Some radiation and chemotherapy patients find it difficult to get essential nutrition during treatment, because side effects – difficulty or pain with swallowing, difficulty chewing – or just poor appetite keep them from eating. It’s especially challenging to get enough calories and protein if nutritional supplement drinks aren’t appealing or are hard to find.
The following foods are easily blended into smoothies and soups, providing protein and calories that are easy to consume (and are readily available):
- Milk, cream and milk powder
- Cheese sauces
- Cottage cheese and yogurt
- Cooked vegetables without skins
- Cooked, canned or frozen fruits
- Peanut and other smooth nut butters
For a nutrient-packed summer smoothie, try a Sherbet Shake or Peanut Butter-Banana Shake from the American Cancer Society’s What to Eat During Cancer Treatment by Jeanne Besser, Kristina Ratley, RD, CSO, LDN, Sheri Knecht, RD, CSO, CNSD, LDN, and Michele Szafranski, MS, RD, CSO, LDN, available through the American Cancer Society.
- 1 cup sherbet (any flavor)
- ¾ cup low-fat milk
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
In a blender, combine the sherbet, milk and vanilla and blend until smooth. One serving provides 320 calories and 8 grams of protein.
Peanut Butter-Banana Shake
- 4 to 6 ice cubes
- 1 cup low-fat milk
- ½ large ripe banana, broken into pieces
- ¼ cup creamy all-natural or regular peanut butter
- 2 tablespoons chocolate syrup or honey
In a blender, crush 4 ice cubes. Add the milk, banana, peanut butter, and chocolate syrup and blend until smooth. For a colder shake, add the remaining ice cubes and blend until combined. One serving provides 350 calories and 12 grams of protein.
You can substitute with lactose-free, rice or almond milk and sorbet if you are lactose intolerant. Using whole milk will add more calories as well.