Nutrition is very important for Children with Cancer, because the presence of the tumour as well as the treatments that they undergo play havoc with their immune systems as well as various other systems in their little bodies.
A malignant tumour leads to changes in a child’s metabolism; their system is unable to regulate the expenditure of energy according to the reduced energy intake, leading to an ineffective use of nutrients and contributing to the development of malnutrition. Malnutrition can lead to lower survival rates in children with brain cancer.
Children with cancer, especially those with solid tumours, have reduced body protein stores due to whole body protein breakdown. This may occur as a result of the cancer itself, the treatment they are undergoing for their tumour, or complications of the disease.
Ensure Adequate Nutrition for your Child with Cancer
Nutritional intervention for children with cancer is challenging, especially for those who do not have the means to employ the use of a qualified nutritionist, but there are many things that one can do at home to ensure that your child with cancer is getting adequate nutrition.
Children with cancer need protein, carbohydrates, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals. Your child’s cancer itself as well as the treatment s they undergo will often cause changes in their eating habits or desire to eat. Not eating can lead to weight loss, and can cause weakness and fatigue. Helping your child eat as well as they can is an important part of helping them through their treatment and increasing their chances of survival.
Chocolate Banana Smoothie
If your child’s throat and mouth are sore, this makes a nutritious in-between-meals snack.
Yield: 1 Smoothie
- 1 frozen banana, broken into pieces
- 240 ml soy milk, milk, or coconut milk.
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon cocoa powder.
- Large pinch of cinnamon
- In a blender, layer banana, honey, milk, cocoa powder, and then cinnamon.
2. Process until smooth.
3. Drink immediately.
Grilled Potato and Veggie Foil Wraps
Yield: 4-6 Portions
- 6 red potatoes
- 1 to 2 packages of frozen veggies (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots)
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 1 packet Italian seasoning
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. seasoned salt
- olive oil cooking spray
- Wash your potatoes, but leave the skin on (the skin is where the nutrients are).
2. Dice them into a large mixing bowl and add the veggies. Stir in Italian seasoning.
3. Add garlic and the two types of salt. Mix thoroughly.
4. Take a piece of foil big enough to wrap a handful of vegetables and spray the middle of it with olive oil cooking spray.
5. Wrap the foil around a handful of veggies to create a ball. Repeat until all veggies are used.
6. Place on grill and cook until potatoes are tender, about 25-30 minutes.
Squash & Red Lentil Stew
Yield: 8 Servings
- 1 cup red lentils or yellow split peas
- 4 cups water 1 onion, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon each mustard seeds, turmeric, ginger, and cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
- 4 cups peeled and diced winter squash (about 2 pounds)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- Salt to taste
- Place the lentils and 2 cups water in a pot and bring to a simmer.
2. Cover and cook until lentils/split peas are tender, about 20 minutes.
3. Cook the onion in 1/2 cup water until soft and translucent, then add the spices, the remaining 1-1/2 cups water, and the diced squash.
4. Cover and cook over medium heat until the squash is tender when pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes.
5. Stir in the lemon juice, cooked lentils, and salt to taste.