Food tips for nausea

Knowing how to manage nausea and eating well will benefit you greatly.

Eating well will boost immunity, strengthen bones and lead to healthier skin, teeth and eyes. By maintaining your weight and nutrients throughout treatment, can help lessen side effects and reduce the risk of delays in treatment. In addition your recovery time may be improved by your muscles and bones being stronger than they would have been without the right amount of food.

What can I do if I can not eat?

Don't give yourself a hard time if you cannot eat anything for a few days after treatment as you can make up for lost calories between treatment days. Nevertheless during this time when you are really ill, make sure your stomach isn't completely empty, as this can make you feel even more nauseous. It is suggested to eat every 2-3 hours, as this can really help reduce this side effect.

This may seem impossible for some but if you try small snacks instead of large meals, it can be less daunting. It can be helpful to stick to plain simple foods. For example; crackers, toast, fruit or yoghurt are easy to eat, thanks to having no strong smells that can trigger nausea.

What to eat when feeling nauseous 

Ginger Biscuits

It contains bioactive compounds, such as gingerol, paradol and shogaol, which are thought to interact with your central nervous system and stomach to improve nausea symptoms.

Plain Dry Foods
Dry foods such as crackers, pretzels, toast and cereals are easy to eat due to no strong smells or tastes that can trigger nausea. 
Cold Foods  You may tolerate cold foods better than warm dishes. That’s because they generally don’t have strong odors. Try yoghurt, jelly or fruit. 
Fluids are often better tolerated when you’re nauseous. Soup provides hydration and electrolytes, which are particularly important if you have been vomiting. 
Soft Energy-Dense Foods

It’s important that the foods you manage to eat are nutritious and provide energy to help your body stay strong and recover. This includes; avocados, porridge, stewed fruits, mashed potatoes, peanut butter and bananas.

Starchy Foods

Starchy, plain foods like rice, potatoes and noodles are good choices. They’re easy to prepare, high in calories and help settle your stomach. 

Protein Rich Foods

It’s unclear why protein has this effect on nausea. The hypothesis is that it helps normalise stomach activity by increasing the secretion of the hormone gastrin. 

Protein is a macronutrient, which helps keep your body strong and reduces the risk of malnutrition.

Top tip - Avoid your favourite food when feeling sick

Your mind may trigger a negative experience with that particular food when feeling sick. This is exactly what I experienced during my first chemo session. At first, I thought I was feeling ok, as I had surgery before and had felt much worse. Thinking I could deal with this feeling, I went to Planet Organic to celebrate making it through my first session.

I picked out some amazing vegetarian foods and was so excited to try it. Me and my partner then drove to Regents Park to eat. When we arrived all of sudden I felt so ill and the food all of a sudden looked so gross! Since then I have not been able to go anywhere near Planet Organic or the food I had that day. Being a vegetarian is now hard, as most vegetarian foods involve the food I had that awful day. 

Follow these tips below to help you live life to the fullest!

Talk to your Doctor about Nausea Medications

Speak to your doctor if you are really struggling, they may be able to give you different sickness medicines to try. 

It is best to take your sickness medications about an hour before eating. This will help you maximise how much you can eat and allow you to enjoy your meal more.

Avoid Warm Foods

Cold foods like yogurt and ice cream are often well tolerated. Less risk of cooking smells to trigger nausea. 

Eat What You Want!

Don’t try to force yourself to eat a meal that causes your stomach to turn at the thought of it. It might be something healthy but it is more important you can eat than risking vomiting.

Drink Liquids in-Between Meals/Snacks.

Make sure you don't drink too much, this will make you feel fuller and will be harder to eat.  

Avoid Mixing Hot & Cold Foods 

This can increase nausea. 

Have Several Small Meals/Snacks 

Having large meals can be daunting.

Eat and Drink Slowly in Small Amounts
This allows you to relax during meals. You may also want to avoid consuming liquids and solids at the same time.
Do Not Lie Flat After Eating 
Avoid lying down for at least 30 minutes after eating, as this can put pressure on your stomach.
Avoid Food Preparation  Strong smells from cooking can worsen nausea. 
Keep Your Mouth Clean
Nausea and vomiting can leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth, which may prevent you from eating. Rinse and brush your teeth regularly.


For more help read - 'Pressure Points for Nausea'