Eating extra calories when sick - children
Getting more calories - children; Chemotherapy - calories; Transplant - calories; Cancer treatment - calories
Caring for Your Child
Change your children's eating habits to help them get more calories.
- Let your child eat when hungry, not just at mealtimes.
- Give your child 5 or 6 small meals a day instead of 3 large ones.
- Keep healthy snacks handy.
- Don't let your child fill up on water or juice before or during meals.
Make eating pleasant and fun.
- Play music your child likes.
- Eat with family or friends.
- Try new recipes or new foods your child might like.
Ways to add Calories to Your Child's Food
For infants and babies:
- Feed babies infant formula or breast milk when they are thirsty, not juices or water.
- Feed babies solid food when they are 4 to 6 months old, especially foods that have a lot of calories.
For toddlers and preschoolers:
- Give children whole milk with meals, not juices, low-fat milk, or water.
- Ask your child's health care provider if it is OK to sauté or fry food.
- Add butter or margarine to foods when you are cooking, or put them on foods that are already cooked.
- Feed your child peanut butter sandwiches, or put peanut butter on vegetables or fruits, such as carrots and apples.
- Mix canned soups with half-and-half or cream.
- Use half-and-half or cream in casseroles and mashed potatoes, and on cereal.
- Add protein supplements to yogurt, milkshakes, fruit smoothies, and pudding.
- Offer your child milkshakes between meals.
- Add cream sauce or melt cheese over vegetables.
- Ask your child's provider if liquid nutrition drinks are OK to try.
Agrawal AK, Feusner J. Supportive care of patients with cancer. In: Lanzkowsky P, Lipton JM, Fish JD, eds. Lanzkowsky's Manual of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 33.
American Cancer Society website. Nutrition for children with cancer.
National Cancer Institute website. Nutrition in cancer care (PDQ) - health professional version.
Last reviewed on: 1/31/2018
Reviewed by: Todd Gersten, MD, Hematology/Oncology, Florida Cancer Specialists & Research Institute, Wellington, FL. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.