Recipes for throat cancer patients

Best Foods and Cooking Tips for Esophageal Cancer Patients

As an esophageal cancer caregiver, you may have a number of responsibilities and tasks — not the least of which is managing meals for your loved one, who will need help maintaining a healthy diet as food options that are easy to swallow become more and more limited.

It’s essential for esophageal cancer patients to keep up their energy levels and maintain a healthy body weight, but difficulty swallowing can lead to resistance when it comes to eating, especially as food choices dwindle.

Fortunately, once treatment has started, many of the esophageal cancer symptoms that affect the ability to swallow should subside. “If they’ve had surgery, their quality of life after surgery is very good — it’s better than they expect,” says Wayne Hofstetter, MD, associate professor and director of the esophageal cancer program at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

“For people who are fighting the disease early on and have difficulty with weight, we recommend oral nutritional supplementation or liquid nutritional supplementation. These can sustain nutrition completely if need be,” says Dr. Hofstetter.

Easy-to-Swallow Food Choices

If your loved one is able to eat, you may be wondering how to make balanced, healthy meals that he or she can get down comfortably.

Before you start cooking, it’s important to have plenty of healthy foods on hand that are easy to swallow — or can be made to be, with a little creative cooking and preparation. Here are some options to consider:

  • Soft foods. Look for soft foods that don’t require much chewing, like pudding, yogurt, applesauce, ice cream, bananas, pastas, Jell-O, smoothies, and other easy to prepare (and easy to swallow) foods and snacks.
  • Liquid foods. Soups, broths, and liquid nutritional supplement drinks are good options that provide needed nutrition and are easy to get down.
  • Foods you can manipulate. There are many healthy and nutritious foods that are too difficult for an esophageal cancer patient to swallow in their natural state. Fresh fruits and vegetables, beans, and even meats, can be prepared in a new way that’s easier to eat. Mash or purée hard foods, and mix them with a little broth or water to thin them a bit.

Food Temperature and Cooking Techniques As a cancer caregiver, how you prepare foods can make a big difference in how well a loved one with esophageal cancer is able to manage mealtime. Keeping some simple tips in mind can help.

“Getting through treatment with minimal discomfort should be a top priority. Cool or room temperature foods are better tolerated than hot foods and beverages,” says Sharlene Bidini, RD, an oncology nutrition expert at the Oakwood Center for Cancer Care in Dearborn, Mich.

Even foods that are thought to be healthy can lose a lot of their benefits if they’re prepared the wrong way. Use these healthy cooking methods to make food nutritious, delicious, and easy to swallow for your loved one with esophageal cancer:

  • Bake, broil, or grill. These cooking methods are always healthy options for preparing meals at home. Avoid frying foods, which not only uses unhealthy oils, but can also create crisp, rough edges that make swallowing uncomfortable.
  • Steam your food. Not only is steam cooking a healthier way to cook, it also helps to soften foods. Steam broccoli and other vegetables with some seasonings, then chop them up or purée them for a meal that’s nutritious and easy-to-swallow .
  • Microwave it. As a caregiver for someone with esophageal cancer, you’ve got a lot to do. It’s important to make sure your loved one is getting the right nutrition, but time is important to you, too. A microwave can be a great timesaver for cooking easy meals, and it’s still possible to prepare many healthy foods this way: For instance, you might zap a bowl of soup, heat up some mashed potatoes, or warm up some applesauce in the microwave.
  • Use broths and vegetable oils. If you want to season your food or add a bit of moisture when you’re baking, sautéing, or roasting your dinner, skip the butter and other unhealthy fats. Choose olive oil or canola oil as a cooking aid, or let foods simmer in chicken broth or water and other seasonings.

You don’t have to avoid ingredients that normally make up a healthy, balanced diet when making meals for an esophageal cancer patient. You may just need to be creative with how you serve and prepare those foods.

“Creamy soft foods can also replace high protein meats. Dairy foods, casseroles, chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, cottage cheese, and yogurt are all good, high-protein choices,” says Bidini.

