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Protein is Vital for Cancer Patients

Studies have shown that patients who eat healthfully and include quality proteins during chemotherapy feel better, have more energy and are better able to manage the side effects of treatment.

How Much Protein Do You Need?

If you’re undergoing chemotherapy, your protein needs ramp up. The average, healthy adult should aim to get 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of actual body weight per day. Patients in chemo treatment benefit from an increase to 1-1.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight. For example, a cancer patient weighing 140 pounds needs approximately 63-95 grams of protein each day. (140 lbs ÷ 2.2= 63.6 kg. 63.6 kg. x 1.5 g = 95.4).

This may sound like an extreme amount of protein, but is a great goal to strive for knowing this increase in calories will help with weight maintenance, overall strength and treatment tolerance.

Tips For Increasing Protein Intake

Here are some quick ways to increase the protein in your diet:

  • Include a protein at each meal
  • Have high protein snacks on hand: hard-boiled eggs, nuts, seeds, nut butters / peanut butters, hummus, protein balls
  • Make a protein-rich smoothie or nutritional shake
  • Eat fruits and vegetables dipped in nut / peanut butter or hummus
  • Use Fairlife milk in place of regular milk. This is cow’s milk but with less sugar and higher protein. Use in a protein shake for a high-calorie / high-protein meal or snack.
  • Use hummus or avocado in place of mayonnaise on a sandwich
  • Try refried beans on a taco or burrito, or as a dip with whole grain crackers
  • Snack on egg, tuna, or chicken salads using it as a dip with crackers or vegetables

See a list of high-protein foods.

View protein counts in foods.

Protein-Rich Recipes

Ready to pump up the protein? Choose from a wide selection of healthy recipes:

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