How can I help my child to eat well during treatment?

There’s some advice you need that you can only get from those who’ve been there. That’s why we’ve asked parents who’ve been through similar experiences to share their thoughts on topics that you’ve told us you’d like tips, advice and guidance on.

Need advice on how to make sure your child is eating well during treatment? Take a look at the tips from other parents below.

Keep up with the calories

Children going through cancer treatment can have a poor appetite, which mean they may start to lose weight – so they’re encouraged to eat plenty of high-calorie, high protein foods. As fat is a rich source of energy, eating high-fat and sugary foods can be helpful.

If you’re worried about helping your child to eat well during cancer treatment, speak to your doctor or treatment team, who will be able to give you more information and advice. CCLG also have a useful booklet which you can download here.

We ended up with a large selection of cakes and biscuits – any eating is good.

Sometime drinking is easier...high calorific milkshakes with cream, marshmallows, flakes often work.

Try a variety

Find what works for your child by offering them a variety of different foods and seeing what their cravings are.

Keep offering different foods, go with their cravings – my son went through phases of wanting raw carrots, cereal, ice lollies, strawberries, yoghurts etc. and we just went with it.

Don’t stick to routine

Try offering small meals and snacks throughout the day rather than sticking to the routine of three meals a day.

Whatever whenever. It is crazy but honestly whatever works even if it feels ridiculous.

We kept to her usual routine as long as possible and offered food constantly throughout the day.

Use distraction techniques

If your child is distracted, you might be able to encourage them to snack or eat without making a big deal out of it.

Feed them when they’re occupied for example watching a DVD – it kept my son’s strength up as he didn’t really register that he was eating.

Leave food nearby and eat in front of them offering it to your child offhandedly. My son ate quite a few chips and crudités in this way, especially when I didn’t comment on whether he took one or not.

We’ve asked parents to share their tips and advice from their own experiences and what they’ve found helpful. But if you’re worried about helping your child to eat well during cancer treatment, speak to your doctor or treatment team, who will be able to give you more information and advice.

CCLG also have a useful booklet ‘Helping your child to eat well during cancer treatment’ which you can download here.