Weight loss is a common side effect of chemotherapy, and gaining weight can be more challenging than you may think. After chemotherapy treatments, people sometimes experience dry mouth, mouth sores, trouble swallowing and have changes in tastes and smells, according to the American Cancer Society. These side effects can make it difficult to eat. Talk with your doctor about ways to manage these side effects so that eating and regaining your strength is easier.
Eat your favorite foods. Eating your favorite foods, such as comfort foods, can help stimulate your appetite, says the National Cancer Institute. If the foods do not taste good, try adding spice, salt and pepper. Eat your favorite foods until you feel that you can try other foods.
Talk with your doctor about taking an anti-nausea medication. There are different types of anti-nausea medications that can help relieve the nausea and will help you be able to eat without feeling sick. When you aren't feeling sick, you will be more likely to eat enough to gain weight.
Eat five to seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day, according to the American Cancer Society. Dark green, leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and yellow vegetables contain folate, iron, calcium and vitamins A, C and K that are essential to improving your immune system and keeping you healthy.
Eat five small meals. At first, it may be difficult to think about eating breakfast, lunch and dinner. Begin by eating small meals or snacks throughout the day. With these small meals, it is important to include a source of protein and carbohydrate. Snack on fruits and vegetables that appeal to you. When your appetite increases and your body adjusts to handling food, you can switch to eating three meals a day with two snacks. It is important to talk with a nutritionist who specializes in cancer patients to make sure that you are receiving the proper amount of nutrients.
Exercise. If your doctor gives you approval to exercise, start by going for a walk before you plan to eat. Low-impact exercises like walking or swimming can help increase your appetite. If you have lost muscle mass during chemotherapy, begin a strength-training program to regain muscle. Again, consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise program.