Tips for Caregivers: Serving Food Your Cancer Patient Will Enjoy

It’s hard to watch someone you love lose weight during cancer treatment, and when it does, you can feel helpless and anxious. The disease itself, the barrage of medicine that comes with it, and all those nasty side effects do a number on tastebuds, so don’t take it personally if they reject your offerings. To encourage the person you love to hunker down and put some weight on – or at least stop losing weight – there’s a lot you can do. Here’s some advice that will help you both get through it. Offer a variety of choices. Consider including different textures like crunchy toast and crackers, smooth puddings and milkshakes, or chewy fruit snacks like dried ginger, apricots, and pears. Food temperatures can offer variety too, from hot soups to frozen smoothies or sandwiches at room temperature. An assortment of flavors can help your patient find something she can tolerate and even enjoy, like salty peanut butter or sweet fruits and vegetables. She might take only a smidgen of what’s on offer, but the variety will help both of you figure out what’s going to work best during the long course of treatment. Make food look appealing. Chefs understand that “we eat with our eyes,” so adding color to the plate, even if it’s only a garnish, can make the simplest food look special. A sprig of mint on a sandwich or a speared strawberry whimsically peaking out of a smoothy can make meals more fun and palatable. Think back to when you were a kid and your mom cut your sandwich in the shape of a star. A little creativity can make meals fun for both of you. And if you have kids in the house, this is a great way to get them involved. MORE: How to use mindfulness to heal body and soul Remember that small portions are best.  It’s discouraging for eve
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