Source: Cancer Resource Room
Eating Tips During Treatment
Eating a healthy, balanced diet and drinking
plenty of liquids are important during
chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Food
and liquids give our bodies the fluids,
nutrients, vitamins, minerals, proteins,
fats and carbohydrates we need to function.
Food also gives us energy and helps us
- Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses
of liquids every day.
- Good liquids are water; non-acidic
fruit juices (example - apple
juice, cranberry juice); milk;
soups; gelatin; yogurt; popsicles,
- Limit liquids that
have caffeine or alcohol
because they can cause dehydration.
- Stay on a regular meal schedule whenever
you can. Try not to skip meals. Try
to snack between meals.
- Puddings, fruit, cheese, crackers
and ice cream make good snacks.
- Carbohydrates supply your body with
the calories it needs to function.
- Good sources of carbohydrates
include potatoes, pasta,
bread, cereal and cooked
vegetables. Try to choose
whole grain over "white" carbohydrates
(example - eat brown rice instead
of white rice).
- Protein helps you keep up strength
during treatment, and helps you heal
after treatment .
- Good sources of
protein include chicken,
turkey, lean beef, soy foods,
beans, fish, cheese, eggs
- Eat five or more servings of fruits
and vegetables every day.
- Some examples
are citrus fruits, apples,
carrots, green leafy vegetables
- If you have
a low white blood cell
count (WBC), try to avoid
eating at salad bars and
wash raw fruits and vegetables
very well. This will help
prevent you from getting
sick from food.
Improving Your Appetite
It is common for patients with cancer
to lose their appetite during their diagnosis
and treatment. You may not feel like
eating anything. Here are some ideas
to help improve your appetite.
When Eating Is Difficult
- Give yourself smaller portions. It
may be easier to eat small frequent
meals than larger ones.
- Drink a high calorie beverage (such
as Ensure or Boost), or eat a snack
that does not need to be cooked.
Sometimes, this is more appealing
than large hot meals.
- Try eating in a place you don't usually
- Have family and friends eat with
- Prepare meals that look good. Use
different colors, shapes and smells.
- Look through cookbooks or magazines
to find foods that look good to you.
- Use all of your senses. Place flowers
on the table. Listen to music.
- Eat out occasionally. Restaurants
have many foods to choose from. This
can increase your appetite. Or, eat
at a friend's house and let them
do the work.
- Freeze meals for times where you
are too tired to cook.
- Remember that eating is one part
of your cancer treatment that you
can control. You may not be able
to control everything during your
treatment, but you can control what
You may have side effects during chemotherapy
or radiation therapy that make eating
and drinking difficult. Do not worry
if you are unable to eat for a brief
period of time. If this happens, try
to eat small, bland meals as often as
Talk to your doctor, nurse or nutritionist
about how to manage specific side effects,
such as nausea and vomiting, diarrhea
and constipation, and difficulty swallowing.
The members of your health care team
can give you ideas about how to get enough
liquids, calories, nutrients, carbohydrates
and proteins when cancer treatment affects
your ability to eat.
To Search Pub Med, please see below.
and selected health professional journals
& Education Programs
We know that being diagnosed with cancer can be stressful for you and your
family. We offer a variety of cancer support services to help patients and
families gain the support and information they will need to meet the challenges
For example, we offer several educational
programs on nutrition such as: "Eating
Healthy for Your Immune System" and "Eating
the Calories You Need" plus additional
support and wellness programs. Look for the
current offerings in the HOPES