WellSpan Home

Health Library

General Nutrition Guidelines During Cancer Treatment

Careful food choices will help support your immune system’s fight against cancer. The foods you choose to eat during active cancer treatment will vary according to any side effects you may be experiencing. Overall, try to make food choices that provide you enough calories, protein, and nutrients such as vitamins and minerals, and fluids. Calories will help you maintain your weight. Protein will help you rebuild tissues that cancer treatment may harm. Nutrients and fluids are essential for your body’s functioning.

The following suggestions from the National Cancer Institute may be helpful if you have difficulty eating or a loss of appetite during cancer treatment:

  • Eat small, frequent meals (every 1 to 2 hours).

  • Eat high-protein and high-calorie foods (including snacks).

  • Keep snacks, such as peanut butter crackers, nuts, granola bars, or dried fruit on hand. 

  • Avoid foods low in calories and protein, and avoid empty calories (such as soda).

  • To avoid nausea and improve your appetite, do not drink liquids with your meals.

  • Try to eat when you are feeling the best, no matter what time of day.

  • Try high-calorie, high-protein drinks when you do not feel like eating.

  • Try to increase your appetite through light exercise or appetite stimulants.

  • Add extra calories and protein to food using foods, such as butter, skim milk powder, honey, or brown sugar.

  • Take your medicines with high-calorie fluids.

  • Eat foods at room temperature.

  • Avoid spicy foods or foods with strong odors.

General Nutrition Guidelines During Cancer Treatment - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: Dozier, Tennille, RN, BSN, RDMS
Online Medical Reviewer: Levin, Mark, MD
Last Review Date: 2015-12-27T00:00:00
Last Modified Date: 2016-02-24T00:00:00
Published Date: 2016-02-24T00:00:00
Last Review Date: 2012-06-09T00:00:00
© 2016 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

I would like to:

Are you sure you would like to cancel?

All information will be lost.

Yes No ×

About the provider search

This search will provide you with WellSpan Medical Group and Northern Lancaster County (Ephrata) Medical Group primary care physicians and specialists. If we don’t have a WellSpan Medical Group physician to meet your criteria, the search will expand to include community physicians who partner with WellSpan Medical Group physicians through the WellSpan Provider Network or provide care to patients on the Medical Staffs of WellSpan’s Hospitals.


Schedule Your Next Appointment Online with MyWellSpan

Use your MyWellSpan patient portal any time to view available appointments, and pick the date and time that best suits your schedule.

Go to MyWellSpan

New to this practice?

If you don't have a WellSpan primary care provider and would like to schedule a new patient appointment with a provider who is accepting patients, just log into your MyWellSpan account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to see the offices that are accepting new patients in relation to your zip code. If you are not enrolled in MyWellSpan, go to https://my.wellspan.org, call 1-866-638-1842 or speak with a member of the staff at a participating facility to sign up. New patient scheduling not available at all practices/programs.

Already a patient at this practice?

If you already have a relationship with a WellSpan practice, simply log into your account, and go to the Appointment Center section. As you progress through the scheduling process, you will be able to schedule an appointment with any provider or practice that already counts you as a patient. Online scheduling varies by practice/program.