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Eating Hints for Cancer Patients

Recipes for Better Nutrition During Cancer Treatment

These recipes were especially chosen to help solve the problems discussed here. To be included, the recipes also had to be high in nutritional value, easy to make, good tasting, and usable for the family as well as for the patient. You will find some old favorites -- but calories, protein, or other nutrients have been added. All of the recipes have been taste-tested, and only the favorites from the taste-testing have been included.

At the bottom of each recipe is a chart that gives information about the recipe's protein and calorie content as well as its suitability for the special requirements of cancer patients. Shading is used in two ways:

  • If red shading occurs in a box below "SPECIAL DIETS," it means the recipe is particularly good for that specific diet. If an asterisk appears in one of these boxes, the recipe can be adjusted as indicated in the footnote to make it suitable for that diet.

  • If blue shading occurs in the protein and/or calorie box, the recipe is a rich source of these.

For example, the chart below shows a recipe good for a patient on a low lactose diet and one rich in protein but not particularly high in calories.

Abbreviations: In all recipes, tsp. is teaspoon, tbsp. is tablespoon, oz. is ounce, and lb. is pound; SV is serving. All temperatures are °F.

Note: Some recipes use specific ingredients, such as soy-based nutritional supplements. You may want to try different product brands to see which ones taste best to you. You also can ask a registered dietitian for more helpful suggestions.

Recipe Index


Creamy Potato Salad This light potato salad is mildly seasoned for the sesitive palate.


Creole Sauce This is a quick, flavorful sauce everybody can enjoy on eggs and meat

Quick Barbecue Sauce Use this sauce on hot dogs, chicken, or meatballs

Sweet and Sour Sauce An unexpected favorite, this tangy sauce is often used on meat or chicken

Fresh Peach Sauce The sweet-tart taste of this sauce is a change from sweet syrup. It is good on pancakes and waffles.

Milk-Free Butterscotch Sauce This tasty sauce is good for many toppings.


Peanut Butter Snack Spread This is a high-protein snack of good quality

Granola I Here is a natural fiber snack or cereal.

Granola Bars Try a chewy, delightful bar, great with tea or for a snack for the children with milk.


Macaroni and Cheese Soft, moist, and nourishing, this recipe is just as popular with or without milk.

Cheesy Hamburger Casserole Quickly prepared, this casserole may disappear just as fast at the table!

Robert's Tuna Bake This mild-flavored tuna dish is complemented with a tossed sald.

Tuna Broccoli Cassserole A surprising balance of flavors will please busy cooks and their families.

Simple Meals

Cheese-Spinach Pie This is a simple one-dish meal, a cousin to Quiche Lorraine. It is just the thing needed for a night when you don't want to fuss.

Basic Meatloaf or Meatballs Here is a reliable, mildly flavored recipe which can be adapted to your needs.

Sloppy Joes A favorite of young and old that is easy to eat

Swedish Meatballs These are tender meatballs with gourmet flavor.

Chicken Supreme Supremely simple to make, this is a delightfully seasoned entrée.

Chicken Skillet Supper Tender and lightly seasoned, this simple dish can be a complete meal with rice, noodles, or mashed potatoes.


Low-Lactose Pancakes These pancakes have high protein quality without a drop of milk.


Fortified Milk This doubles the protein in each cup of milk.

Vera's Banana Milkshake A tasty banana shake is a rich potassium source.

Pearl's Strawberry Milkshake This drink has the flavor of fresh strawberries, but comes from the freezer.

Fake Shakes Make imitation milkshakes for people who cannot drink milk or eat ice cream.


Amaretto Creme An occasional drink has helped boost many a lagging appetite

Apple Brown Betty This soft, delightful dessert is made with bread and tasty apples.

Adair's Apple Raisin Cake Delighful as a plain moist cake, this dessert is mouth-watering when iced with Helen's Soft Chocolate Frosting.

Helen's Soft Chocolate Frosting Here is a good, fast-cooked icing.

Individual Cheese Pies A speedy cheesecake is great for the single person.

Banana-Nut Bread This quickly made bread is high on the list of nourishing foods.

Cowboy Cookies Fiber and nutrition are "partners" in these crunchy butterscotch cookies.

Peanut Butter Bars Peanut butter fans will like this nourishing bar cookie.

Fluffy Fruit Gelatin Gelatin is a great way to enjoy fruit.

Rice Pudding This is an old standby that is still popular. Serve it hot or chilled.

Milk-Free Double Chocolate Pudding. Chocolate dessert lovers take note.

Milk-Free Vanilla Pudding Here is a pleasant dessert for those with a "sweet tooth" who cannot drink milk.

Super Frozen Delight Imitation ice cream- it's delightful and delicious.

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This article was provided by U.S. National Institutes of Health. Visit NIH's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.