Eating Well During Your Cancer Treatment

This information will help you get the nutrients you need during your cancer treatment. It explains important food safety guidelines and ways to add calories and protein to your diet. It also explains how different cancer treatments may affect your eating and what you can do to help manage common side effects.

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About Nutrition During Cancer Treatment

Nutrition and Cancer
The food you eat during and after cancer treatment can play an important role in your recovery. Check out Memorial Sloan Kettering's nutrition advice and recipes to help you feel your best.
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Good nutrition is very important for people with cancer. There may be some changes you can make now that will help you during treatment. Start by following a healthy diet. This can make you stronger, help you maintain (stay at) a healthy weight, and help you fight infection. It may even help you prevent or manage some side effects of treatment.

Once you start treatment, it may become hard to follow your usual diet. You may need to liberalize your diet (add different types of foods and drinks) to get the nutrition you need. There currently isn’t enough research to know that restrictive diets (diets that avoid certain foods or nutrients) are safe for people who have cancer.

The most important thing is to make sure you get the calories and protein you need to keep your body strong during your treatment. Because of that, some of the information in this resource may seem very different from diet guidelines you usually follow. If you have questions, talk with your clinical dietitian nutritionist.

 
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General Nutritional Guidelines

Recipes for People with Cancer
Search for recipes according to diet type or symptom.
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Dietary supplements

Dietary supplements include vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements.

You can get all the nutrients you need from a well-balanced diet. But, taking a low-dose multivitamin and mineral supplement can help if you’re having trouble following a balanced diet. A low-dose supplement is one that doesn’t have more than 100% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of any vitamin or mineral.

There currently isn’t enough research to know that taking large amounts of antioxidants, herbs, or extra vitamins and minerals helps treat or cure cancer. Depending on your specific cancer treatment, taking too much of a dietary supplement can actually harm you or change the way your treatment works.

If you’re thinking about taking any dietary supplements, talk with your doctor first. A clinical dietitian nutritionist or pharmacist can also answer your questions.

Food safety

During cancer treatment, your body has a hard time fighting off infection. It’s more important than ever to make sure that the foods you’re eating are safe. This will lower your risk for foodborne illnesses and other infections. For more information and tips, read the resource Food Safety During Cancer Treatment.

Staying hydrated

It’s very important to stay hydrated (get enough liquids) during your cancer treatment. You can hydrate with liquids other than water. Examples are listed in the table below.

Type of Liquid Examples
Soups
  • Bouillon
  • Consommé
  • Broth
Drinks
  • Water
  • Seltzer (sparkling water)
  • Fruit and vegetable juices
  • Fruit nectars
  • Sports drinks (such as Gatorade®)
  • Tea
  • Milk or milkshakes
  • Nutrition supplement drinks
Sweets
  • Gelatin (such as Jell-O®)
  • Ice pops (such as Popsicles®)
  • Italian ices, ice cream, frozen yogurt, and sorbets
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Getting Calories and Protein

During your treatment, your clinical dietitian nutritionist may recommend certain foods to help you get more calories, get more protein, or eat more comfortably. Some of these foods may seem like less healthy choices. It’s important to remember that you will only be eating this way for a short while. Once your side effects go away and your appetite goes back to normal, you can stop eating foods you feel are unhealthy. Your clinical dietitian nutritionist can help you find an eating plan that works best for you.

Tips for eating and drinking enough

During treatment, you may have good days and bad days when it comes to eating. Large meals can seem overwhelming or unappealing. This can happen when you have a decreased appetite (want to eat less than usual) or early satiety (feel full shortly after you start eating). The suggestions below can help you get the most from your meals.

  • Eat small, frequent meals. For example, have 6 to 8 meals a day instead of 3 main meals.
  • Eat every few hours. Don’t wait until you feel hungry.
  • Serve smaller food portions on salad plates instead of dinner plates.
  • Drink hot chocolate, fruit juices, and nectars that are high in calories.
  • Avoid low-calorie drinks (such as water, coffee, tea, and diet drinks). Make Double Milk and milkshakes using the recipes in the “Recipes” section.
  • Have your favorite snack foods available at home, on the go, and at work.
  • Eat your favorite foods at any time of the day. For example, eat breakfast foods (such as pancakes or omelets) for lunch or dinner.
  • Include different colors and textures of foods in your meals to make them more appealing.
  • Make dining a good experience by eating your meals in a pleasant, relaxing setting with family or friends.
  • Make food that smells good (such as baking bread or frying bacon).

Tips for adding more protein to your diet

Your body needs a balance of calories and protein to work best. Your doctor or clinical dietitian nutritionist may tell you to temporarily increase the amount of protein in your diet. If you recently had surgery or have wounds, eating more protein will help you heal. The suggestions below will help you increase the amount of protein in your diet.

  • Eat foods rich in protein (such as chicken, fish, pork, beef, lamb, eggs, milk, cheese, beans, nuts or nut butters, and soy foods).
  • Drink Double Milk (see the “Recipes” section) and use it in recipes that call for milk or water (such as instant pudding, cocoa, omelets, and pancake mixes).
  • Use Double Milk or ready-to-drink nutritional supplements (such as Ensure®) in hot or cold cereals.
  • Add cheese and diced, cooked meats to your omelets or quiches.
  • Add unflavored protein powder to creamy soups, mashed potatoes, shakes, and casseroles.
  • Snack on cheese or nut butters (such as peanut butter, cashew butter, and almond butter) with crackers.
  • Spread nut butters on apples, bananas, or celery.
  • Try apple slices with cheese wedges and honey drizzled on top.
  • Blend a nut butter into your shakes or smoothies.
  • Snack on nuts, sunflower, or pumpkin seeds.
  • Add nuts and seeds to breads, muffins, pancakes, cookies, and waffles.
  • Try hummus with pita bread. Use hummus as a spread on sandwiches or add a spoonful to your salad.
  • Add cooked meats to soups, casseroles, and salads.
  • Add wheat germ, ground nuts, chia seeds, or ground flax seeds to cereals, casseroles, and yogurt.
  • Choose Greek style yogurts over regular yogurt.
  • Eat desserts made with eggs (such as pound cake, puddings, custards, and cheesecakes).
  • Add extra eggs or egg whites to custards, puddings, quiches, pancake batter, French toast egg wash, scrambled eggs, or omelets.
  • Add grated cheese to sauces, vegetables, and soups. You can also add it to baked or mashed potatoes, casseroles, and salads.
  • Add cottage cheese or ricotta cheese to casseroles, pasta dishes, or egg dishes.
  • Melt cheese on hamburgers and breaded cutlets.
  • Add chickpeas, kidney beans, tofu, hard-boiled eggs, nuts, seeds, and cooked meats or fish to your salads.
  • Use pasteurized bone broth for soups and stews.

