As we all know, eating while dealing with the ravages of Childhood Cancer and the side-effects of Childhood Cancer Treatments can be challenging, but at the same time, it is vital that anyone with cancer eat nutritious meals and snacks in order to build up their immune system to fight the cancer and stay strong.
It is not always easy to get someone with cancer to eat though, due to mouth sores, weakness, nausea, and the fact that treatments sometimes leave a metallic taste in the mouth or just make food taste different.
Today we bring you some recipes found on a Pancreatic Cancer website that were devised by professional chefs and nutritionists for those with pancreatic cancer because of their extreme challenges in a patient’s diet and nutritional needs due to their digestive issues. While these recipes were devised for pancreatic cancer patients, they will be just a nutritious and beneficial to any cancer patient.
Apple Butternut Squash Pancakes
These delicious pancakes can be used as a meal any time of the day. They are rich in beta-carotene and are designed to be easy to tolerate for cancer symptoms such as nausea and overall stomach upset. For additional protein, nuts can be added.
Yield: 12 small pancakes (6 large)
- 3 cups grated raw butternut squash or acorn squash (may also use zucchini)
- 1 large green apple (or 2 small) grated, raw
- 1/3 cup sour cream (use reduced-fat or vegan sour cream if necessary)
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk of choice (use lactose-free, non-dairy, or reduced-fat as needed)
- cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- Grate squash on cheese grater or food processor. Steam in a shallow bowl in microwave with a small amount of water for 3 minutes to soften.
- Core and grate apple on cheese grater or food processor, and add to squash mixture.
- Add squash and apple to a mixing bowl and stir in sour cream, egg, and milk with a fork.
- In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add to mixing bowl and stir with the fork.
- Heat frying pan to low-medium and spray with cooking spray.
- Using a ladle or a spoon, drop batter onto pan into small pancakes. Flip when bubbles start to form around the edges of pancake.
Pastiera (Pasta Egg Bake)
Pastiera is traditionally an Italian-style Easter cake that is sweetened and made with ricotta cheese. This recipe is a savoury spin on this classic dish and is packed with protein from the eggs and milk. Lactose-free milk and cheese can be used for those experiencing lactose intolerance. Spaghetti squash is also a great substitution for pasta noodles as a lower carbohydrate alternative or for those looking to add a tolerable vegetable component.
Yield: 8 servings
- 12 eggs, beaten (may substitute for lower fat pasteurized liquid egg product)
- 2 cups of milk (substitute non-fat or reduced fat milk if experiencing fat intolerance)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
- Perciatelli (aka Bucatini or #6 macaroni spaghetti with a hole running through)
- Preheat oven to 120° C. Spray a rectangular 22x33cm baking dish with non-fat cooking spray.
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Mix beaten eggs with milk, salt, pepper, and cheese while macaroni is cooking.
- Combine together in the 22x33cm baking dish.
- Bake at 120° C for 10 minutes, and then increase oven temperature to 180° C for 25-30 minutes.
- Cut into 8 pieces, or smaller as a side dish.
Sweet Potato & White Bean Fritters
Trying this unique plant-based recipe will add vibrancy and texture to your plate. Substitute any squash or beans that you have available. This recipe is a good choice for those needing foods that are soft and easy to chew and swallow.
Yield: 12 fritters
- 2 cups (280 grams) cubed and peeled sweet potato
- 1 can (440 grams) no-added salt white beans, drained and rinsed
- 4 Tbsp. quick cooking oats
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup onion, minced
- 1 large clove garlic, minced
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage leaves
- 1/4 tsp. cumin
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp. Canola Oil or Extra Virgin Olive Oil, divided
- 3/4 cup low-fat sour cream or fat-free plain Greek-style yogurt
- In large saucepan with a steamer basket, steam sweet potatoes until tender, about 15-17 minutes.
- Transfer sweet potato to food processor. Add beans, oats, egg, onion, garlic, sage, cumin. Pulse until blended yet slightly chunky.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Gently drop six 1/4 cup portions of mixture into pan and gently press into round patties with back of measuring cup or spatula. Don’t over crowd skillet.
- Sauté fritters until golden brown on bottom, about 5 minutes. Heat may need to be adjusted for optimal browning.
