Nutrition Before During and After Cancer

Information on nutritional needs for cancer patients


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Food Labels

In the last blog we learned a little bit about food labels, let’s take it a little further and figure out a few more details. Remember some numbers are in grams and others in milligrams.

Food Labels

Servings information

Serving size:

This is an amount of the food that is considered a single serving. The rest of the nutrition facts then provide information based on that amount. If the serving size says 1/2 cup, then the calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, protein, carbohydrates, fiber and other nutrients shown are for 1/2 cup of that food.

Servings per container:

This number tells you how many servings there are in the whole package. So if a package has 7 servings and you eat the whole package, you’ll be eating 7 times the calories and other nutrients. Yes! They add up.

Calories:

The calories are the number of calories in one serving. Don’t forget this important fact. So if you eat more than one serving, you have to multiply the calories by how many servings you eat. If a package says 1/2 cup is a serving and you eat 1 cup, that’s two times the servings (1/2 cup x 2 = 1 cup).

Fat, Cholesterol, & Sodium

Total Fat:

This is the number of grams of fat in a single serving. In a 2,000 calorie daily diet, most people should aim for between 45 and 78 grams of total fat per day, mostly from sources like plant oils, avocados, seeds and nuts.

Saturated fat:

This fat is often called a bad fat, but a little saturated fat in the diet may not be harmful. Most people should aim for 7-10% or less of their calories from this fat or about 20 grams or fewer per day based on a 2,000 calories diet.

Trans fat:

This is a bad fat. If the label shows trans-fats, find another food. Even if it says 0 grams, it’s important to look at the ingredient list to see if the word “hydrogenated” is on the list.

Cholesterol:

Most people are advised to consume less than 300 mg of cholesterol each day. Take a look at the number and pick foods with low cholesterol so it doesn’t add up to more than 300mg at the end of the day.

Sodium:

Most people should aim not to exceed 1,500 mg of sodium daily, while some are advised that 2,300 mg is safe. The label will say how many milligrams of sodium are in a single serving. It will also list a DV (Daily Value) showing what percentage of 2,300 mg  is in one serving.

Fiber, Vitamins and Minerals

Fiber:

This is listed in grams on the package. Women are advised to get 25 grams or more daily, men are advised to reach 35 grams.

Vitamins and Minerals:

Nutrition Facts panels are required to list Vitamins A, C, E and the mineral Iron. They will be listed by percent only. The goal is to achieve 100% over the course of the day.

Protein, Carbohydrates and Sugars

Protein

This will be listed in grams. Protein can help with feeling satisfied. Protein needs vary for people with kidney disease and other illness, on an average we need about 0.9 g x with your weight in kilograms. Not all foods will have protein.

Carbohydrates and Sugars:

Carbohydrates are listed in grams and there are many forms of carbohydrates from complex whole grains, fruits and veggies to simple sugars like honey, cane sugar (table sugar), and maple syrup among others. While recommendations for individuals will vary, carbohydrate recommendations can generally go up to 300 grams per day in a 2,000 calorie diet.


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Snacking

Chickpea and Butternut Squash Fritters with Field Greens

chickpea-fritters

Butternut squash and chickpeas are the perfect combination for this vegetarian entrée.  Legumes like chickpeas pack protein and the B vitamin folate, and winter squash is rich in carotenoids, a group of phytochemicals. Both are also rich in fiber, which has been shown to support growth of health-promoting bacteria in the gut and reduce risk for colorectal cancer. Plus these healthy fritters are lightly sautéed instead of deep-fat fried, cutting down on calories and fat.

  • 2 cups (10 oz.) cubed butternut squash
  • 1 can (15.5 oz.) chickpeas, drained
  • 3 Tbsp. whole-wheat flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 scallions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh sage leaves
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 Tbsp. canola oil or extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 8 cups field greens (5 oz. pkg.)
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped toasted skinless hazelnuts 

Yogurt Dill/mint Sauce

Yoghurt with Dill sauce

  • 1 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp. finely chopped fresh dill or mint
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground white or black pepper 

Salad Dressing

  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

 

For Yogurt Dill Sauce, in small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well. Pour into small serving bowl and set aside.

For Salad Dressing, in small bowl, combine lemon juice and oil, season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

For Chickpea and Butternut Squash Fritters, in large saucepan with a steamer basket, steam squash until tender, about 10-12 minutes. Transfer squash to food processor. Add chickpeas, flour, egg, scallions, garlic, sage, cumin and pepper flakes. Pulse until blended yet slightly chunky. Season with salt and pepper.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Gently drop six scant 1/4-cup portions of mixture into pan and gently press into round patties with back of measuring cup or spatula. Don’t over crowd skillet. Sauté fritters until golden brown on bottom, about 3-4 minutes. Heat may need to be adjusted for optimal browning. Carefully turn over each fritter and sauté until other side is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer fritters to plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Use remaining oil to sauté remaining six fritters. There should be 12 fritters in total.

In large bowl, add salad greens. Stir salad dressing and pour over greens. Add hazelnuts and gently toss together.

Arrange greens on large serving platter or four individual dinner plates. Arrange all fritters on top of greens if serving on platter or 3 fritters on each individual plate. Serve with Yogurt Dill Dressing on the side or drizzle on fritters and serve. 

Makes 4 (three fritters each) servings. 