Tips for adding more calories to your diet

The suggestions below can help you eat more calories. They may seem to go against what you already know about healthy eating. But, during your treatment and while you’re healing, the most important thing is that you get enough calories and protein.

  • Avoid food and drink labels that say “low-fat,” “non-fat,” or “diet.” For example, use whole milk instead of skim.
  • Snack on dried fruits, nuts, or dried seeds. Add them to hot cereals, ice cream, or salads.
  • Drink fruit nectars or fruit shakes.
  • Add butter, ghee, or oils to potatoes, rice, and pasta. Also add them to cooked vegetables, sandwiches, toast, and hot cereals.
  • Add cream cheese or nut butters to toast or bagels or use it as a spread on vegetables.
  • Spread cream cheese, jam, and peanut butter on crackers.
  • Add jelly or honey to breads and crackers.
  • Mix jam with diced fruit and use it as a topping over ice cream or cake.
  • Snack on tortilla chips with guacamole or sour cream dips.
  • Use high-calorie dressings on salads, baked potatoes, and vegetables (such as green beans or asparagus).
  • Add sour cream, coconut milk, half and half, or heavy cream to mashed potatoes, cake, and cookie recipes. You can also add it to pancake batter, sauces, gravies, soups, and casseroles.
  • Top baked potatoes with cheese or sour cream.
  • Top cakes, waffles, French toast, fruits, puddings, and hot chocolate with whipped cream.
  • Make vegetables or pasta with cream sauces or drizzle olive oil over these foods before eating.
  • Use mayonnaise, creamy salad dressing, or aioli sauce in salads, sandwiches, and vegetable dips.
  • Mix granola with yogurt or put it on top of ice cream or fruits. Use granola in cookie, muffin, and bread batters.
  • Top your ice cream or unfrosted cakes with sweetened condensed milk. Combine the condensed milk with peanut butter to add more calories and flavor.
  • Add croutons to your salads.
  • Include stuffing as a side dish with your meals.
  • Drink homemade shakes. Try the shake recipes in the “Recipes” section. You can also drink high-calorie, high-protein drinks (such as Carnation® Breakfast Essentials or Ensure®). See the next section for a list of nutritional supplements you can buy.
  • Add avocado to smoothies, soups, salads, omelets, and as a spread on toast.
  • Add mayonnaise or sour cream to salads (such as tuna or egg salad) or use it as a spread on sandwiches.
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Nutritional Supplements

If you can’t make your own shakes, there are many nutritional supplements you can buy. Some are high-calorie, ready-made drinks that have vitamins and minerals added to them. Others are powders that you can mix into other foods or drinks. Most are also lactose-free, which means you can have them even if you’re lactose intolerant (have trouble digesting milk products).

Always refrigerate ready-made drinks after you open them. Refrigerate powders after mixing them with a liquid.

Bland, unflavored drinks

These drinks are useful for people who like mild sweetness. They can be used as a base for mildly sweetened milkshakes. These drinks are:

  • Lactose-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Kosher
Nutritional Supplement (Manufacturer) Nutritional Content
Osmolite® 1 Cal (Abbott) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 250 calories
  • 10.5 grams of protein
Isosource® HN (Nestlé) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 300 calories
  • 13.5 grams of protein
Glytrol® unflavored (Nestlé) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 250 calories
  • 11.3 grams of protein

Flavored, sweetened drinks

These drinks are available in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, and other flavors, depending on the brand. These drinks are:

  • Lactose-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Kosher
Nutritional Supplement (Manufacturer) Nutritional Content
Ensure Original (Abbott) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 255 calories
  • 9 grams of protein
Boost® Original (Nestlé) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 240 calories
  • 10 grams of protein
Ensure Plus (Abbott) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 350 calories
  • 13 grams of protein
Boost Plus (Nestlé) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 360 calories
  • 14 grams of protein
Boost Very High Calorie (Nestlé) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 530 calories
  • 22 grams of protein
Ensure High Protein (Abbott) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 160 calories
  • 16 grams of protein
Boost High Protein (Nestlé) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 240 calories
  • 20 grams of protein
Ensure Compact (Abbott) Per 4-ounce serving:
  • 220 calories
  • 9 grams of protein
Boost Compact (Nestlé) Per 4-ounce serving:
  • 240 calories
  • 10 grams of protein

Low-sugar drinks (for people with diabetes)

These drinks are available in vanilla, chocolate, and other flavors, depending on the brand. These drinks are:

  • Lactose-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Kosher
Nutritional Supplement (Manufacturer) Nutritional Content
Glucerna® Shake (Abbott) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 180 calories
  • 10 grams of protein
Boost Glucose Control (Nestlé) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 250 calories
  • 14 grams of protein
Glytrol Vanilla (Nestlé) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 250 calories
  • 11.3 grams of protein

Fruity drinks

These drinks are available in peach, orange, wild berry, iced tea, apple, blueberry pomegranate, and other flavors, depending on the brand.  These drinks are:

  • Fat-free
  • Lactose-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Kosher
Nutritional Supplement (Manufacturer) Nutritional Content
Ensure Clear (Abbott) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 250 calories
  • 9 grams of protein
Boost Breeze (Nestlé) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 250 calories
  • 9 grams of protein
Resource® Diabetishield (Nestlé)

Note: This drink is intended for people with diabetes
Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 150 calories
  • 7 grams of protein
  • 30 grams of carbohydrates

Milk-based, flavored, sweetened powders

These powders can be mixed with milk or water, depending on the brand. They’re available in vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry.

  • Most of these products contain lactose.
  • The amount of fat per serving depends on the brand and whether mixed with whole milk, low-fat milk, or water.
Nutritional Supplement (Manufacturer) Nutritional Content
Carnation Breakfast Essentials (Carnation)

Note: This drink is available in premixed cans. Some flavors are available in sugar-free versions.
Per 8-ounce serving with whole milk:
  • 280 calories
  • 12 grams of protein
Sugar-free (artificially sweetened) Carnation Breakfast Essentials (Carnation) Per 8-ounce serving with whole milk:
  • 210 calories
  • 14 grams of protein
Scandishake® (Aptalis)

Note: This drink is available in a lactose-free version.
Per 11-ounce serving with whole milk:
  • 600 calories
  • 12 grams of protein

Unflavored supplements

These supplements can be mixed into drinks or moist foods (such as pancakes, muffins, and puddings) for added calories, protein, or both.

These supplements aren’t meant to be used as your only source of nutrition. Talk with your clinical dietitian nutritionist for help including them in your diet.

