Sample Meal Plan for a Healthy Diet

While there’s no “one size fits all” when it comes to meal plans – especially for people with cancer – the following chart offers some general guidance for one day’s worth of well-balanced meals. Then, depending on your nutritional needs before, during and after treatment, you can add or subtract as necessary.

Table 1. Sample Meal Plan

Meal General guidelines Examples
▪ ½ cup of peeled fruit or fruit juice
▪ ½ cup of carbohydrates
▪ 1 to 2 ounces of protein
▪ <1 tablespoon of fat
▪ ½ cup of unsweetened blueberries (42
▪ ½ cup of oatmeal (80 to 100 calories)
▪ 1 scrambled egg (40 calories)
▪ Fat source for scrambled egg (45 to 90
▪ Coffee with <1 tablespoon of creamer (40
▪ ¾ cup of carbohydrates
▪ ½ cup of dairy
▪ ¾ cup of dry cereal (110 calories)
▪ ½ cup low-fat milk (51 calories)
▪ 2/3 cup of carbohydrates
▪ 3 to 4 ounces of protein
▪ ½ cup of cooked vegetables
▪ <1 tablespoon of fat
▪ 3/4 cup of cooked rice (135 calories)
▪ 3 to 4 ounces of baked, skinless chicken
  breast (200 to 280 calories)
▪ ½ cup of cooked broccoli (34 calories)
▪ <1 tablespoon of melted butter (102 calories)
▪ 1 to 2 ounces of protein
▪ 1 ounce of dry-roasted almonds (169
▪ ¾ cup of carbohydrates
▪ 3 ounces of protein
▪ ½ cup of cooked vegetables
▪ ½ cup of peeled fruit
▪ ½ cup of dairy
▪ <1 tablespoon of fat
▪ ¾ cup of roasted potatoes (128 calories)
▪ 3 ounces of beef roast (258 calories)
▪ ½ cup of cooked carrots (27 calories)
▪ ½ cup of baked apples (52 calories)
▪ ½ cup of low-fat milk (51 calories)
▪ <1 tablespoon of gravy (8 calories)
▪ 1 to 2 ounces of protein
▪ ½ cup of peeled fruit or cereal grain
▪ 1 large hardboiled egg, sliced (77 calories)
▪ ½ cup of granola (213 calories)
  • Most carbohydrates, such as fruit, grains, cereals and starchy vegetables, are approximately 60 to 80 calories per serving.
  • Protein servings, such as meat, fish and poultry, are usually found in 3-ounce servings and vary from 180 to 300 calories with approximately 21 grams of protein per serving. A whole egg is equal to one protein serving (7 grams of protein) with 70 to 80 calories, and dried beans and peas are lower in protein with 5 to 6 grams per ¼-cup serving and around 80 calories.
  • Fat contains approximately 45 calories per teaspoon (e.g., a pat of butter). Salad dressings, avocado, mayonnaise, oils and nuts have high fat content, but these may help improve the flavor of food and improve fullness.

Easy ways to add nutrients


  • Use regular, full-calorie ingredients rather than their diet versions (e.g., whole milk instead of skim).
  • Top off beverages and smoothies with whipped cream, marshmallows and/or syrups.
  • Drink premade, high-calorie, liquid nutrition supplements.


  • Add milk, powdered milk, protein powder, peanut butter, ice cream or Greek-style yogurt to smoothies or shakes.
  • Sprinkle cheese, hardboiled eggs, tofu and diced meats onto casseroles and salads.
  • Snack on string cheese, nut butters, Greek-style yogurt and premade nutritional beverages.


  • Add mayonnaise and salad dressings to sandwiches and meat salads (tuna or chicken).
  • Use oil, unsaturated margarine, sour cream and cheese in casseroles, soups and side dishes.
  • Stir cream, flavored creamers and/or supplements into beverages such as coffee and tea.


  • Choose colorful fruits and vegetables rather than colorless side dishes, such as rice and white potatoes.
  • Drink juices, milk and premade nutritional beverages instead of soft drinks.
  • Look for the word “Excellent source of...” on food packaging, which means the food contains at least 20 percent of the minimum daily requirements per serving.


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