Tempting Holiday Treats For Cancer Patients

With the holiday season just around the corner, many of us are planning our favorite foods and recipes: roast turkey, ham, gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans and so many different family-specific dressings and side dishes you can’t even count.

Even if you’re feeling under the weather this season, don’t skip the festivities. Enjoy time with your loved ones—while taking appropriate social distancing precautions and washing hands frequently–and be sure to try some of the delicious meals that will find their way to the dining table.

That said, it isn’t easy to enjoy a large feast when you’re feeling weak or nauseous. Perhaps you aren’t even sure what foods you’re allowed to eat.

Here are some useful tips on how to make the most out of the holiday buffet.

Pre-Meal Snacks

Indulging in small snacks throughout the day is an excellent way to reduce nausea. Try not to let your stomach be empty for too long.

Hummus and guacamole are great healthy options for pre-meal snacks. Instead of bread or crackers, opt for dipping celery, cucumber, and carrot slices with these dips to add some much-needed vitamins.

Main Course

Fortunately, turkey is already a lean, healthy choice of protein. Roast turkey breast will hit just the right spot during family dinner, especially when seasoned with herbs such as tarragon and thyme. To avoid too much fat, skip the crispy skin on your slice of meat.

If you’re experiencing an aversion to meat or fish, egg-based meals or even almond and peanut butter spreads on bread, crackers or fruit could be your protein option.

Potatoes, green beans and yams are holiday side dish staples. If you have gastrointestinal cancer or have recently had colon surgery, you may be advised to avoid high-fiber foods. In that case, stay clear of broccoli, Brussel sprouts and potato and sweet potato skins.

Cutting back on butter and cream is a good idea.


To satisfy your sweet tooth, opt for desserts that have a lower content of fat and sugar. Fruit-based desserts such as a panna cotta with fruit or crustless pumpkin pie are good choices.

Additional Hacks to Enjoy Your Holidays

● To avoid bacterial contamination, stay away from raw or undercooked foods such as sushi, deviled eggs and homemade eggnog. Always reach for fully cooked food.
● Consult with your doctor regarding alcohol. Your safest option would be to avoid it altogether if you can.
● Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink water as well as ginger tea or bland soups if you’re feeling nauseous.
● If you’re unsure about the potential choice of dishes at a gathering you’re attending, pack a meal for yourself.
● If you have a metallic taste in your mouth, use plastic utensils, glass containers and lemon juice or vinegar on veggies to eliminate it.
● Finally, remember to be gentle with yourself. It’s okay if you cannot indulge in everything you used to. Treat yourself to tasty bites if you can, but don’t beat yourself up if you can’t. Eating healthy options on your own schedule is much more important than forcing yourself to eat a holiday feast if you’re not up to it.

More than a thousand men and women diagnosed with cancer each year turn to our trusted team of cancer specialists. We encourage you to call us, ask us a question, or consult with us to get a second opinion so you, too, can experience the difference.