Nutritional Supplement (Manufacturer) Nutritional Content
Scandical® (powder) (Aptalis) Per tablespoon of powder:
  • 35 calories
Benecalorie® (liquid) (Nestlé) Per 1.5 ounces of liquid:
  • 330 calories
  • 7 grams of protein
Unjury® Medical Quality Protein (powder) (Unjury) Per 24-gram scoop of powder:
  • 90 calories
  • 21 grams of protein

Nutritional supplements for people who need to limit their intake of potassium, phosphorus, or both

These drinks are available in vanilla, butter pecan, and berry. They are:

  • Lactose-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Kosher
Nutritional Supplement (Manufacturer) Nutritional Content
Nepro® (Abbott) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 425 calories
  • 19 grams of protein
Suplena® (Abbott) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 425 calories
  • 11 grams of protein
Novasource® Renal (Nestlé) Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 475 calories
  • 21.6 grams of protein
Renalcal® (Nestlé) Per 8.45-ounce serving:
  • 500 calories
  • 8.5 grams of protein

High-calorie, high-protein puddings

These pudding supplements are available in vanilla, chocolate, and butterscotch flavors. They are:

  • Lactose-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Kosher
Nutritional Supplement (Manufacturer) Nutritional Content
Boost Nutritional® pudding (Nestlé) Per 4-ounce serving:
  • 250 calories
  • 9 grams of protein
Ensure pudding (Abbott) Per 4-ounce serving:
  • 250 calories
  • 9 grams of protein
 

Snack bars for people with diabetes

They are:

  • Kosher
Nutritional Supplement (Manufacturer) Nutritional Content
Glucerna Snack Bar (Abbott) Per bar:
  • 150 to 160 calories
  • 10 to 11 grams of protein

Note: Calories and protein depend on flavor.

Organic nutritional shakes

These shakes are available in sweet vanilla bean, creamy chocolate fudge, iced café mocha, and strawberries & cream flavors. They are:

  • Gluten-free
  • Soy-free
  • 99.3% Lactose-free
  • Kosher
Nutritional Supplement (Manufacturer) Nutritional Content
Orgain (Nutricia) Per 11-ounce serving:
  • 255 calories
  • 16 grams of protein
Kate Farms Per 11-ounce serving:
  • 255 calories
  • 16 grams of protein

High-protein, low-sugar shakes

These supplements are available in pre-made shakes in a variety of flavors or in powder form. They are:

  • Gluten-free
  • Soy-free
  • Low-sugar
Nutritional Supplement (Manufacturer) Nutritional Content
Premier Protein Shakes (Premier Protein) Per 11-ounce serving:
  • 160 calories
  • 30 grams of protein
  • 1 gram of sugar
Premier Protein Powder (Premier Protein) Per 47-gram scoop:
  • 180 calories
  • 30 grams of protein
  • 3 grams of sugar

Check your local market or drug store to see if they carry any of these nutritional supplements. You can also order them online for home delivery. The contact information is listed below.

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Managing Symptoms and Side Effects Through Nutrition

This section describes some tips you can use to help you with:

  • Appetite loss
  • Constipation (having fewer bowel movements than usual)
  • Diarrhea (having loose or watery bowel movements)
  • Dry mouth
  • Sore mouth or throat
  • Taste changes
  • Early satiety
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

Tell your doctor or nurse if you’re having any of the things above before following these tips. Diet changes can help, but you may need medication to best manage your side effects. If you’re prescribed medications, be sure to take them as instructed by your medical team.

Appetite loss

Appetite loss is a decrease in your appetite or desire to eat. It’s a very common side effect of cancer treatment.

There may be certain times of the day where your appetite is best and you’re able to eat more. If this is the case, take advantage of those times and try to eat as much as you can. Review the “Getting Calories and Protein” section of this resource for ideas on ways to make sure you’re getting the most from your meals and snacks.

Sometimes, you may not feel hungry at all. If this is the case, try following a meal schedule. For example, eat every 2 hours or so rather than waiting to feel hungry. Setting an alarm for yourself can be a helpful reminder.

Constipation

Constipation is a common problem that makes it hard to have bowel movements. If you’re constipated, your bowel movements might be:

  • Too hard
  • Too small
  • Hard to get out
  • Happening less often than usual

Constipation can be caused by many things, including your diet, activity, and lifestyle. Some chemotherapy and pain medications can also cause constipation.

Below are ways to manage constipation through your diet.

Eat more high-fiber foods

Fiber is important because it increases the bulk in your stool. This helps your body move the stool out of your body. Add fiber to your diet one food at a time. Be sure to drink enough liquids to prevent gas and bloating. Examples of high-fiber foods are:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Bran muffins
  • Whole grains (such as whole-grain cereals, pastas, breads, and brown rice)
  • Nuts and seeds

Drink plenty of liquids

Try to drink at least 8 to 10 (8-ounce) glasses of liquids per day. Drink water, fruit and vegetable juices, milk, and other liquids. This will help keep your stool soft. Read the “Staying hydrated” section for ideas of liquids to drink.

 

Eat at consistent times

Try to eat your meals at the same time each day. If you make changes to your diet, do it slowly.

Move around

Physical movement can also help with constipation. Do light physical activity (such as walking or slowly climbing stairs) to help food move through your digestive system. Check with your doctor before starting any new physical activity.

Diarrhea

Diarrhea is frequent, loose, watery bowel movements. It causes food to pass quickly through your intestines. When this happens, water and nutrients aren’t absorbed well by your body. Diarrhea can be caused by:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Surgery of your stomach or intestines
  • Medications
  • Difficulty digesting milk and milk products
  • Having too many sugar alcohols (such as sorbitol or mannitol, which are found in sugar-free candy)
  • Other food sensitivities

Check with your doctor before you use the suggestions below to manage your diarrhea.

Drink plenty of liquids

Drink at least 8 to 10 (8-ounce glasses) of liquid daily. This will help replace the water and nutrients you lose when you have diarrhea. Try drinking:

  • Fruit juices and nectars mixed with water
  • Unflavored Pedialyte®
  • Coconut water
  • Electrolyte tablets that you add to water (such as Nuun®)
  • Electrolyte powders that you mix with water (such as DripDrop®)
  • Water with added electrolytes (such as Propel®)
  • Caffeine-free soda. Let the soda sit out uncovered for a few minutes before drinking to reduce the fizz.

For more examples, read the section “Staying hydrated.”

Follow the dietary guidelines below

Avoid very hot or cold, high-sugar, high-fat, and spicy foods. These are hard on your digestive system and may make your diarrhea worse. Follow the eating and drinking guidelines below if you’re having diarrhea.