Per serving: 400 calories, 18 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 47 g carbohydrate, 17 g protein, 10 g dietary fiber, 392 mg sodium.

Cranberry Apple Salsa

 cranberry-salsa

This classic raw relish combines fresh cranberries, Fuji apple, lime juice and spicy jalapeño. Its sweetness means remarkably little sugar is needed to offset the tartness of the cranberries. Serve with whole grain crackers before the big meal or alongside some other favorite dish.

Cranberries are good sources of vitamin C and dietary fiber. In cell studies, cranberry extract and their anthocyanins decrease free radical damage to DNA that can lead to cancer.

Cranberries grow in northern bogs on low-lying vines, just above water. These bright red gems are native to North America and at one time whalers and mariners carried cranberries on their ships to prevent scurvy. Today you’ve probably heard claims that cranberry juice helps prevent urinary tract infections; though it appears to help some women, it is not a treatment.

We do know that with their healthful nutrients and phytochemicals along with the rich color and flavor, cranberries make a great addition to any meal, not just at Thanksgiving.

  • 1 bag (12 oz.) fresh cranberries, or frozen, unsweetened
  • 1/2 medium Fuji apple, peeled, cored and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 strips (1-inch x 1/2-inch) lime zest, coarsely chopped
  • 1 small jalapeño pepper, without seeds, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. turbinado/raw sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • Salt

In food processor, pulse cranberries just until coarsely chopped. Add apple, onion, lime zest, jalapeño, sugar and lime juice. Pulse (quick pulses) until salsa is still slightly chunky, about 15-20 times.

Add cilantro and pulse until it is chopped but not mushy, about 10 times, stopping to scrape down bowl as needed. Season with a bit of salt, just to lift flavors.

Let salsa sit 20 minutes for flavors to marry. Serve same day.

 Makes 8 (1/4 cup) servings.

 Per serving: 36 calories, 0 g total fat (0 g saturated fat), 9 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 1.5 g dietary fiber, 2 mg sodium


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Lunch Time Nutrition

Carrot Soup with Orange and Ginger

            Carrot Orange Ginger

Wild carrots have been around for millennia, but the cultivated variety is believed to have originated in Afghanistan around the 9th century. By the 1100s carrots had spread to Spain through the Middle East and North Africa. Today they are available year round in grocery stores. When buying, look for plump, firm carrots without cracks.

Try to use fresh ginger because it has a mellow, full-bodied taste, whereas ground ginger is spicier. Buy ginger tubers that are smooth, heavy and firm with a spicy fragrance. Also, while you can use store bought orange juice, the soup is tastier if you prepare fresh orange juice for the recipe. And a bit of fresh lemon juice balances the sweetness of the carrots and orange. Beta-carotene from carrots, vitamin C from orange juice and orange zest and gingerol from ginger – all provide beneficial antioxidant properties. Sprinkle soup with roasted pumpkin seeds or add crunch with a few whole-grain croutons.

  •        1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  •        4 cups chopped carrots, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  •        1 cup chopped yellow onions
  •        2 cloves garlic, minced
  •        3 cups low-sodium chicken broth (vegetable stock or broth may be substituted)
  •        4 large strips orange zest
  •        1 tsp. finely minced fresh ginger
  •        ½ cup orange juice
  •        1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice, optional
  •        Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  •        ¼ cup chopped chives (dill may be substituted)

In large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat and add carrots and onions. Sauté about 7-8 minutes. Add garlic and sauté additional 2 minutes.

Add broth and orange zest strips. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, uncover and simmer until carrots are tender, about 10-12 minutes. Let mixture cool for several minutes. Discard orange zest strips.

Working in batches, in food processor or blender purée mixture until velvety smooth. Return soup to pot. Stir in ginger and orange and lemon juices. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Over low heat, let soup simmer for 5 minutes for flavors to mingle. Garnish with chives and serve.

Makes 4 servings. Per serving: 150 calories, 5 g total fat (1 g saturated fat), 23 g carbohydrate, 6 g protein, 4 g dietary fiber, 140 mg sodium.

carrot-ginger-soup

Sweet Roasted Root Veggies roasted-root-veg

This warm one-pot meal is full of hearty root vegetables like sweet potatoes, carrots and beets that pack fiber and cancer-fighting carotenoids. Roasting gives them a slightly sweeter flavor that pairs nicely with a tangy dressing.

Roasted Root Vegetable Salad

  • 1 small sweet potato, about 8-oz, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 medium potato, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (peeled parsnip may be substituted)
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch slices
  • 1 small red onion, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
  • 2 medium celery stalks, 3/4-inch slices
  • 1 medium beet, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1½ Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp. cilantro, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In large bowl toss potatoes, carrot, onion, celery and beet with 1/2 tablespoon oil, coating well. Arrange vegetables in a roasting pan. Season with salt and pepper. Roast, stirring several times, until tender and beginning to brown, about 50 minutes.

In mixing bowl, whisk vinegar, lemon juice and Dijon with remaining oil and stir in parsley, cilantro and walnuts. Drizzle dressing over vegetables and gently toss. Top with crumbled feta. Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Makes 4 servings.

Per 3/4 cup serving: 156 calories, 9 g total fat (2 g saturated fat), 17 g carbohydrate, 3 protein, 3 g dietary fiber, 134 mg sodium.