It’s very important that your loved one with esophageal cancer eat a nutritious diet and maintain a healthy body weight. What’s just as important is enjoying mealtime again. A good meal with family, friends, and conversation can do wonders for boosting mood and emotional health for you and the cancer patient you’re caring for. So make mealtime a fun time to catch up, laugh, enjoy a delicious meal, and try to forget about your loved one’s illness for a little bit each day.

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Oesophageal cancer

Oesophageal cancer can cause problems with swallowing and make it hard to eat well. It’s important to eat and drink enough calories and protein to maintain your weight and strength.

Eating when swallowing is difficult

You will need to eat soft foods.

Make sure that you eat slowly and avoid eating late in the day. Have plenty to drink during and after meals to soften your food and prevent blockages. Eating smaller amounts more often is easier than having large amounts.

You will find that you can eat most of your favourite foods with a few changes.

Soft diet suggestions

A soft diet can help you eat more comfortably. Try scrambled egg, soups and well cooked pasta. You can also

  • use sauces and gravies to moisten food and make it easier to swallow
  • soften meat and vegetables with long, slow cooking
  • finely chop meat and vegetables in a food processor before or after cooking
  • blend or process meat or vegetable casseroles or curries to make soups
  • make fruit smoothies in a blender
  • try tinned fruit and add custard or cream
  • have ice cream, yoghurts and mousse

Foods to avoid

Avoid foods that are hard to swallow and might stick in your throat, like

  • raw fruit and vegetables
  • tough meat
  • soft, doughy bread

You can use a blender to process solid foods.

How to build yourself up

You can help to maintain your weight by boosting calories in everyday foods. You can

  • have porridge for breakfast – add syrup or sugar and cream
  • make instant soups or gravies with milk instead of water
  • mix mashed potato with an egg or grated cheese or cream
  • make instant coffee with all milk
  • drink liquid food supplements such as Ensure plus and Fresubin and sip them throughout the day
  • make ice lollies out of smoothies or liquid food supplements

Have extra protein

Increase the amount of protein you have by

  • adding a couple of teaspoons of dried milk powder to each pint of milk to use like ordinary milk for drinking and cooking
  • adding protein powders and high energy powders to everyday foods

Ask your dietitian for advice on what powders or supplements to use – some are available on prescription.

Feeding tubes

You may need a feeding tube down your nose or into your small bowel if you can’t eat and drink enough.

Eating after surgery

You’ll usually be able to eat normally again in a few months. For some people it takes up to 2 years.

You’ll need to eat smaller meals about 6 to 8 times a day if your oesophagus and part of your stomach has been removed. You’ll also need to eat slowly and chew food well or have a soft diet.

This video tells you how to eat well after surgery for oesophageal cancer. It lasts for 3 minutes and 31 seconds.

Eating after surgery for cancer of the oesophagus or stomach – Transcript

Eating is a very social thing. But surgery to your oesophagus or stomach can mean that when and how you eat is different. So, what changes do you need to make to carry on enjoying food and stay well?

You will find that after your surgery, the amount of food and drink you can manage at any one time will be less than before your operation.

Generally, you can carry on eating what you like, just in smaller portions, but making a few changes can help you to overcome problems like poor appetite and weight loss.

Sometimes people find eating difficult because of issues like feeling sick, having diarrhoea or reflux.

While you are encouraged you to eat and drink, taking too much food or fluid in one go, particularly sugary foods, can sometimes cause diarrhoea, bloating, sweating and palpitations – this is known as dumping syndrome.

You may have these problems after surgery to remove your oesophagus

  • dumping syndrome (feeling faint and dizzy after eating)
  • diarrhoea
  • feeling or being sick
  • indigestion and stomach pains

Eating after radiotherapy

During radiotherapy and for a few weeks or months afterwards, you’ll find it hard to swallow. You will also have some soreness and pain when you swallow.

Eating a soft diet helps and taking painkillers before you eat.

Get help

Dietitians can help you cope with eating problems and suggest ways of dealing with diet difficulties. Ask your doctor or nurse to refer you.