Fruits and vegetables
Foods to Try Foods to Avoid
  • Well-cooked, peeled and puréed, or canned fruits and vegetables
  • Bananas
  • Peeled apples or applesauce
  • Juices or nectars mixed with water
  • Smooth peanut butter
Most of these items have potassium and liquid to help replace what your body loses from diarrhea. They also have soluble fiber, which may decrease diarrhea.
  • Raw fruits and vegetables, whole nuts, and seeds (except those in the “Foods to try” column)
  • Vegetables that can cause gas (such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, beans, and onions)
Starches and carbohydrates
Foods to Try Foods to Avoid
  • Refined white breads, cereals, rice, pasta, and farina
  • Boiled or mashed potatoes (without the skins)
  • Crackers, pretzels, and graham crackers
Some of these foods contain salt to help replace what your body loses from diarrhea.
  • Breads, pastas, cereals, and brown rice with 3 or more grams of fiber
  • Bread products with nuts or seeds
  • Fatty breads and pastries (such as croissants and doughnuts)
  • Fried potatoes
Meat and meat alternatives
Foods to Try Foods to Avoid
  • Lean meats (such as chicken or turkey breast) without skin
  • Hard-boiled eggs
  • Tofu
These are bland, low-fat, and low-fiber foods. They’re easier on your digestive system.
  • Fatty meats (such as salami, pepperoni, or sausage)
  • Fried meats and fried tofu
  • Meats with skin
These foods are hard on your digestive system. They can cause discomfort and make your diarrhea worse.
Dairy
Foods to Try Foods to Avoid
  • Low-fat milk or yogurt
If you have problems digesting milk and milk products, try lactose-free milk (such as Lactaid® milk) or dairy-free milk (such as soy, almond, oat, coconut, or rice milk).
  • Whole milk
  • Premium or high-fat ice cream
  • High-fat cheeses
  • Sour cream
Condiments
Foods to Try Foods to Avoid
  • Salt (unless you must avoid it for other reasons)
  • Fat-free gravies and salad dressings
  • Large amounts of sugar and spices
  • Rich gravies and salad dressings
  • Foods or drinks with caffeine (such as chocolate, tea, or soda)
These foods are hard on your digestive system. This can cause discomfort and make your diarrhea worse.

Dry mouth

A dry mouth can be caused by:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation therapy
  • Medications
  • Surgery on the head and neck
  • Infections
  • Other health problems

A dry mouth may also cause cavities. This is because you’re making less saliva, which protects your teeth against decay. Oral hygiene (taking good care of your mouth) is very important if your mouth is dry. Avoid alcohol-based mouthwashes. Instead, make your own mouthwash by mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 quart (4 cups) of warm water. Rinse your mouth with this mouthwash every 2 hours.

When your mouth is dry, eating can be hard. Some foods may be hard to chew and swallow. The types of foods you eat can make a difference. Choose foods that have a moist, soft texture and are easy to swallow. Avoid foods that are dry or rough. Drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Sipping fluids between bites at meals can make it easier to chew and swallow foods. Follow the eating and drinking guidelines below if your mouth is dry.

Foods to Try Foods to Avoid
Soft and puréed foods, such as:
  • Casseroles, bean dishes, macaroni and cheese, and scrambled eggs
  • Tender cooked chicken and fish
  • Stews and creamed soups
  • Cooked cereal
  • Baby food
  • Sauces, gravies, juices, clear broths, margarine, and sour cream added to foods
  • Breads, crackers, and other baked goods dipped in milk or tea
  • Fresh pineapple or papaya
Cold foods, such as:
  • Milkshakes, smoothies, yogurts, gelatin, cottage cheese, and nutritional supplements (see the section “Nutritional Supplements”)
  • Puréed fruits and vegetables
Sugarless hard candies and chewing gum may also help. Try citrus, cinnamon, or mint flavors.
Rough or dry foods, such as:
  • Dry meats without sauce
  • Dry, coarse breads, crackers, pretzels, and cereals
  • Coarse, raw fruits and vegetables

Sore mouth or throat

Mouth and throat sores can be caused by certain chemotherapy treatments as well as radiation to your head or neck. A sore mouth or throat can make eating difficult. The way you eat can make a difference. The following are some tips to avoid irritating your mouth:

  • Cook your foods until they’re soft and tender. Use a blender to purée foods. For more tips, read the resource Eating Guide for Puréed and Mechanical Soft Diets.
  • Cut your foods into small pieces that are easy for you to chew.
  • Rinse your mouth often. Try using a mouth rinse of 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1 quart (4 cups) of warm water can be helpful. If this doesn’t help, ask your doctor for other mouth rinse recommendations.
  • Use a straw to drink. This keeps liquids from touching your sore mouth.
  • Brush your teeth and tongue, if your doctor or dentist says it’s okay.
  • Drink more liquids to help to keep your mouth clean.

If you have a sore mouth or throat, trying softer, bland, lukewarm, or cool foods can be helpful. Avoid foods that may increase pain, such as dry foods and foods that are spicy, salty, sour, or acidic. Follow the eating and drinking guidelines below if your mouth or throat is sore.

Foods to Try Foods to Avoid
Bland, soft, puréed foods, such as:
  • Plain casseroles, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, and scrambled eggs
  • Soft-cooked or puréed chicken and fish
  • Creamed soups
  • Cooked cereals
  • Baby food (tapioca and plain flavors)
  • Butter, sour cream, oils, and mild sauces (as tolerated) added to foods
  • Breads, crackers, and other baked goods dipped in milk or tea
Cold foods, such as:
  • Milkshakes, smoothies, yogurts, gelatin, custards, pudding, cottage cheese, and nutritional supplements like Ensure
Rough or dry foods, such as:
  • Dry meats
  • Dry breads, crackers, and pretzels
  • Coarse, raw fruits and vegetables
Spicy, salty, and acidic foods, such as:
  • Foods made with large amounts of spices, such as pepper or chili powder
  • Foods high in salt or made with vinegar
  • Citrus fruit products (such as orange juice and lemonade)
  • Tomato products (such as pasta sauce, tomato juice, or tomato soup)

Taste changes

Your sense of taste can be affected by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and some medications.

Your sense of taste is made up of 5 main sensations: salty, sweet, savory, bitter, and sour. Taste changes are different from person to person. The most common changes are having bitter and metallic tastes in your mouth. Sometimes, food may not taste like anything. These changes usually go away after your treatment ends.

Maintaining good oral hygiene (taking good care of your mouth) is very important to help with taste changes. You can do this by brushing your teeth and tongue (if your doctor or dentist says it’s okay) and drinking more liquids. Your care team may also recommend using an alcohol-free mouthwash (such as Biotene®). You can also make your own mouthwash by mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of salt in 1 quart (4 cups) or warm water. Use the mouthwash frequently (before and after eating) throughout the day.

If your food seems tasteless:

  • Change the texture of your foods. For example, you may like mashed potatoes more than baked potatoes.
  • Change the temperature of your foods. Some foods may taste better cold or at room temperature.
  • Choose and make foods that look and smell good to you.
     
