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Eating Hints: Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment

  • Posted: 09/30/2009

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Lists of Foods and Drinks

On this page:


 Clear Liquids

This list may help if you have appetite loss, constipation, diarrhea, or vomiting.

TypesLiquids
Soups
  • Bouillon
  • Clear broth
  • Consommé
Drinks
  • Clear fruit juices (such as apple, cranberry, or grape)
  • Clear carbonated soda or water
  • Flavored water
  • Fruit-flavored drinks
  • Fruit punch
  • Sports drinks
  • Water
  • Weak tea with no caffeine
Desserts and snacks
  • Fruit ices made without fruit pieces or milk
  • Gelatin
  • Hard candy
  • Honey
  • Jelly
  • Popsicles
Meal replacements and supplements
  • Clear nutrition supplements (such as Resource® Breeze, Carnation® Instant Breakfast® juice, and Enlive!®)

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 Full-Liquid Foods

This list may help if you have appetite loss, vomiting, or weight loss.

TypesFoods and Drinks
Cereals
  • Refined hot cereals (such as Cream of Wheat®, Cream of Rice®, instant oatmeal, and grits)
Soups
  • Bouillon
  • Broth
  • Soup that has been strained or put through a blender
Drinks
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Coffee
  • Fruit drinks
  • Fruit punch
  • Milk
  • Milkshakes
  • Smoothies
  • Sports drinks
  • Tea
  • Tomato juice
  • Vegetable juice
  • Water
Desserts and snacks
  • Custard (soft or baked)
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Fruit purees that are watered down
  • Gelatin
  • Honey
  • Ice cream with no chunks (such as nuts or cookie pieces)
  • Ice milk
  • Jelly
  • Pudding
  • Sherbet
  • Sorbet
  • Syrup
  • Yogurt (plain or vanilla)
Meal replacement and supplements
  • Instant breakfast drinks (such as Carnation® Instant Breakfast®)
  • Liquid meal replacements (such as Ensure® and Boost®)
  • Clear nutrition supplements (such as Resource® Breeze, Carnation® Instant Breakfast® juice, and Enlive!®)

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 Foods and Drinks That Are Easy on the Stomach

This list may help if you have nausea or once your vomiting is under control.

TypesFoods and Drinks
Soups
  • Clear broth (such as chicken, vegetable, or beef)
  • All kinds (strain or puree, if needed), except those made with foods that cause gas, such as dried beans and peas, broccoli, or cabbage
Drinks
  • Clear carbonated drinks that have lost their fizz
  • Cranberry or grape juice
  • Fruit-flavored drinks
  • Fruit punch
  • Milk
  • Sports drinks
  • Tea
  • Vegetable juices
  • Water
Main meals and other food
  • Avocado
  • Beef (tender cuts)
  • Cheese, hard (mild types, such as American)
  • Cheese, soft or semi-soft (such as cottage cheese or cream cheese)
  • Chicken or turkey (broiled or baked without skin)
  • Eggs
  • Fish (poached or broiled)
  • Noodles
  • Pasta (plain)
  • Peanut butter, creamy (and other nut butters)
  • Potatoes, without skins (boiled or baked)
  • Pretzels
  • Refined cold cereals (such as corn flakes, Rice Krispies®, Rice Chex®, and Corn Chex®)
  • Refined hot cereals (such as Cream of Wheat®)
  • Saltine crackers
  • Tortillas (white flour)
  • Vegetables (tender, well-cooked)
  • White bread
  • White rice
  • White toast
Desserts and snacks
  • Angel food cake
  • Bananas
  • Canned fruit, such as applesauce, peaches, and pears
  • Custard
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Gelatin
  • Ice cream
  • Ice milk
  • Lemon drop candy
  • Popsicles
  • Pudding
  • Sherbet
  • Sorbet
  • Yogurt (plain or vanilla)
Meal replacements and supplements
  • Instant breakfast drinks (such as Carnation® Instant Breakfast®)
  • Liquid meal replacements (such as Ensure®)
  • Clear nutrition supplements (such as Resource® Breeze, Carnation® Instant Breakfast® juice, and Enlive!®)

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 Low-Fiber Foods

This list may help if you have diarrhea.

TypesFoods and Drinks
Main meals and other foods
  • Chicken or turkey (skinless and baked, broiled, or grilled)
  • Cooked refined cereals (such as Cream of Rice®, instant oatmeal, and grits)
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Noodles
  • Potatoes, without skins (boiled or baked)
  • White bread
  • White rice
Fruits and vegetables
  • Carrots (cooked)
  • Canned fruit (such as peaches, pears, and applesauce)
  • Fruit juice
  • Mushrooms
  • String beans (cooked)
  • Vegetable juice
Snacks
  • Angel food cake
  • Animal crackers
  • Custard
  • Gelatin
  • Ginger snaps
  • Graham crackers
  • Saltine crackers
  • Sherbet
  • Sorbet
  • Vanilla wafers
  • Yogurt (plain or vanilla)

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 High-Fiber Foods

This list may help if you have constipation or weight gain.

