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Eating extra calories when sick - children

Getting more calories - children; Chemotherapy - calories; Transplant - calories; Cancer treatment - calories


When children are sick or undergoing cancer treatment, they may not feel like eating. But your child needs to get enough protein and calories to grow and develop. Eating well can help your child handle the illness and side effects of treatment better.

Caring for Your Child

Change your children's eating habits to help them get more calories.

Make eating pleasant and fun.

Ways to add Calories to Your Child's Food

Be sure to discuss any food allergies or foods that should be avoided with your child's health care provider.

For infants and babies:

For toddlers and preschoolers:

Related Information

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Chemotherapy - what to ask your doctor
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Agrawal AK, Feusner J. Supportive care of patients with cancer. In: Fish JD, Lipton JM, Lanzkowsky P, eds. Lanzkowsky's Manual of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2022:chap 32.

American Cancer Society website. Nutrition for children with cancer. Updated June 22, 2022. Accessed February 23, 2024.

National Cancer Institute website. Nutrition in cancer care (PDQ) - health professional version. Updated November 16, 2023. Accessed February 23, 2024.


Review Date: 2/17/2024  

Reviewed By: Charles I. Schwartz, MD, FAAP, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, General Pediatrician at PennCare for Kids, Phoenixville, PA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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