Ask to see a dietitian to help you cope with any eating problems. They can support you with diet problems from diagnosis, through treatment and afterwards.

Eating problems can be difficult to cope with. They can cause tension within relationships or families. Events and eating out with friends can be much harder when you have a problem swallowing. Talking to your dietitian or a counsellor can help.

Regaining weight can be more difficult than maintaining it. It is important to get help as soon as you start to have problems.

Coping with cancer

If you need to eat a soft diet, it can be difficult to eat the right variety of food. You need to have enough calories to stay healthy and keep your weight up.

A food processor or liquidiser are a great help. Hand blenders are particularly quick and easy to use.

What you can do

These tips can help you make the most of a soft diet.

Eat slowly, little and often

  • Having small frequent meals with snacks in between is often easier to cope with and will increase your nutritional intake each day.

Try soft foods

  • Eat more stews and casseroles – long, slow cooking softens meat and vegetables.
  • Use more sauces, gravies, cream, butter, milk or custard to soften foods – moist food is easier to swallow than dry. Try fish with a parsley sauce – or sponge cake with custard or cream.
  • Make milkshakes (banana, chocolate, strawberry) and add ice cream for extra calories.
  • Eat cereals such as porridge and other soft cereals.
  • Avoid foods that need a lot of chewing and are hard to swallow – such as nuts, raw vegetables, dry biscuits, tough meat.

Use a blender to process solid foods

  • You can eat most of your favourite foods this way, with a few changes here and there.
  • Mince meat or finely chop meat and vegetables in a food processor before or after cooking.
  • Blend meat or vegetable casseroles or curries to make tasty soups.
  • Try pureeing vegetables and mashed potatoes.

If you are trying to put on weight

  • Use milk or cream instead of water when mashing or blending foods.
  • Have plenty of high calorie drinks.
  • Add butter to blended foods.
  • Have more soft snacks between meals.

Have your food at the right temperature

  • Let very hot meals or drinks cool before you eat or drink them – warm foods may be more soothing.
  • Cold foods can be soothing too – for example, ice cream, yoghurt, mousse or jelly.

Soft food ideas

My niece is a nutritionist and I asked her for some recipes. Here are two that are extremely healthy. Her website is She posts some recipes there as well.


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Look for plain full fat greek yogurt (Yes, full fat!) Plain yogurt has no sugar, so you can better manage the sugar content and sweetness by adding your own healthy toppings. Add 1 tspn cinnamon, a teaspoon of honey and cut up your own mashed strawberries, blueberries or mashed bananas.

Protein Smoothie

Smoothies can be a good blend of carbs, protein and fat to refuel your body.


1 scoop chocolate protein powder (I like Plant Fusion, a dairy free protein powder from Whole Foods Market or

1 small banana

1 cup washed spinach

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

8 oz almond milk (or other dairy free milk of your choice)

1 teaspoon cinnamon


Blend all ingredients in Vitammix or Nutribullet for 30 seconds. Top with teaspoon of cinnamon (optional).

Green Smoothie


1 avocado

1 – 2 pieces of low-glycemic fruit: green apple, pear, berries and cantaloupe

1 cucumber

A fistful of kale or romaine or spinach

Coconut water (or purified water)

Stevia, to taste, and/or a sprinkle of cinnamon or some cacao (optional)


Blend ingredients in a high-powered blender.

Chia Pudding

Chia pudding is a healthy breakfast option or really an anytime snack. It pairs great with cinnamon and is a tasty way to work these super foods into your diet. Chia seeds pack an impressive 11 grams of fiber in just two tablespoons, and are full of protein, helping you feel full. Also great for people who want to lose weight.


2.5 cups unsweetened almond milk

1/2 cup chia seeds

2 tablespoons of organic honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon cinnamon


Fresh fruit – mashed banana, mashed blueberries

Coconut flakes

Small seeds – chia seeds, ground flax seeds


1 Whisk the almond milk, chia seeds, and sweetener together in a large bowl. Let sit for 5-10

minutes and then whisk again (this just helps prevent clumping).

