Nutrition: Where is the time to cook healthy meals?

One of the biggest challenges facing parents and caregivers of children with cancer is good nutrition.
Whether it be for the child or the caregiver, eating healthy is a struggle. Undergoing cancer treatment can have a significant impact on appetite. Dealing with the side effects of nausea and low energy is rough. Not only that, hospital food is typically tasteless and overcooked. Overwhelmed parents, with no time to cook, do all they can to provide food their child will eat. However, they often find it difficult to make time to eat properly themselves. 

How do parents manage?
Yes, you guessed it, quick and easy meals, which are typically over processed, sugary and high in non-complex carbohydrates. Not only does this contribute to energy for cancer cells, it does not provide good sustainable energy or nutrients. Find out more here.

What about the impact of sugar in the body and cancer?
More research is needed to determine the true impact that sugar has on cancer cells. According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: The idea that sugar, or glucose, could fuel the growth of cancer cells can lead some people to unnecessarily avoid all carbohydrate-containing foods. This approach assumes that if cancer cells need glucose, then cutting it out of one’s diet will stop cancer from growing. Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. All of our healthy cells need glucose to function, and there is no way for our bodies to let healthy cells have the glucose they need, but not give it to the cancer cells. Without adequate carbohydrate intake from foods we eat, our bodies will make glucose from other sources, including protein and fat.” (www.danafarber.org).

Here are a few ways families can have healthy affordable food delivered to their door.
Imperfect Foods, They deliver low cost fruit and veggies, grains and meat. They can offer lower cost foods for a variety of reasons, such as farmers who may have a surplus or veggies that are fresh and unblemished but not perfectly shaped. Their mission is to reduce food waste. Follow this link for more information: (www.imperfectfoods.com). 

Freshly (https://www.freshly.com/) offers meal delivery to your home at a cost of between $8.50 and $11.50 per meal depending on how many meals per week you order. The weekly cost runs between $45 for 4 meals and $100 for 12 meals per week. They offer an entirely gluten and peanut-free menu. On average, their weekly rotation of 30+ dishes includes:
• Under 500 calories: 20+ meals
• Under 35 grams of carbs: 8–10 meals
• Dairy–free: 8–10 meals

Also, check out Sun Basket, (www.sunbasket.com). This is a great company that delivers healthy food, providing customizable options such as carb conscious, Paleo Friendly, Diabetes Friendly, Gluten Free, Quick and Easy, and more. The perfectly portioned meals are quick and easy to prepare. Not only that, the food is delicious!

Here to Serve is passionate about helping pediatric cancer families get quick, healthy, affordable, and nutritious meals they need during their very trying cancer journey. They work with each family regarding their meal requirements and find ways to provide meals in ways that work for each family. Click here for more information about all the ways our family care coordinators help pediatric cancer families in need. If you, or someone you know, has a child with cancer, please let them know that Here to Serve is ready to help. 

By Amanda Enciso