  • Use more spices and flavorings, as long as they don’t cause discomfort. For example:
    • Add sauces and condiments (such as soy sauce or ketchup) to your food.
    • Marinate your meats or meat substitutes in salad dressings, fruit juices, or other sauces.
    • Use onion or garlic to flavor your vegetables or meats.
    • Add herbs (such as rosemary, basil, oregano, and mint) to your food.
    • Blend fruit into your milkshakes or yogurt. You can also try mint or coffee-flavored milkshakes.
  • Try sour and tart foods. These may help stimulate your taste.
  • Try alternating bites of different-tasting foods within a meal. For example, try:
    • Cottage cheese and pineapple.
    • Canned fruit and plain yogurt.
    • Grilled cheese and tomato juice.

If there’s a bitter or metallic taste in your mouth:

  • Rinse your mouth with water before meals.
  • If meats taste bitter, try marinating them in sauces or fruit juices or squeeze lemon juice on them. Only do this if your mouth isn’t sore.
  • Include meat substitutes (such as dairy products and beans) for protein.
  • Use plastic utensils.
  • Try sugar-free mints or gum.
  • Avoid canned food items (such as sauces and soups). Choose items in a glass or plastic jar or a box instead.

If foods taste too sweet:

  • Add some salt to the food.
  • Dilute sweet drinks with water.
  • If everything tastes sweet, try more acidic foods (such as foods with lemon).

If foods taste or smell different than usual:

  • Avoid foods with strong odors (smells). Because beef and fish have the strongest odors, try eating poultry, eggs, and dairy products.
  • When cooking, open lids of pots and pans away from you so that the smell moves away from you, not towards you.
  • Open windows while cooking if the smell of foods cooking bothers you.
  • Choose foods that can be eaten cold or at room temperature. Let foods cool down before eating. Room-temperature or cold foods have less smell than warm foods.
  • Experiment with different seasonings and food combinations, such as:
    • Adding sauces to foods.
    • Changing the temperature and texture of foods.
  • If your mouth isn’t sore, try tart foods (such as lemon wedges or citrus fruits) to stimulate taste.
  • Rinse your mouth out before and after you eat.
  • Drink small sips of liquid throughout your meals to rinse out the taste of the food.

Early satiety

Early satiety is when you feel full more quickly than usual when you eat. For example, you may feel like you can’t eat any more when you’re only halfway through your meal. Early satiety can be caused by surgery on your stomach, constipation, some medications, and other things.

If you feel full too quickly, try to:

  • Eat small, frequent meals.
  • Drink most of your liquids before or after meals. Drinking during your meals can make you feel full more quickly.
  • Add foods that are rich in calories and protein (for example, nonfat dry milk, wheat germ, nut butters, avocado, oils, butter) to your meals.
  • Engage in light physical activity (such as walking) after you eat. This helps encourage food to move through your digestive system.

Nausea and vomiting

Nausea is a feeling of stomach upset or queasiness. Nausea can be caused by radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery. It can also be caused by pain, medication, and infection.

If you have nausea, you may also have vomiting (throwing up). If you’re vomiting, try your best to follow the suggestions in this section. Be sure to keep yourself well hydrated with electrolyte-rich beverages. Read the “Staying hydrated” section earlier in this resource for examples.

Below are suggestions for managing your nausea through nutrition. Ask your doctor or nurse if you need an antiemetic (medication to prevent or treat nausea and vomiting).

Foods to Try Foods to Avoid
Starchy, low-fat, bland foods, such as:
  • Dry toast, crackers, and bagels
  • Angel food cake and vanilla wafers
  • Sherbet, low-fat ice cream, or frozen yogurt
  • Gelatin
  • Canned, unsweetened fruit
Cold foods, such as:
  • Cold proteins (such as skinless chicken, cheeses, and yogurts)
  • Light pasta salads
  • Popsicles
  • Chilled clear liquids (such as nutritional supplements (Ensure Clear) and juices diluted with water)
  • High-fat, overly spicy, or overly sweet foods
  • Fatty meats
  • Fried foods (such as eggs and French fries)
  • Soups with heavy cream
  • Creamed vegetables
  • High-fat, high-sugar pastries, doughnuts, and cookies
  • Foods made with heavy spices (such as pepper or chili pepper, onion, hot sauce, or salad dressing)
High-fat foods may stay in your stomach longer and are harder to digest. Many of these foods have strong odors or flavors that can cause nausea or make it worse.

General tips

  • Pay attention to the amount of food you eat. Eating too much can stress your stomach.
  • Try ready-made foods (such as take-out foods or frozen dinners) to prevent nausea while you cook or make foods. If you need to, ask others to cook for you.
  • If food odors make you nauseated:
    • Try cold foods (such as a sandwich or salad). These foods don’t smell as strong as hot foods.
    • Leave the area while hot foods are cooking, if you can.
    • Have someone else plate your food for you.
    • Let your food cool down for a few minutes before eating.
    • Avoid places with strong odors.
  • Eat small, frequent meals. This can stop you from getting too full and help you take in more food throughout the day.
  • Drink most liquids between your meals. This will help you keep from feeling full too fast or feeling bloated.
  • Eat slowly and chew your foods well. Avoid activity right after meals. These things help with digestion.
  • Eat your meals in a pleasant setting. For example:
    • Choose a relaxing place that has a comfortable temperature.
    • Eat with friends or family. This may help distract you from your nausea.
    • Wear loose-fitting clothing to stay comfortable.
  • If you have nausea in the morning, keep crackers or dry toast next to your bed. Eat them before getting out of bed.
  • Avoid eating your favorite foods right before or after treatments. If you’re often nauseous during or after treatments, you may start to dislike these foods.

If nausea is a lasting problem for you, it may be useful to keep a food diary. A food diary is a record of the foods you eat, the time you ate them, and the setting in which you ate them. Record any situations when you became nauseated. Discuss this with your doctor, nurse, or clinical dietitian nutritionist.

Fatigue

Fatigue is the most common side effect of cancer and cancer treatments. It may keep you from doing your usual daily activities. It may also impact your quality of life and make it harder for you to tolerate your treatment.

Fatigue can be caused by many other symptoms, such as:

  • Poor appetite
  • Depression
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea or constipation

Managing these symptoms can also help with fatigue. If you have any of the above things, tell your healthcare provider.

Another way to manage fatigue is to save your energy. You can do this by:

  • Making larger portions of foods for yourself, if there are days you have more energy. Freeze individual meal portions for an easy frozen meal on a day you aren’t feeling up for cooking.
  • Asking family and friends for help with shopping and making your meals.
  • Buying ready-made foods when your energy is low.
  • Keeping ingredients and utensils that you use often close at hand.
  • Sitting instead of standing when cooking.
  • Eating small, frequent, high-calorie meals or snacks. If you do this, your body may not need as much energy to digest your food.