2 Cover and chill in the fridge for 2.5-3 hours, or overnight. It helps to stir the mixture every so often

during this time, but don’t worry if you can’t.

3 Stir well before serving. Portion into bowl(s) and add your desired toppings. Leftovers will keep in

an air-tight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.

I Have Esophageal Cancer. What Should I Eat?

How do I make the best food choices throughout cancer treatment?

When you are faced with esophageal cancer, nutrition can be an important part of your journey. Eating a well-balanced diet during and after cancer treatment can help you feel better, maintain your strength, and speed your recovery.

The esophagus is a tube that connects the back of your throat to your stomach. Cancer of the esophagus can sometimes narrow your esophagus which may make it difficult to swallow or eat properly. Try following these tips to help you best manage your nutrition during treatment.

Maintain a healthy weight. Unintentional weight loss is a common problem while undergoing treatment for esophageal cancer. This is because of many side effects that may make eating difficult. Depending on the location of the tumor, you may find it difficult to swallow or painful to eat. If you notice that you are losing 1-2 pounds a week consistently, talk with your healthcare team or a PearlPoint registered dietitian about what you can do to increase your calorie intake and prevent further weight loss.

Eat small, frequent meals throughout the day. Eating frequent small meals will ensure your body is getting adequate calories, protein, and nutrients to endure treatment. Smaller meals may also help to minimize treatment-related side effects such as heartburn, reflux, or feeling full too quickly. Try eating 5-6 “mini” meals a day, about every 3 hours.

Choose foods that are easy to chew and swallow. Depending on the cancer itself or your treatment, you may find it difficult or even painful to swallow. Choosing soft foods may make this easier. Also, be sure to eat slowly and chew thoroughly.

Choose protein-rich foods. Protein helps the body to repair cells and tissues. It also aids in the recovery and maintenance of the immune system. Include a lean protein at all meals and snacks. Good sources of lean protein include:

  • Lean meats such as chicken, fish, or turkey
  • Eggs
  • Low-fat dairy products such as milk, yogurt, and cheese or dairy substitutes
  • Nut butters
  • Beans
  • Soy foods

Include whole grains. Whole grains provide a good source of carbohydrate and fiber, which help sustain energy levels. Good sources of whole grains include:

  • Oatmeal
  • Whole wheat breads
  • Brown rice
  • Whole grain pastas

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day. Fruits and vegetables offer the body antioxidants which can help fight cancer. Choose a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables to get the greatest benefit. Try to eat a minimum of 5 servings of whole fruits and vegetables daily. Because cancer of the esophagus can make eating fruits and vegetables more difficult, choose those without skins and seeds. Soft, cooked vegetables are also more easily tolerated.

Choose sources of healthy fat. Healthy fats include olive oil, avocados, nuts, and seeds. Avoid fried, greasy, and fatty foods, Choose baked, broiled, or grilled foods instead.

Limit sweets and added sugars. Foods high in added sugars like desserts and sweets provide little nutritional benefit and often take the place of other nutritious foods.

Stay hydrated. Drinking enough fluids during cancer treatment is important for preventing dehydration. Aim to drink 64 ounces of fluid daily. Avoid drinking large amounts of caffeinated beverages as too much caffeine can lead to dehydration. If you are having difficulty swallowing, drinking with your meals may help to soften your food, making it easier to swallow.

Use good mouth care. Chemotherapy and radiation therapy can irritate the lining of the mouth, throat, and esophagus. This irritation can make eating and swallowing difficult. Treatments can also decrease how much saliva you have, which can make teeth decay faster than normal. Good mouth care is very important if you have mouth soreness. Brush your teeth after eating and floss daily.

Sit up after eating. Wait at least 1 hour before lying down. Lying down after eating can result in symptoms of heartburn. Heartburn, gas, bloating, and belching are common side effects of pancreatic cancer. Ask a registered dietitian for guidance on which foods to avoid when you have heartburn, gas, bloating, and belching.

Practice good food safety. Wash hands often while preparing food. Use separate cutting boards for raw meat and raw vegetables as well as separate knives. Be sure to cook all foods to their proper temperature and refrigerate leftovers right away. Read more about Food Safety.

