Tips for Eating a Nutritious Diet During Cancer

Cancer is a scary disease, even with many years of research, there is still no cure. We spend our lives trying to eat healthy foods that are high in antioxidants to reduce the cancer causing free radicals in our systems. Yet, it is still a common disease, and one that should not be taken lightly if diagnosed. It’s important to make lifestyle behavior modifications and follow a healthy diet to improve your symptoms and fight the disease.

Note: Photo of 1/2 grilled vegetable panini with tomato basil soup from Greenleaf restaurant- delicious and healthy! 

Jillian McKee has watched many friends and close family members deal with cancer, which has given her the motivation to further her knowledge on this topic and increase cancer awareness. She states, “If you have been diagnosed with cancer, whether leukemia or a rare cancer such as mesothelioma, you may feel like your entire world is collapsing. You may feel shocked that you were diagnosed with such a terrible disease and unsure if you would be able to beat it.” McKee and I both emphasize the need to follow a nutritious diet not only to keep you strong, but also to boost your immunity. Eating a balanced diet, however, can be difficult if you’re receiving chemotherapy treatments, which may make you feel nauseous and lose your appetite. Below are some tips that will aid in cancer prevention and battling the disease if you’re currently diagnosed:

Make Sure to Get Adequate Calories

It is important to consume sufficient calories throughout the day to keep your energy high and prevent weight loss or muscle breakdown. The total calorie consumption for an average adult is approximately 2,000 calories a day, however this varies depending on your current height, weight, age, activity level and degree of cancer or other disease. If you’re having trouble eating adequate amounts at mealtimes, a high calorie-high protein shake is recommended to supplement your daily intake. Because it is liquid, the shake will be easier to get down than solid foods and ensure quality nutrients.

 Eat Foods That Contain Protein and Nutrients

It is important to avoid eating junk food (i.e. highly processed, packaged goods and sugary foods) because you receive little nutrition from them and the cancer cells feed off of the added sugar, allowing it to grow or spread. Incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables, eggs or egg whites, nuts, seeds, fish, chicken and beans into your diet on a regular basis. Whole grains are important to focus on instead of white, refined flour or sugar. These foods will give you long lasting energy. If chemotherapy makes it painful to eat citrus fruits, you can still get your Vitamin C from peaches and pears or by taking an additional Vitamin C supplement. If you are having problems eating hot foods, you can try eating cold dishes like tuna salad made with olive oil instead of mayo, omega 3 cage free eggs or grilled/baked chicken.

Keep Yourself Hydrated

Cancer treatments may leave your body feeling very dehydrated. Make sure to drink plenty of water, natural coconut water, greens juice or even your own elixir (i.e. make by juicing your own fruits/vegetables). Soups are another great way to get more fluids into your diet. Chicken noodle soup, lentil soup, minestrone soup, or butternut squash soup are delicious and provide high quality nutrition!


For nutrition tips and high energy, high protein diet recommendations to prevent cancer or other disease, consult Courtney Walberg, Registered Dietitian, Certified Personal Trainer and Founder of Nutrition For Body And Mind.

Please note guest blog by: Jillian McKee; co-written by Courtney Walberg, R.D., N.A.S.M.-CPT