The best way to cook for someone undergoing cancer treatments is to fix foods that soothe the symptoms they’re battling at the moment. By: Maureen Callahan, MS, RD
Cooking for CancerCancer experts are quick to point out that everyone’s experience with cancer and cancer treatments varies. So the best way to cook for a friend or loved one with cancer is to find out what symptoms they’re experiencing at the moment, and then take it from there. To see every potential symptom, check out this American Cancer Society link for a free downloadable booklet. Here’s our look at eight common complaints, and the types of foods you can prepare to help a loved one weather their treatments.
This Old-Fashioned Chicken Noodle Soup fits the bill for soothing, homemade comfort in a bowl.
A Strong Aversion to Red MeatThe Overall Plan: Find other good protein substitutes.
What to fix: Poultry, fish, eggs, and cheese. Pair them, if it makes sense, with sweet sauces such as cranberry or apple sauce.
Queasy & NauseousThe Overall Plan: Dish up simple comfort foods.
What to fix: Go subtle with flavor. Best bets: anything with ginger or lemon.
“I Can’t Eat A Lot”The Overall Plan: Boost protein and calories in mini snacks.
What to fix: Add powdered milk to puddings and smoothies or sub Greek yogurt (it has double the protein) in recipes that call for yogurt.
The Only Thing I Feel Like Eating is _____(fill in the blank)The Overall Plan: Food cravings are normal; honor them.
What to fix: Whatever they want, made as healthy as possible. Cool and creamy usually works (and chocolate is always good).
My Mouth Is Really DryThe Overall Plan: Foods and beverages that moisten the mouth.
What to fix: Sweet or tart foods that stimulate saliva.
My Mouth is SoreThe Overall Plan: No spicy, salty, or coarse-textured foods.
What to fix: Soft, easy-to-swallow foods and drinks.
A Lackluster AppetiteThe Overall Plan: High-calorie foods
What to fix: Healthy high-fat foods like avocado and peanut butter or healthier milkshakes, smoothies, and ice cream.
GI DistressThe Overall Plan: Focus on fluids with electrolytes; go easy on fiber.
What to fix: Broths, soups, and sports drinks