Talk to your healthcare team before taking any vitamins or supplements. Some medications and cancer treatments may interact with vitamins and supplements. Choose food first as the primary source for nutrients.

Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Alcohol may contribute to dehydration, can impair the immune system, and provides no beneficial nutrients.

Understand the need for nutrition support. If you are not able to eat enough by mouth or are recovering from surgery, a feeding tube may be necessary to help you meet your nutrition needs. It is not uncommon for individuals undergoing therapy for esophageal cancer to have a feeding tube for a temporary time period. Your healthcare team will assess your individual needs to determine if and what kind of nutrition support is right for you.

If surgery is part of your treatment plan, follow all your surgeon’s instructions carefully. After surgery to the esophagus, you will have to change what and how you eat while you heal. Read Esophagectomy Nutrition Guidelines to learn more.

Most importantly, know that your cancer journey is unique to you and your treatment. You may experience side effects that affect your ability to follow these suggestions. If you are struggling with any side effects, such as loss of appetite, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, or any other nutrition concerns, your needs may be different.A registered dietitian can suggest nutrition guidelines that will be appropriate for your cancer journey. Schedule a time to talk to PearlPoint’s registered dietitian.

Risk Factors for Esophageal Cancer1
• Squamous cell: Alcohol use, cigarette smoking, and other tobacco use

• Adenocarcinoma: Gastroesophageal reflux disease and Barrett’s esophagus

• Other risk factors: Obesity and low fruit and vegetable intake

Terms and Definitions8
• Esophagectomy: Surgical removal of the cancerous area of the esophagus

• Esophageal reconstruction: After esophagectomy, the stomach is pulled upward in the thorax to join the shorter remnant of the esophagus (sometimes called gastric pull-up). In some situations, the stomach can’t be used, and a portion of the colon, or jejunum, is used to create a neoesophagus, called colonic interposition or jejunal interposition.

• Partial gastrectomy: Removal of part of the stomach. This is done if the esophageal tumor is at the lower end of the esophagus or if the cancer has spread into the stomach.

• Pyloromyotomy: Incision of the longitudinal and circular muscles of the pylorus to help the stomach empty into the small bowel

• Pyloroplasty: Incision and resuturing of the pylorus to widen the pyloric outlet

• Vagus nerve: Tenth cranial nerve with 13 main branches for parasympathetic control of multiple vital organs, including the larynx, trachea, bronchi, lungs, heart, and most of the gastrointestinal system

— Additional information taken from The FreeDictionary Medical Dictionary (

2. Kight CE. Nutrition considerations in esophagectomy patients. Nutr Clin Pract. 2008;23(5):521-528.

3. Baker A, Wooten LA, Malloy M. Nutritional considerations after gastrectomy and esophagectomy for malignancy. Curr Treat Options Oncol. 2011;12(1):85-95.

6. Kraft MD, Btaiche IF, Sacks GS. Review of the refeeding syndrome. Nutr Clin Pract. 2005;20(6):625-633.

9. McCray S, Parrish CR. Nutritional management of chyle leaks: an update. Practical Gastroenterology. 2011;35(4):12-32.

10. Lanuti M, de Delva PE, Wright CD, et al. Post-esophagectomy gastric outlet obstruction: role of pyloromyotomy and management with endoscopic plyloric dilatation. Eur J Cardiothorac Surg. 2007;31(2):149-153.

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There is no specific diet for cancer patients. What is recommended is that any diet taken is nutritious, calorie and protein dense and one which provides a vast array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.Of course your appetite and ability to consume some foods may be altered and this is the challenge.We have put together some hints and tips for a good nutritious diet. Each patient is an individual though and should listen to their own medical team and specifically their dietitian/nutritionist for personalised advice.

