Supporting your health during cancer treatment starts with optimal nutrition. And it doesn’t have to be hard; eating a healthy diet can be a lot easier when you preplan your meals and snacks.
We know that some days are harder than others, and sometimes you don’t have the energy or appetite to plan and cook a whole meal in the moment.
This is when a little bit of advanced preparation can help.
Easy Prep Tips
- Batch-cooking whole meals in an afternoon or on the weekend and freezing them means you don’t have to think hard about what to eat to keep yourself well-fueled.
- Weekly meal prep could also be as easy as chopping, mixing, or cooking parts of meals (think: roasting off chicken breasts) ahead of time, so they’re easy to add to recipes as you need them.
- Keep several types of precooked protein like chicken and beef—even eggs!–on hand. Depending on the recipe you plan to follow, you can keep them whole or chop or shred the protein as needed.
- Wash and chop vegetables. Store some in the fridge for use in the next few days and freeze others as a healthy starting point for your favorite meals, stews or casseroles. Depending on the recipe, you can even roast them in advance.
- Precook pasta, rice, couscous and other grains. You can store these items in separate bags or containers for two to three days in the refrigerator. If you want to use them later in the week, be sure to store them in the freezer.
- Make and freeze pizza dough, so you can simply add sauce and toppings for something that feels like a cheat meal but isn’t!
- Cooked beans and lentils also store and freeze well.
- Stack salad in a mason jar for a quick and highly portable meal on-the-go or veggie-filled side dish.
Tasty, Healthy Recipes
Appetizers and Side Dishes
The healthy fat in avocados can help you feel full and satisfied. Mash two ripe avocados well. Stir them together with lemon juice, onions and olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for one hour before use.
Brown Rice with Almonds
Adjust the spices here to your taste level and enjoy this quick, one-pot side again and again. Rinse the rice and set it aside. Heat olive oil over high heat. Sauté a chopped onion and add chopped or smashed garlic. Continue cooking until the garlic and onion start to brown. Add the rice and mix well. Add broth, cilantro, salt, pepper and cumin. Bring to boil. Cook for five minutes, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 40 minutes. Add slivered almonds and stir lightly. Cover once more and cook on low heat for an additional 10 minutes. Serve.
Tomato and Basil Frittata
This is a light and simple meal that you can make with just a few ingredients. In a bowl, beat eight eggs. Gently add halved grape tomatoes, crumbled feta cheese and chopped basil. Season with salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into an oven-safe skillet and cook, without stirring, for 30 to 45 seconds. Use a spatula to lift the edges of the frittata towards the center of the skillet. Repeat the process several times until the egg on top is still wet but not runny. Place the frittata in the oven and bake for three to seven minutes.
Fusilli with Broccoli and Deconstructed Pesto
Here’s a quick but filling vegetarian entrée. Prepare the fusilli, cooking it to just al dente. Reserve ¼ cup of the pasta water before draining. Add chopped broccoli. Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté chopped or smashed garlic for one minute. Add broth and boil for five minutes, stirring frequently. Reduce the heat and add the pasta with broccoli, stirring until coated with sauce. Add chopped parsley and basil and stir to combine. Top with shredded Parmesan cheese and pine nuts.
Papaya and Almond Smoothie
Mix yogurt, papaya chunks, milk, sliced strawberries, honey, vanilla and silvered almonds in a blender and mix well. Additionally, sprinkle chopped almonds over your smoothie.
Preheat the oven to 350º. Coat a pan with nonfat cooking spray. In a blender, puree one cup of yogurt, four ounces of low-fat cream cheese and ¼ cup part-skim ricotta cheese with ¼ cup of maple syrup, cocoa, two egg whites, cinnamon and vanilla extract. Pour into pan and bake for 50 minutes. Cool then decorate with sliced strawberries.
More than a thousand men and women diagnosed with cancer each year turn to our trusted team of cancer specialists. We encourage you to call us to get information so we can become a partner in your recovery!