Foods To Eat After Chemotherapy

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Proper nutrition remains vital for patients battling to overcome cancer. However, chemotherapy often makes recovery difficult due to the wide range of side effects that individuals experience during and after treatments. There are ways to get around the symptoms and trauma associated with chemotherapy, which help ensure that patients get adequate amounts of nutrients.

Appetite Loss

Try eating five to six smaller meals throughout the day. In this way the sight of a full plate of food does not seem overwhelming while encouraging a sufficient supply of protein and calories. Veer toward high calorie, high protein foods that may include peanut butter, milkshakes and casseroles. Keep a supply of healthy snacks readily available. Be adventurous, explore different recipes and try something new. If possible, try to consume at least 1/3 of a day's caloric and protein intake for breakfast.

Swallowing Difficulty

When the throat and esophagus are irritated and swollen, liquified or soft foods are more easily tolerated. Puree soups or stews. Make high protein milkshakes or smoothies. Consider custards, puddings and yogurt for the rich calcium content. The bacteria in yogurt also serves to boost the body's immune system.


Eat and drink slowly during meal times. Sip on water or another liquid while eating. After a meal, remain upright for 30 to 60 minutes. Avoid extremely warm, fatty, greasy or spicy foods. Sweet foods and foods emitting strong odors can also induce nausea. Even if hungry, resist the urge to eat large meals.

Constipation or Diarrhea

Pain medications are notorious for causing constipation. Drink fluids throughout the day. Consume natural fiber in the form of fruits, vegetables or whole grains. The opposite is true if dealing with diarrhea. Avoid warm foods, high fiber and spicy foods along with fatty, fried foods, dried or raw fruits and vegetables. Fluids are also important. Electrolyte imbalances are a possibility. With this in mind, consider applesauce, potatoes, poultry and other salty or potassium rich selections.

Nutrient Dense Food Ideas

Add cheese or chopped, cooked lean meats to omelets and soups. Get calcium and protein by adding cheese to sauces, soups and vegetables. Cheese can also be used to mash potatoes or incorporated as toppings for casseroles and salads. Spread nut butters on apples, bananas or celery. Apples can also be combined with cheese slices and topped with drizzled honey if desired.

If weight loss has been a problem, forget low-fat or fat-free foods. Use real butter on hot cereal, cooked vegetables, pasta, potatoes and rice. Moisten sandwiches with butter, cream cheese or mayonnaise. Cream cheese can also be enjoyed as a snack when combined with a favorite jam or peanut butter on crackers. Perhaps indulge in a snack of guacamole and tortilla chips. For batters, casseroles, gravies or soup, consider using half and half, real cream or sour cream. Enjoy cream sauces over pastas or vegetables. Top cakes, French toast or waffles with fruits, peanut butter, puddings or sweetened condensed milk.

Cite this page: N., Sam M.S., "Foods To Eat After Chemotherapy," in, January 10, 2016, (accessed August 16, 2022).