10 Tips for Cooking for a Friend with Cancer

APRIL 2, 2019  /  COOK FOR YOUR LIFE  / 

10 Tips for Cooking for a Friend with Cancer
At Cook For Your Life, it's our mission to give those touched by cancer the practical knowledge, tools and inspiration to cook their way through treatment and into a healthy survivorship. TakeThemAMeal.com provides a wonderful platform for caregivers and family members to help out loved ones with cancer by bringing them food during a time when good nutrition is extremely important. But, there are a lot of important factors to keep in mind when bringing meals to a loved one with cancer.
First, it's important to maintain an open dialogue about food with your loved one and their main caretaker so you can ensure you are truly giving them the help they need. Also, be aware that chemotherapy and radiation can cause changes in taste, appetite, and can cause a depleted immune system so talk to your loved one about these issues before bringing them a meal.
Here are some helpful tips to help you take them the right meal:
  1. First, make sure you follow safety measures to avoid contamination or spoilage of food. The FDA has a great guide on safety measures for preparing foods for cancer patients that you can find here.
  2. You can narrow down recipes to bring them by using the treatment-based recipe search on our site, which will pare down recipes based on the treatment they're in, side effects they may have, and/or their dietary restrictions.
  3. It's usually a first reaction to bring sick friends or family members comfort food. That's OK. Just make sure you are cooking them in a healthy way, and including important nutrients. For instance, you can bring them meatloaf, just make it with chicken or turkey and include plenty of vegetables.
  4. If a friend is feeling nauseous from treatment, it can be good to bring them bland-tasting food like Leek & Rice Soup, or Poached Chicken. And avoid bringing foods with a strong odor, as a memory of the smell could turn them off of those foods for good, even when they're well into survivorship.
  5. You don't have to bring huge meals. Registered Dietitians and Oncologists often recommend that patients keep small, ready-made meals around the house. Look into bringing veggie-based side dishes and snacks that are easy to put together.
  6. Consider making recipes that you can freeze into individual size portions that can easily be heated up. soups are a perfect choice for healthy freezer meals.
  7. If someone is dealing with mouth or throat pain, or mouth sores from treatment, bring them very soft non-acidic foods. Check out our easy to swallow recipes.
  8. If someone has surgery near their intestinal area, or is dealing with digestion problems in general, cook them foods that are easy to digest. Also known as the 'bland diet', these are foods like white rice, potatoes, and cooked vegetables. Follow this link for bland diet ideas.
  9. It's okay for cancer patients to eat sweets in moderation. But you can also add important nutrients into sweet treats, like in our Almond Avocado Pudding, Chocolate Beet Cupcakes, or Zucchini Bread.
  10. Remember that if they choose not to or cannot eat something you bring they still appreciate the effort and support!
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Adina & Maureen
Adina & Maureen

Welcome! We're thrilled you stopped by. Our own joys and sorrows have taught us that a well-timed meal delivered by a friend is one of the best gifts imaginable. In this space, we share our favorite recipes to take to friends, meal-taking tips, and other ways to care for those who are dear to you.

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