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Nausea can occur for many reasons stimulated by medication, illness or emotions.  Provide your loved one with easily-digested foods in a comfortable environment by following some of the tips below. 

Nausea:  Possible Causes

How You Can Help

Progression of the terminal illness

Encourage and help your loved one take prescribed anti-nausea medication.  Talk to your hospice team nurse to understand how your loved one’s terminal illness can cause nausea.

Food odors

Keep the patient out of the kitchen while food is prepared, and quickly ventilate the area when finished.  Offer low-odor options such as microwaved foods, cool or room-temperature foods.  Serve the meal outside or take the patient near an open window for fresh air.


Make sure your loved one takes small bites and eats slowly.  Have your loved one rest quietly in a cool, comfortable area after eating.

Offensive flavors and textures

See Foods to Try, Foods to Avoid (below)

Foods to Try

Foods to Avoid

  • bland foods such as rice, apple juice, dry white toast, crackers or Cheerios
  • soft foods like nectars, custard pudding, soft-cooked eggs
  • liquid or cold blended foods such as shakes or
  • salty foods like saltines and chicken broth
  • tart foods like lemonade, dill pickles, chilled buttermilk, sorbet or sherbet
  • mildly sweet foods such as mints, pound cake, Jell-O, popsicles, ginger ale and ice cubes made of apple or grape juice

  • fried or greasy high-fat foods, including fried meats, donuts, french fries and bacon
  • acidic foods such as orange juice, grapefruit and tomatoes
  • spicy foods, such as chili or tamales
  • foods that have strong odors, like fish or onions
  • very sweet foods such as cake or pie