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Christmas Cooking For Loved Ones With Cancer

Posted by Manuela Boyle on 6 December 2022
Christmas Cooking For Loved Ones With Cancer

The easiest way to cook for someone going through cancer is to cook something that helps to soothe the symptoms or side effects they're experiencing at that time.

Below are some of the most common dietary issues, together with some suggestions of how to help ease them:

An aversion to red meat:

Many cancer patients find they can no longer stomach red meat, so it would make sense to serve up other good protein substitutes such as poultry, fish, eggs, cheese, nuts, seeds, beans, pulses or tofu. Nut roast could be a good alternative whilst remaining festive.


If your loved one is feeling nauseous, try dishing up simple comfort food with subtle flavours. Ginger, lemon and peppermint are all great ingredients associated with easing nausea. 

No appetite:

If your loved one has little or no appetite, try serving up mini snacks frequently throughout the day, as a large plate of food can be overwhelming and off-putting.

You could also look to boost protein and calorie intake by serving healthy, high-fat foods such as avocado or nut butter. Consider adding butter or oils to foods wherever possible.

Add a spoonful of olive oil to soups and on bread, rice, pasta and vegetables. 

Dry mouth:

If a dry mouth is the issue, try food and drinks that moisten the mouth and sweet or tart foods that stimulate saliva. A celery or cucumber juice first thing in the morning, or at any time during the day will help.

Sore mouth:

For those suffering from mouth sores or if swallowing problems are an issue avoid coarse-textured foods such as hard crusty breads, tough meats or crispy roast potatoes and stay away from spicy or salty foods. Instead, go for soft, easy-to-swallow foods and drinks such as soups, flaked fish, mashed potatoes and pureed veggies.

Loss of taste:

Many cancer patients experience changes to their sense of taste, including experiencing a metallic taste or loosing their sense of taste. If this is the case, try using spices and strong flavours, especially bitter or sour flavours, to give food extra flavour.

Choose Good Foods

The plant foods with the highest cancer-protective activity are: garlic, ginger, licorice, soy foods, carrots, celery, parsley and parsnips.

The plant foods with the next highest level of cancer protective activity include: linseed, turmeric, onion, brown rice, whole wheat, citrus fruits, all the cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower etc), and tomatoes, capsicum, and sweet potato.

Fruits with significant cancer protective indications include: cherries, all berries, grapes, citrus, apples. 

Drink a glass of holy basil tea or chamomile herbal tea in the morning. This tea helps reduce production of the stress hormone, cortisol. And the heat as the tea goes down through your body gives you this serene feeling, and helps you stay present.

Fresh fruit and vegies (not frozen, canned or pre-prepared) – preferably organic.

Clean protein. Nuts, lean meat, eggs and fish. Meat should be preferably grass fed.

Healthful oils and fats. Olive oil, nuts, avocados, fish, coconut oil and organic butter.

Pure water and herbal teas.

Author:Manuela Boyle
Tags:NewsBlogsPersonalised Diets


  • The Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Society for Integrative Oncology
  • Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia
  • Australian Traditional-Medicine Society
  • British Naturopathic Association