General Nutrition Guidelines

At Baptist Cancer Center, treating cancer is not our only priority. We aim to help our patients achieve and maintain optimal wellness in all aspects of their lives. Nutrition plays a significant role in becoming and staying healthy.

According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a healthy diet consists of:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit
  • Whole grains
  • Lean protein
  • Low-fat milk products

Before, during and after cancer treatment, patients may be encouraged to modify their diets to support immune system functions. Modifications may include:

  • Eating additional calories to maintain weight
  • Increasing intake of protein to support tissue repair
  • Adding vitamins and minerals to your diet
  • Increasing fluid intake to support the body's healthy functions

If you're struggling to follow the diet recommendations your physician has provided due to treatment side effects, consider these tips:

  • Eat when you feel the best, even if it's not at a "normal" meal time.
  • Instead of two to three large meals, try eating several small meals throughout the day.
  • Make your calories count – avoid junk food and soda, which add to your caloric intake without providing nutritional value.
  • Avoid foods with strong or spicy tastes and odors.
  • Avoid very cold and very hot foods – you may tolerate foods better at room temperature.
  • Instead of taking oral medication with water, try a higher calorie fluid, such as juice or milk.
  • If food isn't appealing, try a meal replacement option, such as a smoothie or protein shake.

While these tips may help, they may not be for all patients. Always follow the recommendations that you and your doctor have agreed upon. If you have questions or concerns, talk to your oncologist or consider our medical nutrition therapy program.