cooking for chemo patient 2
Someone's Still in the Kitchen!
Nausea can be of the most difficult aspects of chemotherapy for cancer patients, yet patients need nutritious foods to help their bodies combat the effects of treatment (such as a depressed immune system) as well as provide the fuel necessary to continue the fight against cancer. Popsicles are a good solution for packing nutrition into a cool package that's easy on sore mouths and doesn't usually trigger nausea.
Want more recipes and helpful tips? Check out these other lenses:
Easy and Quick!
Cancer patients getting enough nutrients during chemotherapy will maintain more of their energy levels and strength, tolerate side effects better, boost their immune system, and recover more quickly than patients who are malnourished. Increasing a patient's protein intake is especially important.
In another lens, I've given some tips for making meals and snacks for chemotherapy patients as well as easy recipes for bland foods that will appeal to patients suffering from nausea and lack of appetite. In this lens, I'll be giving recipes for homemade frozen popsicles, an excellent way of adding fruits, dairy and protein to a cancer patient's diet. These convenient treats are easy to make and easy for a patient with mouth sores to eat.
Recipes including silken tofu not only have a creamy texture that feels "good" in the mouth, but contain essential protein, iron, calcium and B-vitamins. Fruits provide many vitamins and minerals, and some (such as strawberry, blueberry, cherry, pomegranate) are believed to have cancer-preventing properties. There are even ways to add tasty vegetables to your popsicles that are so delicious, you won't even know you're eating a healthy snack!
* Let popsicles stand 5 minutes out of freezer before unmolding. If you find it still difficult to unmold, dip bottom of mold in hot water and try again.
* Experiment with different fruit and/or vegetable combinations.
* Begin with the least amount of sweetener, then add more to taste if desired.
* Ensure all fruits and vegetables have been thoroughly washed to eliminate pesticides or other harmful chemicals.
* Amounts can be adjusted depending on how big your popsicle molds are. Start with the recipe as given, then cut down or increase amounts as needed.
* Once popsicles are frozen, they can be removed from the mold, individually wrapped in plastic wrap, and kept in freezer.
Next, some delicious recipe ideas (but first, a word from our sponsor):
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Yummy Popsicles - Good For You, Too!
1/2 cup silken tofu
2/3 cup milk (or soymilk)
2 ripe bananas
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cocoa powder (or cacao powder)
1 tablespoon sugar syrup* or honey or agave nectar
*(1 tablespoon sugar cooked with 1 tablespoon water until sugar is melted)
Place all ingredients except blueberries in blender. Mix until smooth. Add blueberries. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until firm.
Note: Taste the mixture before freezing to ensure the desirable level of sweetness. If it isn't sweet enough for you, add a bit more sugar syrup. You can also substitute honey if you are avoiding refined sugar. Another option would be to use chocolate flavored soymilk in addition to the cocoa powder to emphasize the chocolate flavor.
CREAMY HONEYDEW POPSICLES
4 cups ripe honeydew melon - peeled, seeded and chopped*
1/3 cup plain yogurt (or silken tofu)
1 tablespoon honey (or agave nectar, if desired)
Juice of 1 lime
*Can also use cantaloupe or watermelon - adjust sweetening as needed.
Place all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze until firm.
1 (10.5 ounce/300 grams) package silken tofu
1 ripe banana
2 cups orange juice (or any 100% juice blend)
1 cup diced fruit
Almost any fruit can be used in this recipe; some idea include blueberries, strawberries, kiwi, cantaloupe, raspberries, peaches, nectarines, mango, papaya, pineapple, passionfruit, and/or mandarin oranges. Some combinations may also be nice. Place all ingredients in blender and mix until smooth. If fruit has seeds (like raspberries), you may want to strain the mixture before putting it in popsicle molds. Freeze until firm.
More recipes below!
Recipes for Health and Healing
SUPER FRUIT POPSICLES
1 envelope unflavored gelatin*
1 cup water
3 tablespoons sugar (or honey or agave nectar)
3 cups fruit of your choice
*You can also use 1 teaspoon agar powder or 2 tablespoons agar flakes + 1 1/2 cups water prepared in the same way as the unflavored gelatin)
Almost any ripe fruit can be used in this recipe (except hard fruits like apples, pears, etc). Some idea include banana, blueberries, strawberries, plums, kiwi, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, raspberries, cherries, peaches, nectarines, mango, grapes, passionfruit, papaya, guava, blackberries, pineapple and/or mandarin oranges. Some combinations may also be nice. For tarter flavor, add a squeeze of lime or lemon juice. If you can't get fresh fruit, try a 100% juice frozen concentrate - use 6 oz. (half a can, thawed) for each batch. You can also try vegetable/fruit combinations like watermelon/cucumber, carrot/pineapple, strawberry/spinach. For best results, use a ratio of 40% vegetable and 60% fruit.
In a pan, cook water, gelatin and sugar over medium heat until gelatin has dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. Place fruit and gelatin mix in blender, mix well, and pour into Popsicle molds (if you prefer a smoother end result, strain before pouring into molds). If using fruit juice concentrate, thaw and mix with gelatin, pour into molds. Freeze until firm.
CREAMY ORANGE SICLES
1 (12.3 ounce/350 grams) package silken tofu
1 cup soymilk (can use vanilla flavored soymilk if desired)
1/2 can (6 ounces) frozen orange juice concentrate
2 tablespoons sugar syrup* (or 2 tablespoons honey or agave nectar)
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
*Cook 2 tablespoons sugar with 2 tablespoons water until sugar is dissolved. Cool.
Place all ingredients in blender and process until smooth. Check for sweetness; if not sweet enough to suit your palate, add a bit more sugar syrup, honey or agave nectar. Pour mixture into popsicle molds and freeze until firm.
2 cups pure pomegranate juice or pomegranate juice blend (unsweetened)
2 cups apple juice
1/4 cup sugar
1 envelope unflavored gelatin*
1 cup water
*You can also use 1 teaspoon agar powder or 2 tablespoons agar flakes prepared in the same way as the unflavored gelatin)
Cook apple juice, sugar and unflavored gelatin (or agar) in pan over medium heat until gelatin dissolves. Let cool to room temperature. Blend into pomegranate juice, then pour into popsicle molds. Freeze until firm.
FROZEN TEA TREATS
4 cups brewed tea
Sugar to taste
Any tea can be used in this recipe, though flavored herbal teas are especially good, and there are antioxidant benefits to using green tea. Simply brew your tea as normal - about 3 teabags to 3 cups water, steeped 5-10 minutes for herbal tea, 2-3 minutes for regular black teas (such as pekoe or oolong). Add sugar to taste. When cooled to room temperature, pour into popsicle molds and freeze until firm.
Be aware that black teas contain caffeine. If your doctor has limited your caffeine intake, you may want to choose an herbal tea or green tea instead
Summer or winter, popsicles are made of win! Try any of these recipes as an easy, fast and tasty way to deliver a healthy dose of vitamins (and protein) to a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy or other treatment.