  • Start a nutrition diary where you can keep a note of what food and calories you have taken each day and you can also use as a place to express thought and feelings as you go through treatment. This can be useful for some people to not only express their feelings but also to chart their progress as they go through treatment. It can feel like slow progress sometimes and having a reminder of how far you have progressed can be helpful.
  • Remember that ‘healthy eating’ can be construed wrongly. Labels of ‘healthy’ may actually mean ‘restricted’ if for example the information is sourced from a reduction diet regime or other dietary regime not specific to your situation.Some ‘healthy’ diets will be poor in essential fatty acids and protein because they are designed for weight reduction.
  • Include plenty of oily fish, lean protein such as chicken, turkey, pork, beef and dairy products such as milk, cheese, cream, yoghurt.
  • Forget low fat or reduced fat products you need these fatty acids to work together with other vitamins and minerals and to help maintain your weight.
  • Make your drinks count. Using juicers to make antioxidant, vitamin and mineral packed fruit and vegetable drinks and smoothies. Add milk or yoghurt or ice cream to these and you increase the calorie content.
  • Make creamy soups rich in vegetables and taste. Using a blender to whizz to a smooth consistency can make them easier to swallow. Some soups, for example chicken and sweetcorn, can have extra nutritional value by adding an egg to them.
  • Use a slow cooker or crock pot for casseroles rich in protein from soft, long cooked beef, lamb, or chicken with vegetables that simply melt in your mouth.
  • If your mouth or throat is sensitive avoid highly acidic fruits in your drinks or smoothies.
  • If your mouth feels ‘claggy’ and you cannot clear thickened saliva make sure you are well hydrated and try fresh pineapple. The enzymes in fresh pineapple (which is called bromelain) will break down the proteins in your saliva and help clear your mouth. Tinned pineapple will not do this as the enzymes are lost in the canning process. WARNING! This can really sting, so if your mouth is acutely ulcerated you may not be able to do this.
  • Avoid tough or stringy foods as they can be hard to swallow.
  • If nausea is a problem try some dry foods like unsalted crackers, toast or dry cereal.

  • Remember every calorie counts and you should follow a diet that prior to treatment is dairy rich, protein rich and is full of fruits and vegetables to accompany and supplement. Eat more frequently, drink adequately and aim to increase your weight if you can before you embark on your treatment.
  • Remember sweets and chocolates, crisps and biscuits, cakes and pastries are all on the menu for you prior to treatment. Enjoy these in moderation, they should be an extra addition to your diet, not a replacement for more nutritious foods.
  • Immediately prior to radiotherapy you are recommended to have had small frequent nutrient dense meals. Stop eating at least one hour before therapy.
  • If you have to travel to hospital, prepare food to eat on the way. Plan a stop on the journey and keep well hydrated. Don’t assume you will be able to get a snack at the hospital. They may have a poor choice available or no choice at all. Plan ahead.
  • Be extra careful with hygiene. You may be more vulnerable to viruses or food borne bacterial infections. Keep in mind things like food temperature, how food you are eating is being stored and who has been handling the food.Be aware of hygiene when eating out too: buffet type meals could be a risk if you are having radiation therapy or chemotherapy (you don’t know who made the food, how long it has been at room temp, has it been reheated)

As with everything each individual is different. We have provided these hints and tips as a general guideline but we would urge any patient to consult with a dietitian as soon as they can during their treatment journey. A personalised consultation will ensure that individual requirements can be explored and catered too. If a nutritionist/dietitian is not part of your care plan we would urge you to ask for a referral to ensure individual needs are being met.

Nutrition Tips for Patients Receiving Head and Neck Radiation Therapy

Major Goals for Maintaining Good Nutrition During Treatment

  • Eat frequently. You may need to give up the idea of three main meals for the next two to three months. Instead, eat smaller amounts but frequently throughout the day. Try not to go for more than two to three hours without eating something.
  • Eat calorie-dense foods. Remember the goal is to maintain your weight and in order to do that you need to eat a lot of calories. You want to make sure that the foods and liquids you eat have a lot of calories in them. You may find that you are not able to eat the same quantities as before, so you need to get the calories in smaller amounts of high calorie foods.
  • No food is plain. Try to think of food in terms of “What can I add to this to give it more calories?”
  • Concentrate on liquids and soft foods. Many liquids – see suggestions in the handout – will provide a lot more calories than you will get by eating solid foods. They tend to be easier to swallow, take less time and are generally soothing the sore mouth and throat. As you move through treatment, you may find that you are having side effects that make it difficult to chew and swallow. All the more reason to use liquids to get the majority of your calories.
  • Just do it. Overall your treatment is over a short period of time. Although it may become difficult to eat, both physically and emotionally, you need to take a deep breath and do it. Your body and mind need it.

