soft light, quiet music or brightly-colored table accessories.
  • Vary your diet and try new recipes.
  • Eat with family and friends, or if you must eat alone, turn on the radio, the TV or music for company.
  • Use days when you do feel more like eating to catch up.
  • Ask your radiation oncologist or nurse if its OK to have one glass of wine or beer with your meal. They have been known to increase appetite.
  • Stock up on convenient foods that are easy to make. Canned creamed soups make good-tasting and nutritious sauces served over fish, chicken, or toast. Together with canned or fresh fruit, juices or dairy foods, they make well-balanced and easy-to-make meals.
  • If you live alone, you may want to arrange for "Meals on Wheels" to deliver meals. Many communities have this service. Ask your doctor, nurse or local American Cancer Society or Cancer Information Service about services in your area.
  • When you feel more like yourself, make some additional meals and freeze them to use later.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.