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Eating Around the Holidays: Modified Recipes for Gastric Cancer Patients

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Patients and their families contact Debbie's Dream Foundation and have many questions about nutrition and how to eat through their diagnosis, especially through the holidays. That is why we have partnered with Memorial Cancer Institute and Publix Aprons Cooking School to bring you delicious recipes modified for gastric cancer patients.**


**These recipes were developed by the Registered Dietitians from Memorial Cancer Institute, Hollywood, Fl. along with the Resident Chef at Publix Aprons Cooking School, Plantation, Fl. Note that the Registered Dietitians featured in these recipe tutorials from Memorial Cancer Institute can only treat patients who are a part of the Memorial Healthcare System treatment team.

Nutrition Facts

When you are diagnosed with cancer, nutrition becomes even more important. Good nutrition can help you feel better, reduce the risk of infection, keep your strength up, and help you heal faster. Maintaining a healthy body weight and your body's store of nutrients can help you tolerate treatment-related side effects as well. All nutrients are good for you and will help.


Protein is important for growth, to repair body tissue, and to keep our immune systems healthy. Not getting enough protein can slow down healing and break down muscle for fuel causing weakness. Extra protein may be needed for patients undergoing chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. Some sources of lean protein are beans, nuts, seeds, chicken, fish, turkey, meat, dairy and lentils.


Yes fat is important! Fats and oils are made of fatty acids and serve as a rich source of energy for the body. When fat breaks down, our body uses it to store energy, insulate the body and transport vitamins. There are many different types of fats and some are better than others. Monounsaturated fats are found mainly in vegetable oils like olive, canola, and peanut oils. They are typically liquid at room temperature.

  • Monounsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body's cells.
  • Polyunsaturated fats are found mainly in vegetable oils like safflower, sunflower, corn, and flaxseed. They are also the main fats found in seafood. These fats are high in omega 6 and omega 3 which can play a crucial role in brain function and in the normal growth and development of your body.
  • Saturated fats are mainly found in animal sources like meat and poultry, whole or reduced-fat milk, cheese, and butter. Some vegetable oils like coconut, palm kernel oil, and palm oil are saturated. Saturated fats can raise cholesterol and increase your risk for heart disease. Less than 10% of your calories should come from saturated fat.
  • Trans-fatty acids are formed when vegetable oils are processed into margarine or shortening. Sources of trans fats include snack foods and baked goods made with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or vegetable shortening. Trans fats also are found naturally in some animal products, like dairy products. Trans fats can raise bad cholesterol and lower good cholesterol. Try to avoid these products.


This is the nutrient I find most people scared of and try to avoid. CARBS ARE GOOD FOR YOU!! It just depends which ones you are talking about. Carbohydrates are important for energy; they give the body the fuel it needs for physical activity and proper organ function. "Good Carbs" are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. "Bad Carbs" are simple sugars like cookies, cakes, candies, and sugar drinks which provide little nutritional benefit.


Water, water, water and did I say water, is extremely important to drink. All your cells need water to function properly. If you are experiencing some side effects like diarrhea or vomiting, you want to make sure you're staying hydrated to prevent dehydration which can be dangerous. Drinking eight 8oz glasses of water a day is suggested. Some of the food you eat like soup, ice cream and milk contain fluid which can be used toward your fluid goal. If you don't like the taste of water, you can always flavor your water with fruit. I like to add a mango peel or sliced strawberries to a pitcher of water. Now I have flavored water with no added calories or artificial sweeteners.

Vitamins and Minerals

These are also important for body function. Yes they come in pill form also, but are better absorbed through food. Sometimes if you are not eating well, the doctor may suggest talking a multivitamin. People think the more the better with vitamins; however, vitamins can sometimes interact with treatment so speak with your doctor or registered dietitian before starting any supplements.

This is an overview of basic nutrition. All these nutrients are good for you. Remember, your plate should look like a rainbow. The more colors on your plate, the better.

By Stacy Roberts, RD