Eating Well After Treatment

Most eating-related side effects of cancer treatments go away after treatment ends. But some side effects can last for some time. If this happens to you, talk to your cancer care team and work out a plan to manage the problem.

As you begin to feel better, you may have questions about eating a healthier diet. Just as you wanted to go into treatment with the best nutrition that your diet could give you, you’ll want to do the best for yourself at this important time, too. Eating well will help you regain your strength and energy, rebuild tissue, and feel better overall.

Tips for healthy eating after cancer treatment

  • Check with your cancer care team to see if you have any food or diet restrictions.
  • Ask your dietitian to help you create a nutritious, balanced eating plan.
  • Choose a variety of foods from all the food groups. Try to eat at least 2½ cups of fruits and vegetables each day; include citrus fruits and dark-green and deep-yellow vegetables.
  • Eat plenty of high-fiber foods, like whole-grain breads and cereals.
  • Try to buy a different fruit, vegetable, low-fat food, or whole-grain product each time you shop for groceries.
  • Decrease the amount of fat in your meals by baking or broiling foods.
  • Limit your intake of red meat (beef, pork, or lamb) to no more than 3 to 4 servings a week.
  • Avoid salt-cured, smoked, and pickled foods (including bacon, sausage, and deli meats).
  • Choose low-fat milk and dairy products.
  • If you drink alcohol, limit the amount to no more than 1 drink per day for women, and 2 for men. Alcohol is a known cancer-causing agent.

If you’re overweight, consider losing weight by cutting calories and increasing your activity. Choose activities that you enjoy. Be sure to check with your cancer care team before starting an exercise program.

Visit  Eat Healthy or call us at 800-227-2345 to learn more about choosing foods for a well-balanced meal plan.

 

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.

Last Medical Review: July 15, 2015 Last Revised: July 15, 2019

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