Regaining appetite: Choosing flavours to try after a blood and marrow transplant and cellular therapy

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Your child’s sense of taste may change after their blood and marrow transplant/cellular therapy. Learn which flavours and textures are helpful for boosting your child’s appetite after transplant.

Key points

  • Chemotherapy and other medicines can change the way your child tastes food.
  • Certain bold flavours and textures may help your child start to eat and drink like they used to.
  • Give your child cold food if they are still recovering from mucositis (mouth sores).

The treatment that your child received for their blood and marrow transplant (BMT) or cellular therapy—like chemotherapy and other medicines—can change the way your child tastes food. Do not worry! Most children regain their sense of taste and appetite with time. Choosing foods with certain flavours and textures may help your child start to eat and drink again like they used to, and enjoy the food they eat.

Introducing bold flavours and textures to your child can be helpful for restoring their sense of taste and appetite. Below are lists of foods that you and your child can choose from.


  • Tangy
  • Sour/tart
  • Salty
  • Strong
  • Spicy (but not hot)
  • Fresh
Tangy foods include:Tangy sauces like BBQ sauce, relish, and hoisin sauce
Caesar salad dressing, ranch dressing
Pomegranate (juice, seeds*, or molasses)
Cream cheese (plain or flavoured)
Sour/tart foods include:Lemons/limes
Lemonade, cranberry juice
Pickles and pickled food
Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut
Soy sauce
Plain yogurt, sour cream, and kefir
Salty foods include:Nuts*
French fries
Canned soup and instant noodles
Bacon, turkey bacon, pepperoni/pepperettes
Strong foods include:Parmesan cheese
Strong cheese (cheddar, Swiss, asiago, etc.)
Cheese flavoured foods (popcorn*, chips, rice cakes, etc.)
Flavoured chips or crackers (sour cream & onion, salt & vinegar, all dressed, cheese, BBQ, etc.)
Spicy (but not hot) foods include:Mild curry or chili, mild salsa, ginger, cumin
Mustard greens
Fresh foods include:Mint and peppermint, fresh herbs, lemongrass
Red, yellow, orange peppers
Cucumber sticks
Carrot sticks

*These are only suitable for children aged four and older. They can be a serious choking hazard for younger children.


  • Juicy
  • Crunchy
Juicy foods include:Cucumber sticks
Red, yellow, or orange pepper sticks
Watermelon, honeydew, cantaloupe
Pineapple (if not too acidic)
Ripe peaches, plums, and nectarines
Kiwis (also sour and tart!)
Celery sticks (also crunchy!)
Crunchy foods include:Crunchy vegetable sticks
Chips/tortilla chips
French fries
Pretzel sticks
Crunchy lettuce (also juicy!)

*These are only suitable for children aged four and older. They can be a serious choking hazard for younger children.

Cold foods

If your child is still recovering from mucositis (mouth sores), giving them cold food can be both soothing and enjoyable to eat.

Cold foods include:Ice cream and frozen yogurt
Fruit and yogurt pops (easy to make at home!)
Cold puddings
Cold milk (cow’s milk or milk alternatives)
Ice chips (especially if your child is finding it hard to drink)
Chilled soup
Chilled watermelon and canned fruit

Now is the time for your child to try new foods, and foods they didn’t like before their transplant. You never know what their new taste buds might like!

Last updated: June 19th 2020