Food Examples

400 Calories or more




Scandishake packet

Scandishake packet mixed with
8 ounces whole milk

300 to 400 Calories




Boost/Ensure Plus

8 ounces half & half

Wendy’s small chocolate Frosty

McDonald’s small chocolate shake

200 to 300 Calories




1 can cream of chicken soup


1 cup cream of broccoli soup


1 cup New England clam chowder


Boost/Ensure Regular

Carnation Instant Breakfast with 8 ounces whole milk

1/2 cup premium ice cream

McDonald’s caramel or fudge sundae

Hot chocolate made with 8 ounces whole milk

100 to 200 Calories




1 cup (8 ounces) whole milk

1/2 cup pudding (instant) made with whole milk

1/2 cup custard made with whole milk

1 cup yogurt

1/2 cup 2 percent cottage cheese

1 cup canned fruit in heavy syrup

8 ounces juice

12 ounces soda

2 scrambled eggs


These food items can dramatically increase your overall calorie intake.



Butter/Margarine – 1 tbsp

Mayonnaise – 1 tbsp

Oil – 1 tbsp

Cream Cheese – 2 tbsp

Peanut Butter – 1 tbsp

Salad Dressing – 2 tbsp

Cheese – 1 oz


Ricotta Cheese – 1/2 cup

Whipping Cream, heavy – 1 tbsp

Syrup, maple – 2 tbsp

Honey – 1 tbsp

Sugar – 1 tbsp

Jelly – 1 tbsp

Chocolate Syrup – 2 tbsp

Chocolate Fudge – 1 tbsp

Carmel Sauce – 1 tbsp

Frosting – 2 tbsp

Whipped Topping – 2 tbsp

Try these meal and snack ideas:

  • Fruit with cottage cheese, sour cream, whipped cream or mayonnaise
  • Hard boiled egg or deviled egg with regular mayonnaise (extra yolk)
  • Pie with ice cream or whipped cream
  • Chili or refried beans with cheese and sour cream
  • Pudding made with whole milk, half & half or heavy cream and topped with whipped cream
  • Oatmeal with whole milk, brown sugar and butter or margarine
  • Yogurt, ideally a variety with 200 calories per container, with added fruit pieces
  • Super milk – add powdered milk to regular milk and drink or use it in recipes in place of milk
  • Milk with 2 tbsp chocolate powder or syrup
  • Milkshake – buy or make, using 1 cup ice cream and 1 cup whole milk
  • Scrambled eggs cooked with butter or oil with added cheese or small pieces of ham
  • Mashed potatoes made with liberal amount of whole milk and butter and topped with gravy
  • Fresh fruit or canned fruit with added sugar and whipped topping
  • Banana and peanut butter
  • Hot chocolate made with whole milk
  • Tunafish with liberal amount of mayonnaise – alone or on sandwich
  • Pie or pie filling with whipped cream and/or ice cream
  • Brownie, cookie or cake batter made with egg beaters
  • Frosty from Wendy’s
  • Chocolate cake with chocolate pudding and whipped cream, layered
  • Spaghetti – cook noodles, add 1 to 2 tablespoons oil add cooked ground beef to red sauce and top with parmesan cheese
  • Noodles with alfredo sauce
  • Ramen noodle packet with added tofu

Sample Menu


  • 1 cup oatmeal made with 8 ounces whole milk with 1 tbsp brown sugar and 1 tbsp butter (415 calories, 14 grams protein)
  • 4 ounces Ensure/Boost Plus (180 calories, 7 grams protein)


  • 4 ounces cup pudding made with whole milk (150 calories, 4 grams protein)
  • 4 ounces Ensure/Boost Plus (180 calories, 7 grams protein)