TypesFoods and Drinks
Main meals and other foods
  • Bran muffins
  • Bran or whole-grain cereals
  • Cooked dried or canned peas and beans (such as lentils or pinto, black, red, or kidney beans)
  • Peanut butter (and other nut butters)
  • Soups with vegetables and beans (such as lentil and split pea)
  • Whole-grain cereals (such as oatmeal and shredded wheat)
  • Whole-wheat bread
  • Whole-wheat pasta
Fruits and vegetables
  • Apples
  • Berries (such as blueberries, blackberries, and strawberries)
  • Broccoli
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Corn
  • Dried fruit (such as apricots, dates, prunes, and raisins)
  • Green leafy vegetables (such as spinach, lettuce, kale, and collard greens)
  • Peas
  • Potatoes with skins
  • Spinach
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Yams
Snacks
  • Bran snack bars
  • Granola
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Seeds (such as pumpkin or sunflower)
  • Trail mix

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 Foods and Drinks That Are Easy To Chew and Swallow

This list may help if you have dry mouth, sore mouth, sore throat, or trouble swallowing.

TypesFoods and Drinks
Main meals and other foods
  • Baby food
  • Casseroles
  • Chicken salad
  • Cooked refined cereals (such as Cream of Wheat®, Cream of Rice®, instant oatmeal, and grits)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs (soft boiled or scrambled)
  • Egg salad
  • Macaroni and cheese
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Peanut butter, creamy
  • Pureed cooked foods
  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Tuna salad
  • Custard
Desserts and Snacks
  • Flan
  • Fruit (pureed or baby food)
  • Gelatin
  • Ice cream
  • Milkshakes
  • Puddings
  • Sherbet
  • Smoothies
  • Soft fruits (such as bananas or applesauce)
  • Sorbet
  • Yogurt (plain or vanilla)
Meal replacements and supplements
  • Instant breakfast drinks (such as Carnation® Instant Breakfast®)
  • Liquid meal replacements (such as Ensure®)
  • Clear nutrition supplements (such as Resource® Breeze, Carnation® Instant Breakfast® juice, and Enlive!®)

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 Quick and Easy Snacks

This list may help if you have appetite loss.

Types of Foods and DrinksExamples
Drinks
  • Chocolate milk
  • Instant breakfast drinks
  • Juices
  • Milk
  • Milkshakes
Main meals and other foods
  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Cheese, hard or semisoft
  • Crackers
  • Cream soups
  • Hard-boiled and deviled eggs
  • Muffins
  • Nuts
  • Peanut butter (and other nut butters)
  • Pita bread and hummus
  • Pizza
  • Sandwiches
Fruits and vegetables
  • Applesauce
  • Fresh or canned fruit
  • Vegetables (raw or cooked)
Desserts and snacks
  • Cakes and cookies made with whole grains, fruits, nuts, wheat germ, or granola
  • Custard
  • Dips made with cheese, beans, or sour cream
  • Frozen yogurt
  • Gelatin
  • Granola
  • Granola bars
  • Ice cream
  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Popsicles
  • Puddings
  • Sherbet
  • Sorbet
  • Trail mix
  • Yogurt

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 Ways To Add Protein

This list may help if you have appetite loss, sore throat, trouble swallowing, or weight loss.

