What to eat during chemo

willjh Member Posts: 10 Member

A friend who has recently finished radation for breast cancer told me that she was instructed to not eat fresh fruits or vegetables during chemo... only cooked, canned or frozen and only organic.  Have any of you had the same dietary restricitions?  I have not been told that but 1st chemo is not until this Friday.  Any hints about what foods to have available during chemo?  Many of the foods that have been suggested, like potatoes, bread, rice, and ice cream, I try to avoid.


  • CheeseQueen57
    CheeseQueen57 Member Posts: 933 Member
    Ask to see the dietitian

    Most cancer centers offer the services of a registered dietitian. I suggest you take advantage of that service. If they don't have one, call your insurance to see if they cover nutrition counselling for cancer treatment. To find a dietitian in your area go to eatright.org and use the Find A Dietitian service. Good luck!  I'm finding that altered taste perception is my biggest challenge. The other is preventing constipation. I think if you carefully wash raw fruits and vegetables, even the outsides of bananas and kiwis and don't buy precut fruits and vegetables there is les risk. 

  • Unknown
    edited June 2016 #3
    No, I ate anything I wanted

    My doctor didn't give me any restrictions (although I'd read that raw fish was out).  I ate watermelon and lots of salads, light soups, anything that tasted good.  Most meat did not, eggs did.  I think it's probably a personal taste thing for me.  I've not seen anyone suggest no raw fruits and vegetables though.  Hugs Nancy

  • Editgrl
    Editgrl Member Posts: 903 Member
    edited June 2016 #4
    At my chemo orientation, I

    At my chemo orientation, I asked specifically about raw fruits and vegetables.  They said as long as they were washed thoroughly, they were okay.  I ate a lot of soup, because it was easy to freeze and have available on the days when I didn't feel like cooking a whole meal.  I didn't have any food aversions, so I ate pretty much anything I wanted, except for really spicy foods.  I found that that caused heartburn, something I never had prior to chemo.  I snacked on Greek yogurt, juice bars, almonds and made a lot of high calorie smoothies. 

  • Lou Ann M
    Lou Ann M Member Posts: 996 Member

    i did have restriction during radiation, but not chemo.  Radiation can cause severe diarrhe and my radiology oncologist suggested a very similar diet.  I called it the white on white diet.  That and Imodium kept me pretty good and I was able to work full time during my radiation treatments.  Chemo had no restriction, but there were a lot of things I lost all of my taste for

  • NoTimeForCancer
    NoTimeForCancer Member Posts: 3,384 Member
    So funny how we are all told

    So funny how we are all told so many different things.  During chemo I was told only washed bag salad, I was not to clean my own lettuce.  I was not allowed mushrooms, green peppers, apples...I think it was skins that could possibly carry bacteria or e-coli.  Make sense.  I was told I was not allowed to work in a garden bed either because of the possible exposure.  

    The year after I finished chemo?  I ate all the fresh fruits and vegetables I wanted - and I wanted.  

    As suggested, ask if the cancer center has a dietician who specializes in helping cancer patients to talk to.  I learned a lot meeting with one myself.  After being told by my chemo nurse to "push the protein" I got a better sense from the dietician what that meant.

  • EZLiving66
    EZLiving66 Member Posts: 1,483 Member
    edited June 2016 #7
    I was told no buffet food, no

    I was told no buffet food, no uncooked/unpeeled veggies or fruit.  Also to be VERY careful with handling uncooked or undercooked meat and poultry.  After talking to the dietician she said to up the protein and whole grains.



  • Kvdyson
    Kvdyson Member Posts: 790 Member
    Bad bacteria

    Willjh, I think the gist is that the oncology nurses want to limit the bad bacteria that you might ingest since your body can't fight back as well during chemo. In addition to the foods that everyone else has already mentioned, I was also told not to eat sushi and to cook beef to medium-well or well done. Hope this helps and good luck on Friday! Kim

  • willjh
    willjh Member Posts: 10 Member
    edited June 2016 #9
    Thanks to everyone for all

    Thanks to everyone for all suggestions.  Yes, it is interesting that there is such varied restricitions, depending on practice. 

  • Soup52
    Soup52 Member Posts: 908 Member
    I restricted too much during

    I restricted too much during radiation and had constipation as a result. Funny how some were told not to work in the garden as I do this daily with no problem. Really other than radiation I wasn't given a lot of restriction. I still have stomach issues though thanks to radiation .

  • pinky104
    pinky104 Member Posts: 574 Member

    I was not given a special diet, but I have read a number of posts on here where women have been told to up their protein.  I ate fresh fruits and veggies with no problems.  A friend took me out for Thai food after my first chemo visit.  I'd never had that before, and the spices definitely hurt my mouth.  I'm surprised that you were told to have canned foods, as the linings of most cans have BPA in them, which can cause cancer. 

    At a survivor's dinner at the hospital where I had my surgery, a physician from the women's cancer care unit spoke about the "dirty dozen," which is a list of foods that you shouldn't eat, which gets revised every year.  You can google the list.  Strawberries were on it because the pesticides on strawberries can't be washed off, no matter how much you wash them, he said.  And that's probably true of the other foods on the list, too.  I was surprised to hear that a food I'd always thought was healthy was a carcinogen.