Senior students in Lipscomb University’s Didactic Program in Dietetics contribute blogs to PearlPoint’s Pearls of Wisdom. View all student blogs here.
Picture yourself in the thick of a hectic day. It may look like non-stop meetings at work, driving the kids halfway around the world, or getting to endless doctor appointments. When lunch time rolls around, the grumbling of your stomach may remind your brain to squeeze in that lunch break.
For cancer patients undergoing therapy, a lack of normal hunger cues and decreases appetite can make it difficult to consume enough nutritious foods. Malnutrition due to lack of appetite and/or poor nutrition hinders a patient’s response to treatment, while increasing the persistence of symptoms or time of hospitalization. As the body is working hard to heal, it needs calories and nutrients to provide energy for healing. Some forms of cancer and treatment can also cause difficulty swallowing, dry mouth and mouth sores. Therefore, many find that drinking may be easier than eating solid foods. The solution is simple—some meals are better in a cup!
Here are three tasty recipes that are energy-dense and provide nutrients to promote healing:
Creamy Potato Chowder (Click the link for the recipe!)
A hearty soup is a fabulous meal alternative and an easy way to pack calories and nutrients in small quantities. For each 8 oz serving, this chowder contains vitamins C, A, fiber, 25 grams of protein, and 41% of calcium needs.
Cherry Walnut Smoothie (See the recipe below!)
Here’s a fun way to mix up an everyday, simple berry smoothie while also adding in nutritious food components to relieve the side effects of treatment. Cherries contain high amounts of fiber which may lessen common cancer symptoms such as diarrhea or constipation. The fruit also stands as a good source of potassium, vitamin C, and antioxidants. The omega-3 content of walnuts has been linked to slowed tumor growth and reduced inflammation.
- ½ cup frozen cherries
- 1 cup whole milk
- ½ cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tablespoon ground flax seed
- 2 tablespoons walnuts
- ¼ cup powdered milk
- Optional: Add chopped spinach or kale for a serving of veggies with no taste!
Using a blender, add in cherries, Greek yogurt, flax seed, powdered milk, and walnuts. Pour milk over the ingredients and blend until smooth. For a thinner consistency, add more milk as needed.
Peanut Butter and Banana Oat Shake (Click the link for the recipe!)
Sometimes dessert can’t spoil the meal when it is the meal. This shake not only curbs a sweet tooth, but also provides protein, vitamin C, potassium and calcium. The iron found in peanut butter may help combat iron deficiency anemia which is prevalent in approximately 40 percent of cancer patients. Vitamin C from the banana helps the body absorb the iron. The banana also doubles as a good source of potassium to promote regulation of fluid balance, blood pressure, and the heart’s electrical activity. Tip: Sub half-and-half for milk for an extra caloric boost!
Cancer presents a daily battle. A lack of appetite has the potential to only extend the fight. Finding simple and convenient (not to mention delicious) recipes to fuel the body’s defense systems can prevent the dangers of malnutrition. Drink up to stay nourished!
Authors: Madison Shea and Hannah Ward, Students in the Lipscomb University Didactic Program in Dietetics