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Nutrition is an important part of life, cancer treatment, recovery, and prevention. Food is one of the few things you can be in control of during your treatment. The oncology certified registered dietitians at the Stanford Cancer Center are here to help you make informed choices about nutrition, answer your nutrition-related questions, and help you to achieve and maintain good health.
It is recommended that you eat lightly on your chemotherapy day. Eating small portions slowly and every few hours seem to work best. Avoid skipping meals on these days and eating fatty, greasy or spicy foods.
What do I eat before going to chemotherapy?
Light, bland foods seem to work best. Some examples of choices are:
Plain or Fruited yogurt
Fresh fruit and cottage cheese
Poached egg and toast
Toasted bagel with a small amount of peanut butter
Cereal and milk (try Lactaid® milk, or Soy milk, if lactose intolerant)
Chicken rice soup with saltine crackers
During chemotherapy take a small, bland snack with you. You can try the above foods as well as snack on low acid juices (apple, grape, and fruit nectars), liquid yogurts, fruits such as bananas, and crackers. Bring a water bottle and fill it with your favorite beverage (avoid acidic foods which may be irritating to your digestive tract).
Juices and supplements as Ensure or Boost are usually available where you are receiving chemotherapy;
however ask in advance if these and any other foods are available. If you don’t feel like eating during the
infusion that is ok, but remember that you may feel better with eating small amounts of bland food and liquids.
Drink small amounts every ½ hour as tolerated.
What do I eat after chemotherapy and for the next few days?
Eat small meals and snacks throughout the day (aim for 5-6 smaller meals rather than 3 large meals).
Eat lower fat, blander foods!
Try colder or cool foods – these give off less odor and aroma and are especially important if you feel nauseous. Hot foods can have a more pronounced odor, therefore causing an aversion to certain foods.
Drink fluids frequently—this will prevent dehydration and remove some of the byproducts of the chemotherapy. Water is the best, but there are other sources of fluids such as:
Apple and grape juice
Popsicles and sherbert
Herbal teas, such as ginger and mint
Weak black teas
Take your anti-nausea medication as prescribed by your medical team.
Make an appointment today with one of our cancer dietitians to begin managing your nutrition.
Broccoli, cabbage, collard greens, kale, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts are all cruciferous vegetables. This vegetable family contains powerful phytochemicals, including carotenoids, indoles and glucosinolates and isothiocyanates, which have been studied and shown to slow the growth of many cancers.