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Food and Drink

Eating and Drinking

Generally, you may eat any foods that are appealing. You may continue to have taste alterations and some foods may be difficult to tolerate. You may find that it is helpful to eat small, frequent meals. Tips for making food more appealing:

  • Foods at room temperature may be more tolerable than hot or cold foods
  • Sweet tarts or zinc lozenges may mask metallic tastes
  • Drinking from glass containers may help avoid odd tastes

You can drink high-protein beverages such as Ensure, Boost, or Carnation Instant Breakfast. A juice-like drink such as Resource is available for lactose-intolerant people. Milk products containing Lactaid (a commercially produced enzyme that helps digest lactose) are available at many grocery stores and may be used in place of regular milk products. This enzyme is also available in capsule form and may be taken before any milk product. Drink six to eight glasses of non-caffeine fluids daily. If you are having difficulties, our Nutrition Support Service or dietitian are available to assist you in designing a diet that is easily tolerated.

Check with your nurse coordinator, nurse practitioner, or physician before drinking alcoholic beverages. Many of your medications may not be tolerated or work well when mixed with alcohol.


It will take some time before you are once again eating normally, so you may be concerned about whether your body is getting what it needs and if you should take vitamin and mineral supplements. An inexpensive, multiple vitamin with minerals is usually sufficient to meet your body's needs. Extra iron supplements are not needed, unless specifically prescribed by your nurse coordinator, nurse practitioner, or physician. You should also consult with a health care provider before taking herbal products or additional supplements.

Preparing and Handling Food

Use simple precautions when preparing and handling food. To decrease the risk of infection from food sources, ensure the food is fresh and keep food preparation areas clean. Be sure to store foods at recommended temperatures, and avoid sharing any eating utensils or dishes. We recommend that you avoid raw meats, raw seafood, raw eggs, unpasteurized milk products, and salad bars because there is a greater risk of bacterial contamination in these foods.

Upset Stomach

Inform your nurse coordinator, nurse practitioner, or physician if you have difficulty eating or drinking. Most of the nausea that occurred during your transplant should be resolved. Occasional episodes of nausea may occur. Your nurse coordinator, nurse practitioner, or physician can give you a prescription for anti-nausea medication. Excessive nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, and persistent weight loss should be brought to the attention of the transplant team. If you experience heartburn or indigestion, inform the transplant team before taking antacids. There may be interactions between antacids and other medications.