FOOD TIPS FOR CAREGIVERS:
Relationships & Caregiving
• Make small portions of food and put them in freezable containers: Due to taste changes, patients may not like the same food after a different treatment cycle. Packing a smaller portion of a meal can ensure they aren’t faced with a fridge full of food they can no longer stomach as well as making it easier to microwave when they are able to eat. • Don’t ask if a patient wants help, just give it: Show up with packaged meals instead of asking if they want it so it relieves any feelings about being a burden. • Clean up if you cook a meal in their kitchen: If you prepare food in their home, make sure you clean everything because they might not have the energy to do dishes. • Create care baskets with a variety of bland food offerings to counter taste changes: Solid foods such as saltine crackers can be a blessing when a patient is barely able to eat. Dry soup mix or even plain chicken broth makes an easy warm meal. • Gift teas with different flavors and benefits: Tea can be really soothing. Consider giving a variety of herbal teas that address different needs, such as ginger for stomach issues or lavender for nerves. • Be flexible with celebrations: Rescheduling a birthday party or anniversary celebration to a day right before the patient’s next treatment cycle may help ensure they aren’t suffering from as many side effects or developing new shifts in taste. • Don’t try to push what foods they should and shouldn’t eat: While encouraging a patient to eat is good, trying to dictate how much or what kinds of foods they eat can have a negative effect. They’re already facing a life-changing diagnosis and this may not be the time to try to alter their eating habits drastically. Instead, be supportive and ensure they eat what they can every day.