If you live alone and can’t shop for food or make meals, you may be eligible for food programs (such as God’s Love We Deliver or Meals on Wheels). There may be age or income requirements for some programs. Your social worker can give you more information.

For some people, doing physical activity may actually increase your energy levels. Talk with your doctor about doing light-to-moderate intensity activities (such as walking or gardening). Research shows that some physical activity can make it easier to do your usual daily activities, boost your energy level, increase your appetite, and improve your mood.

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Recipes

Do not add raw eggs to your shakes. Raw eggs can cause food poisoning.

If you have diabetes or high blood sugar, these recipes may not be appropriate for you. Talk with your clinical dietitian nutritionist.

Double Milk

Ingredients and Instructions Nutritional Content
  • 1 quart of whole milk
  • 1 envelope (about 1 cup) of non-fat dry milk powder (to make 1 quart of product)
Mix in the blender and refrigerate.
Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 230 calories
  • 16 grams of protein

Standard Milkshake

Ingredients and Instructions Nutritional Content
  • 1 cup of Double Milk
  • 2 cups of super premium ice cream (any flavor)
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar or syrup
Mix in the blender and refrigerate.
Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 470 calories
  • 11 grams of protein
 

Standard Yogurt Milkshake

Ingredients and Instructions Nutritional Content
This shake is less sweet than the Standard Milkshake. It may be good for people who prefer mild sweetness.
  • 8 ounces of plain yogurt (use low-fat yogurt if you can’t find regular yogurt)
  • 2 cups of super premium ice cream (any flavor)
  • 4 ounces of Double Milk
Mix in the blender and refrigerate.
Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 380 calories
  • 10 grams of protein

Standard Milkshake for People with Diabetes

Ingredients and Instructions Nutritional Content
  • 8 ounces of Double Milk
  • 2 cups of sugar-free ice cream (any flavor)
  • 4 teaspoons of canola or olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of NutraSweet® or other calorie-free sugar substitute (optional)
Mix in the blender and refrigerate.
Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 260 calories
  • 10 grams of protein

Standard Dairy-Free Shake

Ingredients and Instructions Nutritional Content
  • 8 ounces of oat milk, soy milk, or almond milk
  • 2 cups of dairy free ice-cream (any flavor)
  • 4 tablespoons of canola or olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup or sugar (don’t add this ingredient if you’re using sweetened non-dairy milk)
  • For vanilla shakes only, add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract
Mix in the blender and refrigerate.
Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 285 calories
  • 6 grams of protein
 

Vanilla Almond Shake

Ingredients and Instructions Nutritional Content
Use vanilla ice cream in the Standard Milkshake recipe and add the following:
  • ½ cup of ground blanched (skinless) almonds
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract (add more sweetener, if desired)
Mix in the blender and refrigerate.
Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 480 calories
  • 15 grams of protein

Chocolate Almond Shake

Ingredients and Instructions Nutritional Content
  • Use vanilla ice cream in the Standard Milkshake recipe.
  • Substitute ½ cup of chocolate syrup for the other sweeteners in the Standard Milkshake recipe.
  • Add ½ cup of ground blanched almonds.
Mix in the blender and refrigerate.
Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 500 calories
  • 13 grams of protein

Maple Walnut or Pecan Shake

Ingredients and Instructions Nutritional Content
  • 1 cup of Double Milk
  • 2 cups of super premium vanilla ice cream
  • ¼ cup of maple syrup
  • ½ cup of ground walnuts or pecans
Mix in the blender and refrigerate.
Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 480 calories
  • 12 grams of protein

Peanut Butter Shake

Ingredients and Instructions Nutritional Content
  • Add ½ cup of peanut butter to any standard shake recipe.
  • Substitute ½ cup of sweetened condensed milk or chocolate syrup for the other sweeteners in the standard shake recipe.
Mix in the blender and refrigerate.
Per 8-ounce serving with sweetened condensed milk:
  • 660 calories
  • 19 grams of protein
Per 8-ounce serving with chocolate syrup:
  • 640 calories
  • 16 grams of protein

Fruity Shake

Ingredients and Instructions Nutritional Content
Add the following to any standard shake recipe:
  • 1 cup of frozen, fresh, or canned fruit such as strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, mangoes, or peaches
  • You can add more sweetener, depending on how tart the fruit tastes.
Mix in the blender and refrigerate.
Per 8-ounce serving:
  • 380 calories
  • 8 grams of protein

Cherry Vanilla or Chocolate Cherry Shake

Ingredients and Instructions Nutritional Content
Add the following to any standard shake recipe:
  • 1 cup of pitted cherries
  • ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract or substitute ½ cup of chocolate syrup for the sweeteners in the standard shake recipe
Mix in the blender and refrigerate.
Per 8-ounce serving of Cherry Vanilla:
  • 380 calories
  • 8 grams of protein
Per 8-ounce serving of Chocolate Cherry:
  • 430 calories
  • 7 grams of protein

Other shake variations

Experiment with other ingredients after you have tried the shake recipes in this resource. You can use any of the ingredients below to change the flavor of and add more calories to your shakes.

  • Peanut butter and bananas
  • Bananas and walnuts
  • Pineapple and coconut cream*
  • Oreo® cookies*
  • M&M’s®*
  • Fudge (any flavor)
  • Chocolate mint patties (such as York® peppermint patties)
  • Peanut butter cups*
  • Flavored liqueurs* (with your doctor’s approval and for occasional use only)

If you have diabetes or high blood sugar, ingredients with an asterisk (*) may not be appropriate for you. Talk with your clinical dietitian nutritionist before trying them.

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Sample Menus

Use these sample menus to get ideas for making your own high-calorie, high-protein meals. The menus are divided into 6 small meals and snacks throughout the day. Eating smaller, more frequent meals and snacks can be easier and help you get the calories and protein you need.

If it’s hard for you to make your meals, ask family or friends for help. Try making meals in batches on days when you have the energy and freeze them to eat later. You can also eat ready-made foods such as frozen dinners, whole cooked chickens, or take-out foods.

