Nutrition During Cancer Treatment

Nutrition During Cancer Treatment

Celebrating the Month of Eat better, Eat Together!

Siblings smiling at dinnerWe all know how important good nutrition is to our physical and emotional health. Navigating cancer treatments and schedules can make it difficult to find the time or energy to cook a nutritious meal. So, in honor of Eat Better, Eat Together Month, which is celebrated in October, we’ve put together a list of five family-friendly recipes and some mealtime tips to make to help mealtimes a little more enjoyable. We hope that you find our list of ‘meals that heal’ useful. It is true that any time of year is a good time to learn to eat better and together!

Mealtime Tips:
  • Make sure everyone is seated around a table or switch the atmosphere and have a picnic. The important thing is to create a more communal atmosphere and encourage conversation.
  • Get the kids involved in preparing the meal. This can help teach them about cooking and nutrition, and it can be a fun bonding experience.
  • Find some colorful paper plates and let the kids set the table. This also has the benefit of no washing up for Mom and Dad!
  • Remove the technology distractions.
  • Ask everyone about their day. If you have some shy ones at the table, try the Rose, Thorn, Bud game. A Rose is something nice that happened that day, a Thorn something you didn’t like, and a Bud something you’re looking forward to. This is a subtle way of gauging the emotions of your kids and family without having to ask or pry.
5 Family-Friendly recipes for Meals that Heal

Taco night is a fun and easy way to get everyone involved in the kitchen, especially when you get to customize your own tacos with their favorite toppings. For an extra nutrient boost, try using ground turkey or chicken instead of beef. Serve with a side of refried beans and a fruit salad for a complete meal.


-1 pound ground turkey, chicken, or beef

-1 tablespoon chili powder

-1 teaspoon cumin

-1 teaspoon garlic powder

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-1/2 cup water

-10-12 taco shells or tortillas


-1/2 cup shredded cheese

-1/2 cup diced tomatoes

-1/4 cup chopped green onions

-Sour cream


  1. In a large skillet, cook the ground turkey or chicken over medium heat until browned. Drain any excess fat and stir in the chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes or until the water has evaporated.
  2. Assemble the tacos by spooning the meat mixture into the taco shells. (Fun tip: Put a tortilla on the outside of the hard-shell taco for a crunchy taco that doesn’t fall apart.)
  3. Let everyone add their own toppings!
Tortellini Minestrone SoupBaby happily drinking juice box

This recipe is a crowd-pleaser, especially in the winter. Plus, who doesn’t love pasta in soup?


-1 tablespoon olive oil

-1 white onion, diced

-3 cloves garlic, minced

-3 carrots, peeled and diced

-2 zucchini, diced

-1 red pepper, diced

-28-ounce can diced tomatoes

-6 cups chicken or vegetable broth

-1 teaspoon dried basil leaves

-1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-Freshly ground black pepper to taste

-10-ounce package frozen cheese tortellini

-1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese


  1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, carrots, zucchini, and red pepper. Cook until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juice, broth, basil, thyme, salt and black pepper to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Stir in the tortellini and cook according to the package directions. Divide the soup among 4 bowls. Sprinkle each bowl with Parmesan cheese and serve hot. This tastes even better as leftovers!
One-Pot Italian Chicken and Rice

This One-Pot Italian Chicken and Rice is a quick and easy meal that the whole family will love. It’s made with just seven simple ingredients and takes less than 30 minutes to cook.


-1 tablespoon olive oil

-1/2 onion, diced

-1 red bell pepper, diced

-1 chicken breast, cut into small strips

-1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-1/2 teaspoon black pepper

-1 cup white rice, uncooked

-2 cups chicken broth or stock

-1/4 cup chopped parsley


  1. In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken strips, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through.
  3. Stir in the rice and chicken broth or stock. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the rice is cooked through. Stir in the chopped parsley before serving.
      Girl happily eating her breakfastBreakfast Burrito Meal Prep

      Meal-prepping nutritious breakfast meals like this one can save you a ton of time and provide nutrients and protein to start the day off right.


      -10 eggs, beaten

      -1/2 cup diced onion

      -1 red bell pepper, diced

      -1/2 cup diced green bell pepper

      -1/2 cup diced tomato

      -1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

      -1/4 teaspoon salt

      -1/4 teaspoon black pepper

      -10 flour tortillas (burrito size)

      -1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

      -1 1/2 cups salsa

      -1 cup guacamole


      1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
      2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, onion, bell peppers, tomato, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper. Mix well.
      3. Place the tortillas on the prepared baking sheet. Divide the egg mixture evenly among the tortillas. Top with shredded cheese and salsa. Bake for 15 minutes or until the tortillas are cooked through and the cheese is melted. Serve with guacamole on the side.
      Banana Soft Serve

      How could we forget dessert?! When you or your kids are craving something sweet, this easy

      Banana soft serve has whole ingredients, and protein, and can be whipped up in just 5 minutes!


      -2 frozen bananas

      -1/4 cup milk or cream

      -1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup (optional)

      -1 tablespoon peanut butter (optional)


      1. Place the bananas in a food processor or blender and blend until smooth.
      2. Add the milk or cream and blend until smooth. If using a blender, add the milk or cream slowly so you can keep the soft serve consistency.
      3. (Optional) Add peanut butter, honey, or maple syrup.
      4. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for later. Enjoy!
        Here to Serve

        Here to Serve can help lift the burden of grocery shopping and even home meal coordination. We can also provide additional recipes and meal suggestions tailored to your dietary restrictions and help you make a customized meal plan. We know that meals and nutrition are just one of the many things families need to consider along the cancer journey. At Here to Serve, our resource referrals can also assist families in finding additional mental health resources, financial services, transportation, lodging, organizational assistance, spiritual support, and more. If you or someone you know could benefit from our services, sign up here.

        By Emily Rogalin

        All information on this blog is for informational and educational purposes only. Always consult a medical provider in your particular area of need before making significant changes in your medical decisions or lifestyle.