Helpful Strategies and Meal Ideas for Cancer Patients
Meal preparation can be a struggle when you are fatigued. In general, the best foods to try will be simple and require very little preparation.
Meal Prep Strategies
• Shop and Stock: Before treatment starts, fill your kitchen with foods like crackers, bread, pasta, rice, peanut butter, eggs, canned fruit, broth and canned soups, yogurt, frozen fruit and vegetables, chicken, deli turkey, etc. Having a well-stocked pantry will ease meal time preparation.
• Family and Friends: Loved ones can help alleviate the stress of shopping and preparing food.
— Have one person organize a task schedule for shopping and cooking.
— Recruit the help of family and friends to prepare meals and freeze them in individual portions for you.
—Keep in mind that prepared meals should be lightly seasoned and low in fat.
— Cooked pieces of chicken or other meats are freezer friendly and can make meal prep easy. Other freezer friendly foods include soups, stews and baked goods like muffins or pancakes.
• Pre-made Foods: On occasion, buying prepared items like canned soups or frozen meals is helpful when you don’t have the time or energy to cook.
• Leftover Power: When you do cook, prepare extra servings; these leftovers will come in handy later in the week.
Easy Meal Ideas
Below is a list of meal ideas that are light in flavor and require very little preparation:
Meal #1 (Take Out): Rotisserie Chicken, Baked Potato, Green Salad Purchasing a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store is a great option for a healthy meal, saving you the effort of preparation (the leftovers are great, too). An easy accompaniment is a potato or sweet potato cooked in the microwave.
Meal #2 (Sandwich Night): Deli Sandwich, Fruit or Raw Veggies with Dip A balanced meal does not need to be complicated. A simple sandwich with deli meats, cheese, tuna, chicken or egg salad is a great option.
Meal #3 (Simple Salad): Entrée Salad Use any leftover protein like chicken, hardboiled eggs, pork, beef, beans, lentils to prepare an entrée salad. Examples might be a Chef salad, Chicken Waldorf or a Taco salad. Add a dinner roll for a simple, healthy, no fuss meal!
Meal #4 (Breakfast for Dinner): Egg Sandwich, Fruit Smoothie Enjoy breakfast anytime! Foods like eggs, pancakes, French toast, omelets are easy to prepare and nutritious. Round out the meal with a smoothie
Meal #5 (Crockpot Meal): Chicken, Rice, Vegetable Prepare chicken breasts in the crockpot. Brown or white rice can be made in the microwave for a fast, easy side dish along with a frozen vegetable like peas or corn.