Nutrition: Eating Well Article 2

Nutrition: Eating Well Article 2

By an Accredited Practising Dietician in the Dietetics Department of SJOG


How We Can Manage Changes in Taste and Smell.

During chemotherapy we can experience changes in our taste and smell. This can impact on the amount we eat and how much we enjoy food. Although eating may no longer be pleasurable, it is important to keep eating. Eating well and being well nourished can help us to cope better with treatment side effects; to recover and heal faster; to fight infection; to optimise energy levels and to handle doses of treatment.

The following ideas may help manage changes in taste and smell.

  • Experiment with different foods to see what flavours are most appealing.
  • Avoid foods that taste/smell unappealing, but do try them again in a few weeks’ time.
  • Increase the appeal of food with well presenting, colourful meals.
  • If food tastes bland add herbs, garlic, lemon, spices, onion, cheese, chutneys and seasonings.
  • If food tastes too acidic/salty, try adding honey or sugar.
  • If food tastes metallic try eating with plastic cutlery.
  • If you are finding the smell of food off putting, you may find cold foods are better tolerated as these don’t tend to smell as much as hot food. Try cold foods such as cheese and crackers, yoghurts, tinned fruit, custard, cereal and sandwiches.
  • To avoid food odours, stay away from the kitchen whilst food is being prepared and eat in a well-ventilated area.
  • Pre-prepared meals are great for limiting the amount of time spent in the kitchen.
  • Ensure good oral hygiene by regularly brushing your teeth and using mouthwash.
  • Try drinking through a straw to by-pass your taste buds.
  • The most important thing is that you don’t give up on eating. Persevere and keep trying new things so you can experience all the benefits of staying well-nourished.


If you have any topics you would like the Dietetics Department to consider please send an email to