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Meal Planning

Posted 9/15/2016

Posted in

  Ah, thinking about of my very favorite topics. For people going through cancer therapy, food and meals often become problematic. Feeling fatigued and maybe nauseated and having a metallic of other odd taste in your mouth or having mouth sores or painful symptoms from radiation or......don't add up to robust and excited appetites. I well remember my delight after both my breast cancers when I again wanted to read cookbooks and think about new recipes. For months, all I had wanted was poached eggs.

  Stepping back from cancer, most of us know that meal planning is a very good idea. I know that if I spend time on Sunday thinking about weeknight meals, doing any necessary shopping, maybe even working in some prep--we eat a lot better. Starting to think about "what's for dinner" while driving home at 6 PM usually results in tuna salad on bagels or an omelet. Those aren't really bad choices, but I like to do better. This week, we did have the tuna on  bagels last night because of a major time crunch, but on Monday we had Creamy Corn and Basil Pasta and on Tuesday we had Spicy Shrimp w Cilantro. Both were delicious, but probably would not have seemed so in the middle of chemotherapy.

  The advice about meal planning during treatment is even more important as it enables you to use any available energy when you have it. You do need to build in flexibility and back ups because the meal you had planned may not sound so tempting when the time comes to eat it. The best advice is to plan and cook ahead and have some single portion comfort foods in the freezer: soup, mac and cheese, pasta sauce.

  Another important thing to remember is that there are not foods that you must eat during treatment. Occasionally there are restrictions about diet; for example, people who have recently had a bone marrow transplant must avoid fresh fruits and vegetables for some period of time. For most of us, the only strong suggestion is to make sure to eat enough protein. It does not have to be meat; dairy works or beans or some grains. And one woman I know swears by Trader Joe's smoked oysters.

  And here is more advice from Cancer Net: 

7 Steps to Meal Planning Mastery
 Amy Thompson

If you’re living with cancer, eating well can improve your health, energy level, and overall
well-being. But deciding what to eat, shopping for groceries, and preparing meals can
be tiring, even on your best days. Here are 7 tips to guide your meal planning before
heading to the grocery store.



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