Getting the Nutrients You Need During Cancer Care
Do you ever find yourself sifting through bottles of supplements, looking for the right one that is going to boost your energy or increase your appetite or whatever it is that feels off that day? If you said yes, you are certainly not alone. I know so many people who admit to being guilty of this. We already spend loads of time meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking, and eating. Why add a whole separate task on top of that, wasting precious time, when we could be getting those same vitamins and minerals from the food we are already eating.
For people in cancer treatment, a very common suggestion from medical teams is to eat food rich in vitamins and minerals. These nutrient dense meals are crucial for supporting a high functioning immune system, boosting energy, and boosting mood during this often stressful period of time.
You Need This Book!
I have a great resource that I love to share on this topic. An amazing fellow registered dietitian, Mascha Davis, wrote the book Eat Your Vitamins: Your Guide to Using Natural Foods to Get the Vitamins, Minerals, and Nutrients Your Body Needs to help individuals learn how to eat their vitamins and minerals.
Eating nourishing foods is so important, especially during cancer treatment and recovery. This resource is a must read whether you are ready to ditch supplements altogether or you are just interested to know more.
In Davis’ book, she touches on 50 key vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that are essential to overall health and wellbeing. Essential, meaning they are necessary for normal cell function, growth, and development. So not only do these nutrients help you to optimize overall bodily functioning when battling disease, they are required for normal functioning to occur in the first place. This is worth repeating, vitamins, minerals, and nutrients are required for the body to function at the most basic level.
Davis dives deep, exploring which foods are the best source of each nutrient. She goes beyond that and offers nutrient-rich recipes. These recipes are a helpful starting point when it comes to learning how to replace your supplements with food.
Ready to learn how to make nutrient-dense meals? My colleague Mascha has the tools for you. Before you find yourself deep in a collection of supplements, grab this book to see how you can save time by eating your vitamins and minerals. This book empowers you to learn more about nutrition and how you can prioritize it to support your health and healing through treatment.
Nutrient Rich Meal and Snack Ideas
If you're looking to maximize your nutrition during cancer care, be sure to immediately reach for: fruits and veggies. You may find yourself needing to eat them in creative ways. Consider making a smoothie, roasting pans of veggies, or sautéing greens so they're soft and more condensed. Snack on an apple or pear with peanut or almond butter to boost the nutrition and calories.
Plant-based proteins are king during cancer care. Get creative with tofu, tempeh, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Your protein needs go up during treatment or after a surgery so make sure to get one of these sources at every meal and snack.
Don't forget to bring snacks with you on long appointment or treatment days. I suggest my clients pack nuts, seeds, trail mix, or granola bars with them. Bring a cooler for dairy or non-dairy yogurt or even a quick peanut butter sandwich and your water bottle.
Remember: you don't always need supplements (though sometimes you do!) and there's a LOT you can get from the food all around you. Be sure to reach out to discuss how you can meet most or all of your needs through food on your cancer journey.