Nutrition & Recipes

Cancer and its treatment can sometimes have negative health effects that make it hard to eat well. Magnolia Meals at Home® partners offer excellent resources for patients living with cancer pertaining to health-promoting foods and dietary wellness. Visit CancerCare or Cancer Support Community to learn more. Certain types of cancer may have specific dietary restrictions. Remember to consult with your healthcare team before making changes to your diet.

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Eating Well While Managing Nausea

Tips for Preventing Nausea
  • Do not allow yourself to become excessively hungry; this can make your nausea worse
  • Eat small amounts, but eat more often in order to get the proper nourishment
  • Try to eat foods that are easy on the stomach
Foods that may be better tolerated during nausea
  • Saltine crackers or dry toast
  • Clear liquids or ice chips
  • Carbonated drinks
  • Broth-based soups
  • Rice, pasta, or potatoes (boiled or baked)
  • Warm cereal, such as Cream of Wheat™ or oatmeal
  • Baked or broiled skinless chicken
  • Cottage cheese
  • Yogurt or sherbet
  • Smoothies
  • Gelatin
  • Popsicles®
  • Fruits and vegetables

Cream of Wheat is a trademark of Nabisco. Popsicles is a registered trademark of Unilever.

Foods to avoid when you're feeling nauseated
  • Extremely hot or cold foods
  • Foods with strong odors
  • Foods that are greasy, fried or high in fat content
  • Spicy hot food
  • Very sweet or rich foods, such as candy, cookies, cakes and desserts

Healthy Eating Recipes for Patients Living with Cancer*

(Click an arrow below to expand or collapse each recipe)

  • Banana-nut bread
    Quick and nourishing
    Recipe adapted from the National Cancer Institute website.
    Servings: 16
    Nutrition per serving: 185 calories, 3 g protein
    • 2 eggs
    • 3 medium, well-ripened bananas, cut into chunks
    • ¼ cup milk
    • ¼ cup oil
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
    • cup sugar
    • tbsp baking powder
    • ½ tsp baking soda
    • ½ tsp salt
    • ¼ tsp nutmeg
    • ½-1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans, or wheat germ

    Cooking directions:
    Preheat oven to 350°F. Blend eggs, bananas, milk, oil, and vanilla extract at medium speed until smooth for about 15 to 20 seconds. Measure the remaining ingredients into bowl and stir to mix. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in banana mixture. Mix just enough to moisten. Add nuts. Spread batter into well greased 9" × 5" × 3" loaf pan or 3 small 5" × 3" × 2" pans. Bake the bread for about 1 hour for the large loaf and 35 to 45 minutes for the smaller loaves. Makes 1 large loaf or 3 small loaves. Turn the bread out of the pan and let cool completely. Wrap in plastic wrap. The banana-nut bread is best if served the next day. Enjoy!

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  • Multigrain pancakes with strawberry sauce
    Hearty and high in fiber
    Recipe adapted from the Stanford Medicine Cancer Center website.
    Servings: 14
    Nutrition per serving: 374 calories, 6 g fat (1 g sat. fat), 9 g protein, 73 g carbs, 8 g fiber
    • Canola oil spray
    • ½ cup all-purpose white flour
    • ¼ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
    • ¼ cup finely ground corn meal
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ¼ tsp baking soda
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 ½ cups nonfat buttermilk
    • 1 tbsp canola oil
    • 1 ¼ cups all-fruit strawberry preserves
    • ¼ cup apple juice
    • 1 ½ cups sliced strawberries

    Cooking directions:
    Coat the frying pan or griddle with canola oil spray. Whisk the flours and cornmeal together. Add the sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl, lightly beat the egg. Add buttermilk and canola oil. Combine the liquid and dry ingredients. Whisk to blend. Heat the frying pan or griddle over medium-high heat. When a drop of water sizzles as it hits the pan, pour ¼ cup pancake batter into the pan. Work in batches, using a measuring cup to pour a small ¼ cup of batter onto the hot griddle (¼ cup of batter equals 1 pancake). When bubbles form on top, flip the pancakes over. Cook until they are golden on both sides, using more cooking spray for additional batches if necessary. While the pancakes are cooking, place the strawberry preserves and apple juice in a saucepan on low heat. Add the sliced strawberries, stir, and heat for 1 minute. Keep the strawberry sauce warm while finishing the pancakes. Place the finished pancakes on a serving platter or plate. Spoon the warm strawberry sauce over the top. Top with fresh strawberries. Enjoy!

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  • Seasoned spinach with garlic
    A good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium & Iron
    Recipe from Eating Well, Dec 05/Jan 06 issue ©2010
    Servings: 4, 1/2 cup
    Nutrition per serving: 72 calories, 4g fat, 1g saturated fat, 4g protein, 258mg sodium, 6g carbs, 3g fiber
    • 1 10-ounce bags spinach, tough stems removed 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 scallion, trimmed and chopped
    • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds^, plus more for garnish
    • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
    NOTE: This recipe is OK for those on the LMD (Low Microbial Diet) as long as the vegetables are well cooked.

    Cooking directions:
    Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add spinach and cook, stirring, just until it turns bright green,about 30 seconds. Drain and rinse immediately with cold water. Squeeze out excess water. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Remove from heat, add the spinach, scallion, sesame seeds and salt (if desired). Stir to combine. Let stand for about 10 minutes to allow the flavors to seep into the spinach. Serve warm or cold, sprinkled with additional toasted sesame seeds. To toast sesame seeds: toast in a small dry skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until fragrant and lightly browned, 3-5 minutes. Enjoy!

