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Neuroblastoma and Lack of Appetite

  • Ask the Nutritionist

    Q: My daughter who is 13 months old, has recently been diagnosed with neuroblastoma. We have begun our 1st round of chemotherapeutic treatment and are already noticing that it is affecting her desire to eat. What meals do you recommend that contain a good balance of macronutrients and appeal to her palette?

    KML, June, 2017

    A: There are several recommendations in addition to the actual food being eaten that can help with lack of appetite. These include eating more frequent and smaller meals, using a smaller plate, adding calories to foods by incorporating healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, and avocados, bringing high-calorie snacks on trips, and limiting fluids during meals.

    Higher-calorie fluids like smoothies and 100% fruit and vegetable juices can also help with increasing caloric intake. Making a smoothie or snack with a nut butter is one way to increase the calorie content of this kind of snack. For protein, we would recommend finding sources of protein that your daughter enjoys. Some options to try to include are fish, eggs, lean meat, beans, legumes, and nut butters. There are plenty of ways to incorporate more protein into snacks too: try veggies with hummus, a yogurt protein smoothie, or a hard-boiled egg. Try the below recipe for a great smoothie option:

    We have many delicious recipes on our health library, including this one for a Yogurt Protein Smoothie.

  • Nutrition & Diet
  • Dana-Farber Nutrition Team

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