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AICR Recipe Guidelines

AICR Test Kitchen StampOur recipes help you put AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention and our New American Plate into practice. We test the recipes for ease of preparation, clarity, flavor and presentation. We also analyze nutritional content of all recipes to ensure adherence to AICR guidelines.


  • AICR appetizers are mostly low energy-dense foods with calories averaging 150-175 calories per serving or less.
  • Appetizer soups average 100-130 calories per serving.
  • Appetizer side salads are primarily vegetables, fruit and low in calories, averaging of 150 - 175 calories.


  • Beverage recipes contain fruits, vegetables or fat-free or low-fat dairy or other plant based milks, (such as soy, rice).
  • Added sugars of any kind, including honey or other “natural” sweeteners will be minimal and aim to be consistent with guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and American Heart Association (AHA).
  • WHO – less than 10% of daily calories from added sugars
  • AHA – no more than 100-150 calories daily from added sugars
  • Certain AICR beverages may be designed for cancer survivors who need additional calories to maintain or gain weight. These beverages will be nutrient dense as well as high calorie dense.


  • By dry measure, 1/2 (or more) of the flours and other grains in most bread recipes will be 100% whole grain.

Breakfast foods

  • These fit within a breakfast total count of 400-500 calories that would include whole grain, fruit, protein and/or dairy.


  • Appetizer soups average 100-130 calories per serving.
  • Main course soup or stew includes protein, vegetable and possibly grain and would fit into a meal of 400-700 calories.
  • Sodium content meets nutrient guidelines within totality of day’s meals – to total no more than 2,300 milligrams.


  • Appetizers or side salads are primarily vegetables, fruit and low in calories, averaging 150-175 calories.
  • Main course salads include protein food with vegetables and fit into 400-700 calorie meal.
  • Dressings – fat and calorie content of dressings depend on other salad ingredients, for example if a salad includes high fat foods such as nuts, cheese or avocado, a lower calories dressing is used.


  • Vegetarian entrees provide significant amounts of protein – at least 10 grams of protein per serving.
  • Poultry recipes may be served without skin to keep calories and fat low
  • Red meat recipes are used only occasionally, using lean cuts and serving size 3 ounces or less (cooked).


  • Our vegetable recipes emphasize variety and may include fresh, frozen or canned.
  • Canned choices use no salt added or they are drained and rinsed.

Pasta, Rice and Other Grains

  • Recipes primarily use whole grains (such as brown rice, whole wheat flour and whole wheat pasta).
  • Most baked goods use at least one-half by weight whole grain flour.
  • Recipes use unseasoned grains rather than boxed mixes or other choices with added sodium and flavors.


  • Desserts are mostly based on fruit, dairy or whole-grain or other plant-based food.
  • Fats used in desserts are mostly oils, but use of modest amounts of trans-fat free margarines or butter is acceptable.
  • Desserts average 250 calories per serving.

Individual Nutrients

  • Fats – Most fat sources are naturally occurring in plant foods and fish, or if added, mostly oils.
  • Added sugar – Most recipes follow the WHO recommendation that no more than 10% of total calories should come from added sugar of any type. Desserts may be higher in sugar – the goal is that it can fit into an overall healthful diet. This does not include naturally occurring sugars in foods.
  • Sodium – No more than 480 mg/serving for side dishes; no more than 600 mg/serving for main dish items. These are upper limits and most recipes contain less sodium.

Published on March 18, 2014

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