Key points

  • If you have diabetes or high blood sugar, use products that are unsweetened or are made with sugar substitutes. Limit the amount of fruit juice that you drink.
  • The amount of liquid in the meal plans is small so you don’t feel full soon after you start eating. Try to drink most of your liquids between your meals. Most adults need 8 to 10 (8-ounce) glasses of liquids per day. This includes juices, water, milkshakes, and soups. It also includes solids that become liquid at room temperature (such as Italian ices).
  • If you’re lactose-intolerant:
    • Drink lactose-free milk (such as Lactaid® milk), rice milk, almond milk, or soy milk instead of dairy milk. If you have or had breast cancer, ask your doctor or clinical dietitian nutritionist if it’s okay for you to eat foods with soy. Try the sweetened versions of these milks for extra calories.
    • Take Lactaid tablets or drops with other dairy foods, such as ice cream or soft cheeses.
    • If you have mild to moderate lactose intolerance, you may be able to eat foods with small amounts of lactose (such as hard aged cheeses and yogurt). Many people are able to eat these without discomfort.
  • If you’re vegetarian or vegan, eat more nuts, seeds, and oils to increase your calories. If you’re vegan, take special care to eat foods rich in vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and zinc. Speak with a clinical dietitian nutritionist if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet.
  • These sample menus contain fewer than the 5 to 9 recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables combined. This is because fruits and vegetables are low in calories but are filling. It’s recommended that you focus on foods with more calories and protein to avoid losing weight. If you find that you aren’t meeting the minimum daily recommended servings, speak with your doctor about whether you can take a multivitamin to make up for any nutrients you may be missing.
  • See the “Recipes” section for recipes for Double Milk and the shakes listed in the sample menus.

Regular diet sample menus

Meal Regular Diet Sample Menu
Breakfast
  • 1-egg omelet with 1 ounce of grated cheese
  • small croissant with butter and jelly
  • 4 ounces of orange juice
Mid-morning snack
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and 1 tablespoon of jelly on 4 crackers
  • 4 ounces of Double Milk
Lunch
  • ½ sandwich of grilled turkey and Swiss cheese on rye bread
  • 4 ounces of hot chocolate made with Double Milk and topped with whipped cream
Afternoon snack
  • ½ cup of trail mix (mixed dried fruits and nuts)
  • 4 ounces of cranberry juice
Dinner
  • 1 (2-inch) slice of quiche
  • ½ cup of broccoli with cream or cheese sauce
  • 4 ounces of peach nectar
Evening snack
  • ½ cup of super premium* vanilla ice cream topped with chopped nuts, maple syrup, and whipped cream

*Super premium ice cream has about 100 more calories per serving than regular ice cream. It also has about 20 grams of fat per ½-cup serving.

Meal Regular Diet Sample Menu
Breakfast
  • 2 small pancakes made with Double Milk or Half n’ Half with butter and syrup
  • 4 ounces of pineapple juice
Mid-morning snack
  • 4 graham crackers with peanut butter
  • ¼ cup of yogurt
  • 4 ounces of Double Milk
Lunch
  • ½ cheeseburger with mayonnaise and ketchup
  • 15 French fries
  • 4 ounces of chocolate milk made with Double Milk
Afternoon snack
  • 1 slice of bread with avocado
  • 4 ounces of pear nectar
Dinner
  • 1 (2-inch square) portion of meat lasagna
  • ½ cup of peas with onions and butter or cream sauce
  • 4 ounces of sweetened iced tea
Evening snack
  • ½ cup of custard topped with whipped cream

 

Meal Regular Diet Sample Menu
Breakfast
  • 4 ounces of pear nectar
  • 1 slice of French toast with ¼ cup chopped nuts, butter, and syrup
Mid-morning snack
  • 8 ounces of peach yogurt
  • Fruity Shake
Lunch
  • ½ cup of macaroni and cheese with extra cheese grated on top
  • ½ cup of cauliflower with breadcrumbs sautéed in butter
  • 4 ounces of apricot nectar
Afternoon snack
  • 8 ounces of fruit yogurt
Dinner
  • 2 ounces of steak
  • ½ cup of sautéed green beans with slivered almonds
  • 4 ounces of grape juice
Evening snack
  • 1 (2-inch) slice of apple pie with 1 ounce of cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup of super premium* ice cream

*Super premium ice cream has about 100 more calories per serving than regular ice cream. It also has about 20 grams of fat per ½-cup serving.

Meal Regular Diet Sample Menu
Breakfast
  • 1 egg, cheese and spinach omelet sautéed in butter
  • 4 ounces of orange juice
Mid-morning snack
  • ½ cup of roasted peanuts
  • ¼ cup dried fruit
Lunch
  • ½ of a tuna fish sandwich made with mayonnaise
  • 4 ounces of mango nectar
Afternoon snack
  • 10 tortilla chips with nacho cheese dip or guacamole
  • 4 ounces of sweetened iced tea
Dinner
  • Chicken pot pie
  • 4 ounces of raspberry Fruity Shake
Evening snack
  • ½ cup of rice pudding topped with whipped cream
  • 4 ounces of hot chocolate made with milk

 

Meal Regular Diet Sample Menu
Breakfast
  • ¾ cup of granola or Raisin Bran cereal
  • 4 ounces of Milk
Mid-morning snack
  • 2 deviled eggs
  • 4 ounces of pear nectar
Lunch
  • ½ of a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich
  • 4 ounces of sweetened lemonade
Afternoon snack
  • 1 celery stalk filled with cream cheese or herb cheese spread
  • 4 ounces of apricot nectar
Dinner
  • 2 ounces of fried chicken
  • ½ cup of creamed spinach
  • ½ cup of mashed sweet potatoes made with butter
Evening snack
  • Graham cracker “sandwich” with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and mini marshmallows
  • 4 ounces of chocolate Standard Milkshake

 

Meal Regular Diet Sample Menu
Breakfast
  • 1 blueberry pancake made with milk or Half n’ Half with butter and syrup
  • 1 egg
  • 4 ounces of hot chocolate made with Milk
Mid-morning snack
  • ¼ cup of pistachios
  • 4 dried apricots
  • 4 ounces of apple juice
Lunch
  • 1 slice of whole-grain bread topped with almond butter and honey
  • 4 ounces of Double Milk
Afternoon snack
  • 2 tbsp hummus and 10 pita chips or pretzels
  • 4 ounces of grape juice
Dinner
  • 1 cup of baked ziti made with whole-milk ricotta cheese and mozzarella
  • ½ cup of broccoli with garlic and oil
  • 4 ounces of sparkling water and a splash of juice
Evening snack
  • ½ cup of super premium ice cream topped with chocolate syrup, nuts, and whipped cream
  • 4 ounces of Double Milk
 
Meal Regular Diet Sample Menu
Breakfast
  • ⅓ cup of granola
  • ¾ cup of yogurt
  • 4 ounces of apricot nectar
Mid-morning snack
  • A small muffin with butter or cream cheese and jelly
  • 4 ounces of Double Milk
Lunch
  • 1 (3-inch) wedge of chicken and cheese quesadilla topped with sour cream and salsa and/or avocado
  • 4 ounces of apple juice
Afternoon snack
  • ½ cup of roasted cashews
  • 4 ounces of banana
  • Fruity Shake
Dinner
  • 2 ounces of fish baked in a red onion vinaigrette
  • 1 small baked potato topped with sour cream and chives
  • ½ cup of green beans and carrots with butter
  • 4 ounces of cranberry juice
Evening snack
  • ½ cup of strawberries in heavy cream or half and half and topped with sugar
  • 4 ounces of Double Milk

