Breakfast for Dinner during Chemotherapy

Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes


If you have an upset stomach after a day of chemotherapy, and can’t find anything you want to eat, have you ever made  “breakfast for dinner”?  Foods like pancakes or eggs.  You might want to try making something like my banana pancakes recipe for dinner.  Often, people find breakfast foods are more appealing than dinner foods,  if their stomach is a little queasy and their sense of taste has been affected.

Bananas for when you’re queasy

One advantage of banana pancakes is that they include bananas. Bananas are one of the foods we recommend if you are feeling a little nauseous (along with white rice, applesauce and toast). This is the “BRAT” diet you may have heard of if you’ve ever had an upset stomach during a hospital stay.  So if you are a bit queasy, these pancakes might taste good on a night when you feel like you just can’t eat.

When you’re hungry for simple carbs

Pancakes for dinner can also help you satisfy your hunger for foods like doughnuts, bagels, cookies and cakes,  etc. if you find yourself craving these things after your treatment.  If you’ve been given steroids, this might be one of the side effects you experience as you start to head home after your day of treatment.

Other “breakfast for dinner” choices

If banana pancakes aren’t for you, try simple scrambled eggs and some lightly buttered toast, a small bowl of oatmeal with a bit of butter and a little sugar or maybe a piece of french toast. If you are used to eating rice in the morning, try making a rice congee for dinner if you are feeling a little “off”.  The idea is that you want to try to find something that is mild and will be soft and easy to eat.

The sugar in the oatmeal (or if you put maple syrup on french toast or pancakes) may help offset taste changes you might have.  Some people get a metallic taste during or after certain chemotherapies, eating something that is a little sweet can sometimes help. Or, if foods that are sweet are not appealing, add some lemon or lime juice to your food.  You may have to experiment a bit to find something you like. What’s important is that you try to find something that appeals to you since your body needs the energy from food to help keep you strong.  If you can manage to add a glass of skim milk to your meal, that will also add some additional protein which helps round out the meal (8 grams of protein in one cup of skim milk).

Many people feel o.k. after a day of chemo

Many people feel o.k. after a day of chemo. For instance, when I’ve had an upset stomach during a chemo week,  it generally has been 2-3 days after treatment, not the day of chemo itself.  And, it’s not a side effect I’ve had every time I’ve had treatment.

So keep this idea in your bag of tricks in case you ever need it.   Remember, when you are going through treatment for breast cancer, you want to try to maintain your weight — not lose too much, and not gain too much.

Let me know if you need help finding foods that will work for you.



Hi, I am

Barbara Spalding MS, RDN, Culinary Dietitian

As a dietitian and world traveler, I love bold flavors — in food and in life. 14 years ago, I fell down the rabbit hole into Breast Cancer Wonderland. Since then, I’ve learned to cook differently while savoring the pleasures of food and companionship. I’ve built a resilient new life and a bold new kitchen. Let me show you the flavors of the world.
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