6 Nutrition Tips for Kids Coping With Cancer Treatment


Children receiving pediatric cancer treatments often experience a change in their senses of taste and smell.

There are a number of changes you can make to help your child stay strong and deal with any side effects.


1. Stay Hydrated

Children that are treated for cancer often lose a lot of water, whether due to vomiting and diarrhea, or simply because they aren’t drinking as much as normal. Make sure your child drinks plenty of water, though pure juice (with no sugar added) and soup also help.

2. Serve Cold Food

Cooked and heated food usually carry stronger scents than food served cold or at room temperature. To help children that experience problems eating due to a sensitivity in their sense of smell, serving food like fruits, crackers or sandwiches can help alleviate negative reactions.

3. Reduce Ambient Smells

A child being treated for cancer may find the aromas produced by cooking unpleasant. To reduce ambient food smells in your home, prepare a day’s worth of meals beforehand and store them in a freezer or refrigerator for quick heating later.

Using a straw and lid with drinks or providing a cool and breezy eating area can also help reduce discomfort from aromas.

4. Use Plastic Cutlery

Some children undergoing pediatric cancer treatment report a metallic taste in their mouth when eating. To reduce this taste, substitute plastic flatware for metal, and stick to plastic or glass plates, bowls and cups.

5. Brush and Rinse After Each Meal

Regular tooth brushing and rinsing with water after each meal can reduce potentially unpleasant aftertastes and help food to taste better later.

6. Listen to Your Doctor

It’s important to follow the advice of your child’s doctor about what types of food or nutritional supplements your child should or shouldn’t consume.