Vegetarian diet sample menus

Meal Vegetarian Diet Sample Menu
Breakfast
  • ¾ cup of cooked oatmeal made with Milk, raisins, walnuts, brown sugar, and butter
  • 4 ounces of hot chocolate Milk
Mid-morning snack
  • ½ bagel with vegetable cream cheese
  • 4 ounces of strawberry Fruity Shake
Lunch
  • ½ of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on whole-grain bread
  • 4 ounces of Double Milk
Afternoon snack
  • 1 cup of popcorn
  • 4 ounces of apple juice
Dinner
  • 1 (2-inch) slice of broccoli and cheese quiche
  • 1 small salad with feta cheese, olives, olive oil, and vinegar
  • 4 ounces of Chocolate Almond Shake
Evening snack
  • 4 tablespoons of hummus on ½ of a toasted pita
  • 4 ounces of peach nectar

 

Meal Vegetarian Diet Sample Menu
Breakfast
  • 1 slice of whole-grain bread
  • 1 ounce of Muenster cheese
  • 4 ounces of orange juice
Mid-morning snack
  • 8 ounces of Peanut Butter Shake
Lunch
  • ½ of a veggie burger with on a bun with ranch dressing, pickle, and onion
  • 15 French fries
  • 4 ounces of seltzer water and juice
Afternoon snack
  • 4 tablespoons of guacamole
  • 8 tortilla chips
  • 4 ounces of peach nectar
Dinner
  • 1 cup of fettuccine Alfredo
  • ½ cup of spinach sautéed in garlic and oil
  • 4 ounces of grape juice
Evening snack
  • 1 small banana dipped in chocolate syrup and rolled in chopped peanuts
  • 4 ounces of almond milk

 

Meal Vegetarian Diet Sample Menu
Breakfast
  • 1 fried egg
  • 1 slice of whole-grain bread with butter and raspberry jam
  • 4 ounces of apricot nectar
Mid-morning snack
  • 4 dried apricots
  • ¼ cup of almonds
  • 4 ounces of vanilla Standard Yogurt Shake
Lunch
  • ½ of a falafel sandwich with extra tahini
  • 4 ounces of lemonade
Afternoon snack
  • 4 graham crackers with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 4 ounces of Double Milk
Dinner
  • 1 cup of pasta with pesto sauce
  • ½ cup of chilled asparagus tips with blue cheese dressing
  • 4 ounces of grape juice
Evening snack
  • 1 baked apple with cinnamon sugar, butter, and walnuts
  • 4 ounces of vanilla soy milk

Vegan diet sample menus

Meal Vegan Diet Sample Menu
Breakfast
  • ½ cup of muesli with slices of fresh peach
  • 4 ounces of soy, rice, or almond milk
Mid-morning snack
  • 1 cup of dairy-free Maple Walnut Shake
  • ½ cup of roasted pistachios
Lunch
  • ½ cup of linguini with garlic and oil
  • 1 veggie meatball
  • 1 small slice of garlic bread
  • 4 ounces of rice milk
Afternoon snack
  • Guacamole with tortilla chips
  • 4 ounces of apricot nectar
Dinner
  • ½ cup of tofu and white bean casserole
  • ½ cup of brown rice
  • ½ cup of sautéed spinach with roasted pine nuts
  • 4 ounces of peach nectar
Evening snack
  • 1 (2-inch) slice of silken tofu “cheese” cake
  • 4 ounces of vanilla Dairy-free Milkshake

 

Meal Vegan Diet Sample Menu
Breakfast
  • 1 soy sausage link
  • 2 small pancakes made with soy milk, vegan butter, and maple syrup
  • 4 ounces of pineapple juice
Mid-morning snack
  • 2 tablespoons hummus and 10 pita chips or pretzels
Lunch
  • ½ veggie burger with non-dairy cheese on a bun with vegan mayonnaise, ketchup, pickle, and onion
  • 15 French fries
  • 4 ounces of dairy-free Vanilla Almond Shake
Afternoon snack
  • ½ cup of fruit and nut granola
  • 4 ounces of peach nectar
Dinner
  • 1 cup of bean chili topped with soy cheese
  • 1 slice of dairy- and egg-free corn bread
  • 4 ounces of sparkling cider
Evening snack
  • ½ cup of blueberries topped with sugar and non-dairy whipped topping
  • 4 ounces of cranberry juice
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Resources

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND)
www.eatright.org/public
AND is a professional organization for registered dietitians. The website has information about the latest nutrition guidelines and research and can help you find a dietician in your area. The academy also publishes The Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, which has over 600 pages of food, nutrition, and health information.

American Institute for Cancer Research
www.aicr.org
800-843-8114
Has information on diet and cancer prevention research and education as well as recipes.

Cook For Your Life
www.cookforyourlife.org
Many recipe ideas for patients with cancer. Recipes can be filtered by diet type or treatment side effect.

 

FDA Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition
www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/CentersOffices/OfficeofFoods/CFSAN/default.htm
Has helpful information on food safety.

MSK Integrative Medicine Service
646-888-0800
www.mskcc.org/integrative-medicine
Our Integrative Medicine Service offers patients many services to complement (go along with) traditional medical care, including music therapy, mind/body therapies, dance and movement therapy, yoga, and touch therapy.

The Integrative Medicine Service also provides counseling on nutrition and dietary supplements. You can find more information about herbal and other dietary supplements at www.mskcc.org/herbs.

MSK Nutrition Website
www.mskcc.org/nutrition
Use our diet plans and recipes to help with healthy eating habits during and after cancer treatment

National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements
http://ods.od.nih.gov
301-435-2920
Has up-to-date information on dietary supplements.

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Contact Information for Nutrition Services at MSK

Any MSK patient is welcome to make an appointment with one of our clinical dietitian nutritionists for medical nutrition therapy. Our clinical dietitian nutritionists are available for appointments at multiple outpatient locations within Manhattan and the following regional site locations:

  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Basking Ridge
    136 Mountain View Boulevard
    Basking Ridge, NJ 07920
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Bergen
    225 Summit Avenue
    Montvale, NJ 07645
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Commack
    650 Commack Road
    Commack, NY 11725
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Monmouth
    480 Red Hill Road
    Middletown, NJ 07748
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Nassau
    1101 Hempstead Turnpike
    Uniondale, NY 11553
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Westchester
    500 Westchester Avenue
    West Harrison, NY 10604

To schedule an appointment with a clinical dietitian nutritionist at any of our locations, contact our nutrition scheduling office at 212-639-7312.

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