Many people don’t consider getting enough nutrients or calories in their diet to be a pressing issue, but for people with a cancer diagnosis, it can be a daily struggle. A person going through treatment can experience numerous symptoms including: loss of appetite, sore mouth or throat, dry mouth, dental problems, changes in taste, nausea, and vomiting. With side effects making it difficult to eat a variety of foods, getting adequate nutrition can be a challenge. One way to combat side effects is to alter recipes and to plan ahead. For example, soup can be a great option for a meal, instead of a plate of meat and veggies which may be difficult to eat. Soup is a comfort food that can include a variety of ingredients and nutrients while being easy to digest.
One great recipe to try is this modified Chicken and White Bean Soup from the American Cancer Society. This recipe differs slightly from a traditional chicken noodle soup. It adds protein and reduces sodium.
- 3 cups cooked, chopped white chicken meat
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 3 carrots, sliced
- 2 celery stalks, sliced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cups water
- 6 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 1 15oz can of white beans, rinsed and drained
- Salt and pepper to taste*
Heat oil in a stock pot over medium heat. Saut the carrots, celery, onion and chicken for 8 to 10 minutes, or until vegetables soften.
Add water and chicken broth and bring to a boil, stirring to combine. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Add beans and chicken meat and cook for 5 minutes. If too thick, add more broth or water. Season with salt and pepper.
Check out the full recipe on the America Cancer Society website to learn how to make this tasty recipe using a fresh rotisserie chicken.
The benefits of a nutritious diet during cancer treatment include: increased strength and energy, weight maintenance, side effect management, lower risk of infection, and quicker recovery and healing. Finding foods that your meet nutritional requirements and are easy to consume can be difficult, but with some planning and research, it can make a huge difference in your journey.
Tori Wheeler, Senior Student in the Lipscomb University Didactic Program in Dietetics