Diet Suggestions During Head and Neck Radiation

Radiation to one's head and neck poses a challenge to eating enough. Radiation treatment also raises one's metabolism, so more calories are needed, otherwise weight is quickly lost.

When I had radiation, we wrote down everything I ate or drank every day, along with the calories. I had to eat at least 1500-2000 calories per day. Weighing myself every day also helped to motivate me to eat more. It's best to set a goal of the weight you do not want to drop below.

*** Breakfast ***

tip: Bread will become difficult to chew and swallow when there is less saliva produced.

Almond banana smoothie:

Blend together almond butter (2 tablespoons) + 1 cup milk/soy milk or almond milk + 1 banana + undenatured whey powder (I took Whey Cool:

Egg oatmeal:

Cook oatmeal. Wisk an egg into the oatmeal and cook until well-done. Add honey or agave nectar to taste.


*** Lunch and Dinner ***

tip: Sipping a drink or soup during the meal will help the food go down.

tip: Avoid sour, acidic and spicy foods. For example: citrus, black pepper, chili seasonings.

Quick rice porridge:

Wash rice. Soak it in water in a bowl or Pyrex container and put the whole thing in the freezer 2-3 hours or overnight. When ready to cook, pour the frozen rice into a pot of boiling water. Stir constantly for the first 5 minutes and then simmer for 30 mins.

Noodle soup:

Cook angel hair pasta past al dente. Use boxed organic chicken broth or homemade broths (see below). Add ground meat (see below) and vegetables.


Boil lasanga noodles past al dente. Put vegetable and meat fillings with a sauce without black pepper. When marinara sauce becomes too acidic, try a white cream sauce instead. Portions can be frozen.

Ground Chicken/Beef/Lamb/Turkey:

Bits of tendon in pre-ground meat can become difficult to swallow. When the mouth is this sensitive, whole cuts of meat (breast, tenderloin) can be ground at the butchers' or at home with a food chopper/processor.

Steamed pumpkin:

Place a whole kabocha pumpkin in a pot with about 1cm of water. Bring the water to a boil with the lid on and steam the pumpkin for about 1 hr. When the pumpkin is done, it should be very easy to cut the pumpkin open. Cook longer if you want the pumpkin to be softer.

Bone marrow broth:

We used grass-fed beef marrow bones to make a nutritious and rich broth. Other meats, bones or vegetables can be added to make the broth less strong tasting. We bought the beef marrow bones here:

Turkey bone broth:

Organic turkey bones make a delicious broth. Whole Foods sells organic turkey bones occasionally. If you see them, stock up and freeze them!

Potato leek soup: (coming soon)

*** Snacks ***

Green drink:

Nanogreens is a green powder product that I used throughout chemo and radiation. It was recommended by our dietitian. It is not sold in stores and only through health professionals (like nutritionists). However, this one online store sells it but only AFTER you have signed in to an account.

1) First, sign up for an account at
2) Go to this link (after signing in)
3) Purchase and it will ship to you in a few days.

Egg custard: This is high in protein and calories, and easy to eat!

2 eggs
1 cup of milk or soy milk
sugar or honey to taste.
optional - vanilla extract or ginger juice

1) Beat the eggs well, mix in milk and sugar/honey, strain mixture
through strainer into a bowl.
2) Steam for 3 minutes. Leave the lid on top of the pot on (don't
open), turn off heat, and let the custard sit for 15 minutes or

Avocado: (coming soon)