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Health Corner – Nutrition Episode

Nutrition plays a vital role throughout a patient’s cancer treatment. Up to 85% of cancer patients suffer from malnutrition, which contributes to 10-20% of cancer-related mortality (Silva et al, 2015). Factors like nausea, fatigue, and lack of time can inhibit patients with cancer from consuming adequate nutrition. Promoting the consumption of nutrient-dense meals and snacks allows patients with cancer to nourish their bodies with the essential calories, protein, vitamins, and minerals they need during treatment.

A healthful diet is not only important and challenging for our patients to achieve, but also for their caregivers and their care team. Clinicians are busy, tired, and often eat out of convenience. Clinicians must prioritize good nutrition to ensure they can continue to care for themselves and their families, along with their patients and caregivers.

A simple place to start is with nutrient dense whole foods. Examples include hard boiled eggs, roasted almonds, cheese sticks, fruit with nut or seed butter, or vegetables with guacamole or hummus. With a little preparation, you can have tasty on-the-go snacks that offer a bit more variety.  Check out the included tasty, nutrient dense recipes for inspiration.

For more information on oncology nutrition, reach out to your team’s Registered Dietitian or visit the Academy for Nutrition and Dietetics website ( to find an expert in your area. You can also search for nutrition resources for patients and caregivers at


Meal-Prepped Greek Yogurt Smoothie
  • 1 32 oz jar Greek Yogurt
  • 2-3 cups frozen berries
  • 1 tbsp each flaxseed, chia seeds (optional)
  • 2 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • ½ cup milk OR 8 oz silken tofu
  • Handful spinach or kale (optional)

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Alternatively, you can put ingredients in a pot and use an immersion blender to combine. Using milk or tofu makes the smoothie a bit thicker and creamier than using water, and it adds protein. This keeps in the fridge for 7 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months! Smoothies are incredibly versatile – feel free to adjust ingredients to your taste and/or nutritional needs.

The calorie amount can be manipulated based on the type of milk (whole v fat free). Keep in mind, plant milk often has less protein than cow’s milk.

Turkey Roll-Ups
  • 4 slices of turkey breast
  • 2 oz cream cheese
  • 4 slices of cucumber
  • 8 half-moon slices of tomato

Spread 0.5 oz cream cheese on each turkey slice. Add a slice of cucumber and two half-moons of tomato to each turkey slice. Roll up and take with you on the go. You can also wrap it in a tortilla for additional energy and/or add avocado for heart-healthy fat.

Trail Mix
  • ½ cup sliced almonds
  • ½ cup cashews (or walnuts or pecans)
  • ¼ cup dried fruit
  • ½ cup popcorn
  • ¼ cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

Mix all ingredients together. Portion out four ¼ cup portions. Dried fruit varieties could include cranberries, raisins, cherries, or chopped dates. Add some extra fun with dark chocolate chips, shredded coconut, pretzels, or your other favorite ingredient!

Reference: Silva, F. R., de Oliveira, M. G., Souza, A. S., Figueroa, J. N., & Santos, C. S. (2015). Factors associated with malnutrition in hospitalized cancer patients: a cross-sectional study. Nutrition journal, 14, 123.