It’s that time again! A time to remember our blessings and celebrate the joy of good food! For most of us, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to look forward to preparing old family favorite recipes. Or maybe you are looking forward to trying one of those new recipes you saw in your favorite magazine or blog. However, if you are going through cancer treatment, you may not be as excited this year. Maybe you are struggling with eating anything at all since everything taste so bad. Or maybe your appetite is nonexistent, and the idea of sitting before a table of food just doesn’t seem fun at all right now. Perhaps you are a caregiver or family member supporting someone through treatment, you may find yourself with new challenges in preparing your upcoming feast while also making sure that your loved one can enjoy the food as well. Here are a few tips to help make this Thanksgiving meal a little more enjoyable for someone going through cancer treatment.
- If your appetite is poor and only certain types of food sound good to you, then focus on that food! If all you want is a bowl full of mashed potatoes and gravy, or maybe all you want is a slice of pecan pie, who says you can’t? Focus on those one or two foods that do sound appetizing and make that your main course.
- If smells are bothering you, try talking a walk outside, keep the home well-ventilated, or stay in another part of the home until the cooking is done. Caregivers, you may want to consider having a meal catered or eating out instead of cooking to avoid smells altogether if this will best help your loved one.
- If your taste buds are lacking, try the tartest foods on the menu. Tart foods can help increase your saliva production which can in turn help foods taste more appealing. Tart foods such as lemon meringue pie, cranberry sauce, or a granny smith apple pie may be your best bet.
- If you are having trouble keeping your weight up, guess what? Thanksgiving provides plenty of foods that provide a high calorie punch in a small serving, so even small servings will add up the calories fast!
- If you are having difficulty chewing or swallowing, make the most of those soft dishes such as soups, cooked veggies, mashed potatoes, casseroles, and custard type pies. Or try soaking breads and meats in sauces and gravies to make them easier to swallow. If you have any mouth sores, make sure to stay away from any acidic foods such as oranges, lemons, or spicy sauces and gravies.
Above all else, be kind to yourself and let go of expectations. Yes, this year may be a little different, but that’s ok! Try to plan and focus on other events besides the meal for that day. Thanksgiving is more than just about food…it is also about celebrating ALL that we have to be thankful for.
In our next segment, we will discuss how you can incorporate some cancer fighting foods into your Thanksgiving menu.