TypesHow To Use
Hard or semisoft cheese
  • Melt on:
    • Sandwiches
    • Bread
    • Muffins
    • Tortillas
    • Hamburgers
    • Hot dogs
    • Meats and fish
    • Vegetables
    • Eggs
    • Desserts
    • Stewed fruit
    • Pies
  • Grate and add to:
    • Soups
    • Sauces
    • Casseroles
    • Vegetable dishes
    • Mashed potatoes
    • Rice
    • Noodles
    • Meatloaf
Cottage cheese/ricotta cheese
  • Mix with or use to stuff fruits and vegetables
  • Add to:
    • Casseroles
    • Spaghetti
    • Noodles
    • Egg dishes (such as omelets, scrambled eggs, and soufflés)
Milk
  • Use milk instead of water in drinks and in cooking
  • Use in hot cereal, soups, cocoa, and pudding
Nonfat instant dry milk
  • Add to milk and milk drinks (such as pasteurized eggnog and milkshakes)
  • Use in:
    • Casseroles
    • Meatloaf
    • Breads
    • Muffins
    • Sauces
    • Cream soups
    • Mashed potatoes
    • Macaroni and cheese
    • Pudding
    • Custard
    • Other milk-based desserts
Meal replacements, supplements,
and protein powder
  • Use "instant breakfast powder" in milk drinks and desserts
  • Mix with ice cream, milk, and fruit flavoring for a high-protein milkshake
Ice cream, yogurt, and frozen yogurt
  • Add to:
    • Carbonated drinks
    • Milk drinks (such as milkshakes)
    • Cereal
    • Fruit
    • Gelatin
    • Pies
  • Mix with soft or cooked fruits
  • Make a sandwich of ice cream or frozen yogurt between cake slices, cookies, or graham crackers
  • Mix with breakfast drinks and fruit, such as bananas
Eggs
  • Add chopped hard-boiled eggs to salads, salad dressings, vegetables, casseroles, and creamed meats
  • Make a rich custard with eggs, milk, and sugar
  • Add extra hard-boiled yolks to deviled egg filling and sandwich spread
  • Beat eggs into mashed potatoes, pureed vegetables, and sauces. (Make sure to keep cooking these dishes after adding the eggs because raw eggs may contain harmful bacteria.)
  • Add extra eggs or egg whites to:
    • Custard
    • Puddings
    • Quiches
    • Scrambled eggs
    • Omelets
    • Pancake or French toast batter
Nuts, seeds, and wheat germ
  • Add to:
    • Casseroles
    • Breads
    • Muffins
    • Pancakes
    • Cookies
    • Waffles
  • Sprinkle to:
    • Fruit
    • Cereal
    • Ice cream
    • Yogurt
    • Vegetables
    • Salads
    • Toast
  • Use in place of breadcrumbs in recipes
  • Blend with parsley, spinach, or herbs and cream to make a sauce for noodle, pasta, or vegetable dishes
  • Roll bananas in chopped nuts
Peanut butter and other nut butters
  • Spread on:
    • Sandwiches
    • Toast
    • Muffins
    • Crackers
    • Waffles
    • Pancakes
    • Fruit slices
  • Use as a dip for raw vegetables
  • Blend with milk and other drinks
  • Swirl through soft ice cream and yogurt
Meat, poultry, and fish
  • Add chopped, cooked meat or fish to:
    • Vegetables
    • Salads
    • Casseroles
    • Soups
    • Sauces
    • Biscuit dough
    • Omelets
    • Soufflés
    • Quiches
    • Sandwich fillings
    • Chicken and turkey stuffings
  • Wrap in pie crust or biscuit dough as turnovers
  • Add to stuffed baked potatoes
Beans, legumes, and tofu
  • Add to casseroles, pasta, soup, salad, and grain dishes
  • Mash cooked beans with cheese and milk

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 Ways To Add Calories

This list may help if you have appetite loss, sore throat, trouble swallowing, or weight loss.

TypesHow To Use
Milk
  • Use whole milk instead of low-fat
  • Put on hot or cold cereal
  • Pour on chicken and fish while baking
  • Mix in hamburgers, meatloaf, and croquettes
  • Make hot chocolate with milk
Cheese
  • Melt on top of casseroles, potatoes, and vegetables
  • Add to omelets
  • Add to sandwiches
Granola
  • Use in cookie, muffin, and bread batters
  • Sprinkle on:
    • Vegetables
    • Yogurt
    • Ice cream
    • Pudding
    • Custard
    • Fruit
  • Layer with fruits and bake
  • Mix with dried fruits and nuts for a snack
  • Use in pudding recipes instead of bread or rice
Dried fruits (raisins, prunes, apricots, dates, figs)
  • Plump them in warm water, and eat for breakfast, dessert, or snack
  • Add to:
    • Muffins
    • Cookies
    • Breads
    • Cakes
    • Rice and grain dishes
    • Cereals
    • Puddings
    • Stuffings
    • Cooked vegetables (such as carrots, sweet potatoes, yams, and acorn or butternut squash)
  • Bake in pies and turnovers
  • Combine with nuts or granola for snacks
Eggs
  • Add chopped hard-boiled eggs to salads, salad dressings, vegetables, casseroles, and creamed meats
  • Make a rich custard with eggs, milk, and sugar
  • Add extra hard-boiled yolks to deviled egg filling and sandwich spread
  • Beat eggs into mashed potatoes, pureed vegetables, and sauces. (Make sure to keep cooking these dishes after adding the eggs because raw eggs may contain harmful bacteria.)
  • Add extra eggs or egg whites to:
    • Custards
    • Puddings
    • Quiches
    • Scrambled eggs
    • Omelets
    • Pancake or French toast batter