- Carefully turn over each fritter and sauté until other side is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes.
- Transfer fritters to plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
- Use remaining oil to sauté remaining six fritters. There should be 12 fritters in total. Serve warm with sour cream or Greek yogurt.
Pumpkin Oatmeal Bars
These are a healthy alternative to many common cookie recipes. Whole-wheat flour, oats, pumpkin, and ground flaxseed add soluble and insoluble fibre, along with the phytochemical and antioxidant benefits of the added spices. Great selection for an after dinner dessert or midday snack. Flaxseed can be omitted if experiencing gas, bloating, or diarrhoea.
Yield: 40 square bars or 48 cookies
- 2 cups whole-wheat flour
- 1 1/3 cups rolled oats
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 1/3 cup sugar
- 2/3 cup canola oil
- 3 Tbsp. molasses
- 1 can of cooked pumpkin puree
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed (optional)
Optional add-ins: 1 cup mini chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 180° C Grease two 30 x 43cm baking sheet pans.
- Mix together flour, oats, baking soda, salt, and spices.
- In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, oil, molasses, pumpkin, vanilla, and optional flaxseeds until very well combined.
- Mix flour and sugar mixtures together. Fold in chocolate chips, if desired.
- Spread and press batter onto greased cookie sheets (to make cookies, drop 2.5cm size balls of batter 2cm apart, and flatten tops of cookies with fork or your fingers to press into cookie shape).
- Bake for 16 minutes or until inserted knife or toothpick is clean. Rotate halfway through baking.
- Remove from oven (if making cookies, transfer to wire rack to cool).
- Once cool slice into 20 bars per sheet pan.
Baked Berry French Toast
This French toast recipe is great to make ahead of time for a busy weekday morning. It is a good balanced entrée that includes protein, carbohydrates, dairy, and fruit. Cream cheese and milk components can be substituted with lactose-free versions for those experiencing lactose intolerance.
Yield: 8 Servings
- 12 slices day-old bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 (12 oz.) package of low-fat cream cheese, room temperature
- 2 1/4 cups low-fat fat-free milk or non-dairy alternative, divided
- 2 tsp. vanilla, divided
- 2 cups blueberries, fresh or thawed frozen, divided
- 10 eggs, beaten
- 1/4 cup plus 1 Tbsp. honey or pure maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 180° C
- Lightly grease a 22x33cm baking dish.
- Blend 1 tub of cream cheese, 1/4 cup of milk, 1 Tbsp. honey and 1 tsp. vanilla.
- Arrange 1/2 of the bread cubes in bottom of dish. Top with cream cheese mixture. Sprinkle 1 cup of blueberries over top, and top with remaining bread cubes.
- In large bowl, mix eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and honey or syrup. Pour over bread cubes Cover, refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.
- Cover, and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, and continue baking for 25-30 minutes, until centre is firm and surface is lightly browned.
- Let cool for 10-12 minutes. Top with remaining berries and enjoy.
Peaches & Cream Smoothie
Simple meals like shakes and smoothies are often helpful ways for people caring for or living with cancer to get the nutrients they need. This Peaches and Cream Smoothie combines the potassium and fibre benefits of peaches and bananas along with soluble fibre from rolled oats, which can help to alleviate loose bowel movements and promote regularity. The protein powder can be added at the recommendation of your healthcare team for additional nutritional value. Dairy components can be easily substituted with lactose-free or non-dairy versions.
Yield: 1-2 serving
- ½ cup rolled oats
- cup plain yogurt (or soy/coconut/almond yogurt)
- ¾ cup milk (or soy/almond/rice milk) + ¼ cup more for morning
- 1 small ripe peach (or ½ cup frozen peaches, thawed and softened)
- ½ medium banana
- Pinch of salt
- 1-2 Tbsp. protein powder (whey or soy) (optional)
- Gather all ingredients
- Combine ingredients in a blender and enjoy
- Store in a container in your refrigerator overnight if making ahead of time. In the morning, add last ¼ cup milk, more if you need it to blend smoothly.
Source: Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
(Recipes have been adjusted to suit South African requirements/measurements)