  • 1 cup cottage cheese with 1/2 cup mandarin oranges or other fruit (260 calories, 28 grams protein)
  • 2 scrambled eggs cooked in 1 tbsp oil or butter (280 calories, 14 grams protein)
  • 8 ounces Ensure/Boost Plus (360 calories, 15 grams protein)
  • 1/2 cup canned fruit in heavy syrup with 2 tbsp whipped cream or heavy cream (280 calories, 0 protein)


  • 1 cup cream of chicken soup with 1 tbsp added oil and 1 to 2 tbsp protein powder of powdered milk (250 calories, 7.5 grams protein)
  • 8 ounces Ensure/Boost Plus (360 calories, 14 grams of protein)


  • 1/2 cup premium ice-cream (such as Haagen-Dazs) with 1 tbsp chocolate syrup (300 calories, 5 grams protein)
  • 8 ounces whole milk (150 calories, 8 grams protein)

Total calories for day = 3165 calories

Total protein for day = 123.5 grams

Other Ideas for Ensure and Boost

Note: Choose Ensure or Boost Plus vs. regular. It has 120 more calories and 6 more grams of protein per can.

Banana Blusher

In a blender combine 1 can cold or frozen Vanilla Plus, 1 small ripe banana and 1/4 tsp vanilla extract. Blend until smooth, pour into a class and serve.

Buckwheat Pancakes

1 8 ounce can Vanilla Ensure Plus, 1 cup buckwheat pancake or waffle mix and 1 tsp cinnamon. If desired, add 1/4 cup shredded coconut. Preheat a non-stick skillet or griddle over medium heat. In a large bowl, combine Ensure, pancake mix, coconut, and cinnamon. Using a 1/4 cup mixture, drop the batter onto the griddle or skillet. Cook until pancakes are golden brown, about 2 minutes per side. Serve with liberal amount butter/margarine, syrup, jelly and powdered sugar. This makes two pancakes, with 300 calories and 10 grams of protein before added syrup, butter, sugar, etc.

Peanut Butter Fluff

1 8 ounce can Vanilla Ensure Plus, 1/4 cup peanut butter, 1/2 3.4 ounces package instant chocolate pudding and 1/2 cup whipped topping. Using an electric mixer set at low speed, gradually combine Ensure Plus with peanut butter. Add pudding mix. Beat at low speed until well blended, about 2 minutes. Fold in whipped topping and serve. 1/2 cup = 330 calories and 10 grams protein.

Ashleigh’s Recipe

1 can Ensure/Boost Plus, 8 ounces whole milk and 1/2 cup premium ice-cream = 730 calories and 28 grams of protein.

Experiment yourself with different shake recipes. Use different syrups, fruits and extracts. Add candy, nuts or granola to it. Try using protein powders or powdered milk to increase calories and protein.

Favorite Scandishake Recipes

To order Scandishakes call 1-800-4-Scandi.

Extra Extra

8 ounces whole milk
1 envelope vanilla Scandishake
Extract to taste
Shake or blend all ingredients
1 recipe = 600 calories

Butterscotch Supreme

1 envelope vanilla scandishake
8 ounces whole milk
1 to 2 teaspoons butterscotch powdered pudding or butterscotch syrup to taste
2 teaspoons brown sugar
Shake or blend all ingredients
1 recipe = 620 calories

Scandishake Fruitees

1/4 to 1/2 cup fresh, frozen, or canned fruit
1 envelope Scandishake, any flavor
8 ounces whole milk
Combine ingredients and mix with blender
1 recipe = 600 calories

Pina Colada Refresher

1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple
1/2 teaspoon coconut extract
1/2 teaspoon rum extract
1 envelope vanilla Scandishake
8 ounces whole milk
1/2 to 1 cup ice
Combine all ingredients and mix with blender
1 recipe = 665 calories

You should be checking in with your nutritionist at radiation oncology every week. Do not wait until you have lost weight or are having problems to speak with her. The goal is to prevent problems from happening. So, be proactive.

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