Diet and nutrition

Author:  Maria Yiallouros, Gesche Tallen MD, PhD, English Translation:  Hannah McRae, Last modification: 2020/05/14

Make sure that your child eats and drinks appropriately. Certain foods contain pathogens that can be potentially harmful to patients with weakened immune systems (see below). These foods should be avoided during treatment. Additionally, being careful regarding how to prepare or store food, respectively, is also advised.

General nutritional recommendations

Meat: no raw meat, no ground pork, no partially cooked meat

Fish: no raw fish (such as sushi) or shellfish; they can come from polluted water and contain germs

Nuts: only roasted nuts, no fresh nuts or nuts that need to be cracked open, no cereal with nuts

Fruits and vegetables: during phases of mucositis, eating raw fruits and veggies should be avoided

Salad: should be washed well; during phases of neutropenia, fresh salad should be avoided

Milk: only pasteurized and homogenized obtained from a grocery store; no raw milk (directly from a farm)

Cheese: no moldy cheese (such as Roquefort, camembert, or brie) or raw-milk cheese

Yogurt: none with live cultures (probiotic)

Ice cream: only packaged ice cream (ice cream treats on a stick or boxed); none from an ice cream parlor (including soft serve)

Eggs: only cooked or fried, no raw egg (such as in pudding or cake batter)

French fries: none from food stands; only in the oven or fryer at home

Grains: Be aware that cereal and bread do not contain nuts. Unheated grains (such as fresh corn mush) should be avoided, as seeds and sprouts can often contain fungi.

Cooked meals: should be eaten on the same day they were cooked, if possible; should be stored for a maximum of one day in the refrigerator

Recommendations for lack of appetite

  • More juices should be offered. Foods that are rich in calories can also be prescribed.
  • During chemotherapy, groceries with little nutritional value should generally be avoided. Instead, foods that are rich in egg whites and vitamins, such as fruits, yogurt, and juice should be offered.
  • Stick to the foods that your child wishes to eat. Prepare your child his or her favorite dishes if you can.

Recommendations for queasiness, vomiting, and diarrhea

  • Be sure to replace lost fluid and salt with adequate fluid volumes
  • Medication prescribed by the doctor as well as a light diet and the avoidance of fresh fruit or fat-rich foods can relieve symptoms
  • Foods with high amounts of sugar and fat should be avoided

Recommendations for times of mucositis

  • Unnecessary irritation of the mucus membrane by foods like citrus fruits, fruits with hard peels, and spicy or salty dishes should be avoided
  • Very hot or spicy foods and drinks should not be served
  • Make sure your child takes small bites and chews slowly

Advice for patients who are being treated with glucocorticoids

While your child is receiving glucocorticoids, his or her blood sugar levels may be a bit unstable. Therefore:

  • The consumption of candy / foods with high sugar content should be limited