It can be really tough to get Children with Cancer to eat, especially during cancer treatment. Having enough nutritious child-friendly, and chemo-friendly, food on hand will help them get the calories and protein they need to not only to support their growing bodies as well as to help them in their fight against cancer. If you have a child affected by cancer or know of one, these easy child-friendly recipes should be a help. Not only are they are yummy, they are child-tested, and should tempt even the most fussy eaters!
Chicken & Rice Soup
Prep time: 20 mins
This Chicken & Rice Soup is a really adaptable soup that’s easy to make and to eat. If you are on a bland diet, this soup can be tweaked to suit.
It only takes about an hour to put together yet tastes as if it’s been simmering all day, plus it’s a great candidate for the freezer, to keep for a down day. It’s important to use chicken on the bone. The bones add flavor.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- ½ medium onion, chopped
- 2 celery ribs, diced
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2 sprigs fresh dill
- ½ cup long grain brown rice (white rice for bland or low-fiber diets)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Around 1 kg chicken breast on the bone, skinned
- 4 to 6 cups water
1. Heat the olive oil in a heavy sauce-pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, dill, rice, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.
2. Add the chicken and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 1 hour, adding more water if too much evaporates.
3. Remove the chicken and transfer to a colander. Once cool enough to handle, shred the chicken meat off the bone and return to broth to heat through. Discard the bones. Taste the soup for seasonings then serve.
Vegetable Mac & Cheese
Prep time: 30 mins
Mac and cheese is everyone’s favorite comfort food, especially children. Make this vegetable mac & cheese with whole-wheat pasta and cancer-fighting cruciferous veggies, and it becomes an inexpensive, healthy meal that will help patients keep their weight up, and keep the children happy.
You can prep the pasta ahead of time and if you are tired, you can use frozen vegetables instead of fresh to speed up this deliciously healthy treat.
Mac & Cheese
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 cups warm milk
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 teaspoons grated Parmesan (optional)
- Pepper, to taste
- 225 grams whole wheat pasta, cooked
- ½ tablespoon olive oil
- ½ small cauliflower, chopped
- 1 ½ cups spinach
- ½ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
- Salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook pasta until al-dente (cooked to be firm to the bite).
2. Make the béchamel sauce as directed below:
- Melt the butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Stir in the flour until it is smooth. Cook until it starts to brown slightly. This is a roux.
- Slowly add the milk or stock, while constantly stirring to avoid lumps. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens, and begins to bubble. Add salt and pepper to taste, (and nutmeg and Parmesan, if using).
- If the sauce is too thick, gradually stir in extra liquid, a little at a time, until the desired consistency is reached. It’s ready to use.
3. Heat olive oil In a sauté pan over medium high flame. Add the chopped cauliflower and sauté until the cauliflower is soft, about 10 minutes. Add the spinach to the cauliflower and cook until the spinach is wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
4. In a large bowl mix together béchamel sauce, cooked pasta, cauliflower, and spinach. Place in a greased casserole dish and top with remaining 1 cup of cheese. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until the cheese on top is golden brown.
Fish Sticks with Cheat’s Lemon Mayo
Prep time: 20 mins
Fish sticks are a great way to get your kids to eat fish, and they are healthiest when they’re baked rather than fried. The best part is that when paired with Lemon Mayo, they are great for adults too.
- 120 grams white fish fillets such as cod, or hake
- Juice from ½ a lemon
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup cornmeal (maizena)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 eggs
Cheat’s Lemon Mayo:
- ⅓ cup plus 2 teaspoons mayonnaise
- 3 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon hot paprika (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Set aside.
2. Cut the fish fillets into 1-inch strips lengthwise, and then in half horizontally. Let sit in a bowl with lemon juice for 5 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl mix together the cornmeal, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and olive oil. Mix well.
4. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Pat the fish dry and dip into the eggs, allowing the excess to drip off. Then dip into the breadcrumb mixture, pressing to cover the fish evenly with the breadcrumbs. Repeat and transfer to the prepared baking sheet, allowing space between the breaded fish.
5. Bake until the fish is cooked through and the crust is golden, about 20-25 minutes, turning halfway through.
6. While the fish is baking, put the mayonnaise into a small bowl. Beat in the lemon juice one teaspoon at a time, until desired consistency and flavor. Beat in the paprika, if using.
7. If not serving the fish sticks right away, transfer to a wire rack. Serve with the lemon mayo.
Peanut Butter Banana Oat Shake
Prep time: 15 mins
Peanut butter and bananas are a classic combination. This Peanut Butter Banana Oat Shake is a perfect quick and nutritious breakfast, or even as a snack if you need extra calories.
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- ¼ cup water
- 1 cup milk
- 1 large ripe banana, peeled and cut into thirds
- 1 to 2 tablespoons unsweetened and unsalted peanut butter, or almond butter
- 2 teaspoons honey, or to taste
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
- 2 ice cubes (optional)
1. In the microwave safe bowl combine the oatmeal and water. Microwave for 1 minute on high, or cook the oats in a small saucepan until the water has been absorbed. Set aside and let cool.
2. In a blender combine the oatmeal, milk, banana, peanut butter, honey, nutmeg and ice cubes, if using. Blend until smooth. Best if served right away.