Services > Cancer Center > Health Library

Nutrition and Cancer: High-Protein Foods

Calorie and protein guidelines during cancer treatment

Each individual?s calorie and protein requirements will vary depending on a number of factors, such as age, gender, body weight, and activity level.�The current recommended daily allowance for protein for most adults is 46 to 56�grams per day. It is important to discuss your individual calorie and protein requirements with your�doctor or registered dietitian. With some cancers, the metabolic processes can cause a situation known as hypermetabolism that affects how the body uses proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. With hypermetabolism, you may need to increase your calorie and protein intake. Discuss this with your�doctor or registered dietitian.

What foods are high in protein?

Foods that are high in protein include:

  • Meats, such as beef, pork, lamb, chicken, turkey, and fish

  • Dairy products such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese

  • Eggs

  • Nuts and nut butters

  • Dried beans and peas

Listed below are some suggestions for adding calories and protein to your meals and snacks:

  • Add powdered milk (33 calories and 3 grams protein per tablespoon):

    • To foods and beverages

    • To puddings, potatoes, soups, ground meats, vegetables, cooked cereal, milkshakes, yogurt, and pancake batter

  • Add eggs or egg substitute (80 calories and 6 grams protein per egg):

    • To casseroles, meat loaf, mashed potatoes, cooked cereal, macaroni and cheese, and chicken or tuna salads

    • To French toast and pancake batter. (Add more eggs than you normally would.)

  • Use cheese (100 calories and 7 grams protein per ounce), as tolerated:

    • As snacks or on sandwiches

    • With casseroles, potatoes, vegetables, and soups

  • Use whole milk (150 calories and 8 grams protein per cup) in cooking and food preparation, as tolerated.

  • Use peanut butter (95 calories and 4 grams protein per tablespoon) on toast, bagels, crackers, bananas, apples, and celery.

  • Add Carnation Instant Breakfast (130 calories and 7 grams protein per packet) to milkshakes or milk.

  • Add nonfat dry milk to whole milk to prepare high-protein milk.