Nutrition & Cooking

Nutrition is an essential part of cancer treatment, recovery and overall well-being. The Dempsey Center offers practical instruction on healthy eating habits before, during and after cancer treatment.

Nutrition Consultations

Many cancer patients find it hard to eat well. Cancer and cancer treatments may affect taste, smell, appetite and the ability to eat enough food or absorb the nutrients from food. Eating the right amount of food is important for healing, fighting infection, having enough energy and building strength.

The Dempsey Center provides nutrition consultations at no cost to cancer patients, survivors and caregivers.

A private appointment with our registered dietitian can help you:

  • Understand the challenges to eating well
  • Learn practical tips for improving your nutrition
  • Become confident that you can maintain a healthy weight, improve strength and decrease side effects both during and after treatment.


Judy Donnelly, RDN

Nutrition Program Coordinator

[email protected]

Judy Donnelly is a licensed, registered dietitian with twenty years of experience working with oncology patients and people with a wide range of health concerns.  She joined the Dempsey Center in 2015, and has practiced in a variety of settings, including group work, corporate wellness, cooking classes, and private consultations. She has great passion and skill for helping clients meet their nutritional goals and translating the science of nutrition into wholesome and health-supporting eating habits.

Classes & Workshops

A healthy diet is an essential component of cancer risk reduction, treatment and recovery. The Dempsey Center’s Nutrition Program offers several classes to help you maintain wellness before, during and after treatment.

Research shows that eating well can have a positive impact on energy level, treatment outcomes and overall sense of well-being. Our nutrition programs are facilitated by registered dietitians who provide evidence-based guidelines and practical tips to help promote good nutrition habits during treatment and beyond.

Going through treatment?

  • Attend What to Eat: Before, During and After Cancer Treatment, combining basic nutrition and strategies to eat well while dealing with cancer-related side effects.

In treatment or beyond and interested in maintaining health with good nutrition?
The Dempsey Center has a variety of classes that will help you learn how certain foods and nutrients work to promote good health and to support you before, during and after cancer treatment. You’ll also learn how to prepare quick and healthy recipes, have tasting opportunities and get recipes to make at home.

Nutrition programming at the Dempsey Center is supported in part by Hannaford Supermarkets.

Click here to view Dempsey Center Nutrition Programs

The Dempsey Center Community Garden

Located in Auburn, the Dempsey Center Community Garden is a true community effort and resource.

Tended by volunteers, with guidance from master gardeners, the garden provides a unique space for programs, produce for nutrition classes and local produce for cancer patients.

During the growing season, classes for both teens and adults are held at the garden. During harvest season, volunteers deliver fresh community garden produce to the Dempsey Center. Tomatoes, beans, squash and more are turned into healthy meals during nutrition classes and workshops. The surplus is offered to cancer patients and their families, providing them with access to fresh, locally-grown produce.

For more information, please contact our nutrition program coordinator.