Cancer treatment can affect both the appetite and digestion of a Child with Cancer, making it difficult to enjoy the foods they usually love.

Added to the fact that they are just feeling miserable and do not have an appetite because of the cancer itself, they also have to deal with cancer treatment side-effects such as Appetite Loss,  Diarrhoea, Nausea and Vomiting, DehydrationTaste Changes, a Sore mouth, Difficulty Swallowing (Dysphagia) and more…

While your child may not always feel like eating, it’s important to do what you can to help them maintain their intake of calories, protein and fluids. Think of good nutrition as an essential part of their recovery and do what you can to make it a priority.

If you are struggling with what foods to give your Child with Cancer, the following recipes could help. They are a healthy and delicious way to combat some of the most common eating problems during treatment.

Recipes to Boost Appetite

The Overall Plan: Boost protein and calories in mini snacks.
What to fix: Add powdered milk to puddings and smoothies or sub Greek yogurt (it has double the protein) in recipes that call for yoghurt.

Banana Milkshake


  • 1 whole ripe banana, sliced
  • Vanilla extract (a few drops)
  • 1 cup milk


  1. Put all ingredients into a blender.
  2. Blend at high speed until smooth.

Yield: 1 serving
Serving Size: Approximately 2 cups

Rice Pudding


  • 8 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons butter or stick margarine
  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked long-grain rice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup amaretto (almond-flavored liqueur) or 1/4 cup water and 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 (8-ounce) carton low-fat sour cream
  • Ground cinnamon (optional)


  • Combine first 3 ingredients in a heavy Dutch oven; bring to a simmer over medium-high heat (about 15 minutes).
  • Stir in rice and salt; reduce heat to medium, and cook 45 minutes or until rice is tender.
  • Stir occasionally, about every 5 to 10 minutes initially, and then as pudding begins to thicken, watch and stir every few minutes to prevent sticking. Do not boil.
  • Place egg in a bowl; gradually add 1 cup hot rice mixture to egg, stirring constantly with a whisk.
  • Return egg mixture to pan; cook 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add raisins, amaretto, vanilla, and sour cream; stir well. Sprinkle with cinnamon, if desired.

Yield: 12 servings
Serving size: 3/4 cup
Cook’s Notes: If you want a more traditional rice pudding, omit the amaretto and almond extract, and increase the vanilla extract to 1 tablespoon. Also you’ll need an extra 1/4 cup of water

Recipe to Relieve Constipation

Apple/Prune Sauce


  • 1/3 cup unprocessed bran
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup mashed stewed prune


  1. Blend all ingredients and store in a refrigerator.
  2. Take 1-2 tablespoons of this mixture before bedtime, and then drink 250ml of water.

Yield: 16 servings
Serving size: 1 tablespoon
Note: Make sure you drink the water, or else this recipe will not work to relieve constipation.

Recipes to Soothe a Sore Mouth

The Overall Plan: No spicy, salty, or coarse-textured foods.
What to fix: Soft, easy-to-swallow foods and drinks.

Fruit & Cream


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt
  • 1 cup canned fruit (peaches, apricots, pears) in heavy syrup with juice
  • Almond or vanilla extract to taste


  1. Blend ingredients in a blender
  2. Chill well before serving.

Yield: 2 servings
Serving size: 1 1/2 cups

Creamy Four-Cheese Macaroni 


  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 2/3 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded fontina or Swiss cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded extra-sharp
  • cheddar cheese
  • 3 ounces light processed cheese (such as Velveeta Light)
  • 6 cups cooked elbow macaroni (about 3 cups uncooked)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup crushed onion melba toasts (about 12 pieces)
  • 1 tablespoon butter or stick margarine, softened


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife.
  3. Place flour in a large saucepan.
  4. Gradually add milk, stirring with a whisk until blended.
  5. Cook over medium heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring constantly.
  6. Add cheeses; cook 3 minutes or until cheese melts, stirring frequently.
  7. Remove from heat; stir in macaroni and salt.
  8. Spoon mixture into a 2-quart casserole coated with cooking spray.
  9. Combine crushed toasts and butter in a small bowl; stir until well-blended.
  10. Sprinkle over macaroni mixture.
  11. Bake at 375° for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Yield: 8 servings
Serving size: 1 cup

Recipe to Combat Lactose Intolerance

Lactose-free Double Chocolate Pudding


  • 2 squares baking chocolate (1 ounce each)
  • 1 cup non-dairy creamer, rice, soy, or lactose-free milk
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Melt chocolate in a small pan.
  2. Measure cornstarch and sugar into a separate saucepan.
  3. Add part of the liquid and stir until cornstarch dissolves.
  4. Add the rest of the liquid.
  5. Cook over medium heat until warm.
  6. Stir in chocolate until mixture is thick and comes to a boil.
  7. Remove from heat.
  8. Blend in vanilla and cool.

Yield: 2 servings
Serving size: 3/4 cup

Recipes to Relieve Nausea

When nausea is a problem first thing in the morning, nibble on dry crackers and soda (keep them at your bedside to eat before you get up) say experts at the American Institute of Cancer Research. In fact, dry toast, dry salty crackers, dry cereals, or salted dry pretzels can all help quell nausea if nibbled on slowly throughout the day. The key word here is dry. Drinking liquids with foods, or with meals, can sometimes provoke nausea.

Farmhouse Crackers


  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon whipping cream


  1. Preheat oven to 300°.
  2. Lightly spoon flours into dry measuring cups; level with a knife.
  3. Combine flours, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl; stir with whisk.
  4. Cut in butter with pastry blender or 2 knives until mixture resembles coarse meal.
  5. Add 1/3 cup water and cream; stir to form a stiff dough.
  6. Roll dough into a 13-inch square on a baking sheet.
  7. Score dough into 16 equal squares.
  8. Pierce each cracker with a fork.
  9. Bake at 300° for 45 minutes or until crisp.
  10. Cool on pan.

Yield: 8 servings
Serving size: 2 Crackers
Note: Make a double batch of these crackers, which will keep several weeks in an airtight container or in the freezer for up to three months. Serve with high-quality Irish butter.

Ginger Limeade


  • 8 cups water
  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups fresh lime juice
  • 4 cups chilled ginger ale


  • In a pan over medium heat, mix water and sugar; stir until sugar has dissolved.
  • Let cool.
  • In a pitcher, mix sugar syrup with fresh lime juice and chilled ginger ale.
  • Serve over ice.


Always talk with your child’s doctor, nurse, or dietitian about any eating problems they experience during treatment. 


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