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  • Butternut squash soup
    Chock full of beta-carotene
    Recipe adapted from the Stanford Medicine Cancer Center website.
    Servings: 2 quarts (can be frozen)
    Nutrition per serving: 164 calories, 3 g fat, 25 g carbs, 1 g protein
    • 1 lb onions (preferably Spanish)
    • One 3-lb butternut squash (or 2 lb of packaged squash)
    • 4 cups chicken or vegetable stock
    • 1 ½ tbsp canola oil
    • ¼ cup maple syrup
    • 2 small tart apples
    NOTE: This recipe is OK for those on the LMD (Low Microbial Diet) as long as the vegetables are well cooked.

    Cooking directions:
    Peel and slice onions thinly. Peel and seed squash; cut into 1 ½-inch cubes. Peel and core apples and cut into cubes. Heat oil over medium heat in large stockpot. Add onions; cook until just brown, stirring occasionally. Add stock, squash, and apples. Bring soup to a boil, cover, and simmer until squash and apples are nice and tender. Remove pot from heat and cool slightly. Puree in food processor until blended. Stir in maple syrup. Leftovers should be refrigerated or stored frozen. Enjoy!

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  • Lasagna
    Cholesterol and dairy-free!
    Copyright: Food for Life: Cancer Project, a program of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, 2010.
    Used with permission.
    Servings: 8
    Nutrition per serving: 334 calories, 4.6 g fat (0.7 g sat. fat), 18.4 g protein, 62.8 g carbs, 10.3 g sugar, 11 g fiber
    • One 16-oz bag chopped frozen spinach, thawed, or 3 lbs fresh spinach, rinsed and chopped
    • 1 lb firm reduced-fat tofu
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 tsp salt
    • Two 28-oz cans plain tomato sauce
    • 1 lb dry whole-wheat lasagna noodles
    • 10 button mushrooms, sliced, or other favorite vegetable to about 3 cups chopped
    • 1 tsp dried basil, or 10 fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
    • 1 tsp dried oregano
    • ¼ cup dairy-free (vegan) Parmesan cheese substitute or nutritional yeast

    Cooking directions:
    Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix together spinach, tofu, garlic, and salt in a mixing bowl. Coat the bottom of a 9" × 13" pan with tomato sauce (about ½ cup), followed by a layer of lasagna noodles, overlapping noodles slightly. Spread ½ of the spinach and tofu mixture on top of the lasagna noodles, and cover the spinach and tofu layer with another layer of lasagna noodles. Add a layer of tomato sauce, enough to cover the noodles, and then add a layer of mushrooms or other vegetables. Sprinkle ½ of the basil and ½ tsp of oregano evenly over the vegetables. Continue to add layers of noodles, spinach and tofu, sauce, mushrooms or other vegetables, and remaining basil and oregano (½ tsp) until the layers reach the top of the pan. The final layer should be sauce topped with vegan Parmesan substitute or nutritional yeast. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 1 hour. Make sure the noodles are completely cooked by sticking a knife through the center of the lasagna to test. Let stand for 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Let leftover lasagna cool to room temperature before covering and refrigerating. Lasagna will keep for up to 3 days in the refrigerator. Enjoy!

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  • Macaroni and cheese
    A simple take on a classic
    Recipe adapted from the National Cancer Institute website.
    Servings: 4
    Nutrition per serving: 275 calories, 11 g protein
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 tbsp flour
    • 1-2 tbsp margarine
    • 1 tsp minced onion
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • 1 tsp dry mustard (optional)
    • 2 cups elbow macaroni, cooked and drained
    • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

    Cooking directions:
    Preheat oven to 400°F. Measure milk into a medium saucepan and blend in flour until no lumps remain. Add margarine, onion, and other seasonings and cook until sauce thickens. Stir in macaroni and cheese. Coat a medium baking dish with nonstick spray. Bake uncovered in a greased, 1-quart casserole dish for 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly browned and bubbly. May be frozen after baking. Enjoy!

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  • Spinach cheese pie
    8 grams of protein per serving!
    Recipe adapted from the National Cancer Institute website.
    Servings: 4
    Nutrition per serving: 474 calories, 18 g protein
    • ⅓ cup chopped onion
    • 1 tbsp margarine
    • ¼ lb sliced cheese (Swiss or Muenster)
    • 1 cup cooked, chopped spinach (drained)
    • 3 large eggs
    • ⅓-½ Cup milk
    • ½ tsp salt
    • Dash pepper
    • 9" pie shell

    Cooking directions:
    Preheat oven to 400°F. Cook onion in margarine until tender; cool. Lay slices of cheese over pie dough, followed with spinach, then onions. Beat eggs, adding enough milk to make 1 cup. Add seasonings and pour over ingredients in the pie shell. Bake for about 35 minutes until golden brown, or until a knife comes out clean. Serve hot. Can be frozen after baking. Enjoy!

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  • Swedish meatballs
    Great if you’re on a soft or fiber-restricted diet
    Recipe adapted from the National Cancer Institute website.
    Servings: 4
    Nutrition per serving: 281 calories, 25 g protein
    • 1 lb ground round steak
    • ½ cup plain bread crumbs
    • 1 egg, slightly beaten
    • ⅔ tsp salt
    • Dash pepper and allspice
    • 1 tbsp margarine

    Cooking directions:
    In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except margarine with a fork until well blended. Form into balls and brown in margarine in a medium-sized skillet. Remove meatballs from pan. Make thickened gravy with the drippings. Return meatballs to gravy and simmer, covered, for 1 to 1 ½ hours. Serve warm. Enjoy!

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Important Dietary Information

Please note, certain types of cancer may have specific dietary restrictions. Speak with your doctor before starting the Magnolia Meals at Home program to make sure the meals are right for you.

*These recipes are not part of the Magnolia Meals at Home menu.

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