The holidays are definitely a time for indulging and for anyone with specific nutritional needs, this season can be a tough time to stay on track. People with cancer may have an especially hard time keeping up with their nutritional intake as they deal with the side effects of their treatment – which can include trouble swallowing, nausea, or appetite and taste changes.
Butternut Squash Soup
Butternut squash is a type of winter squash that grows on a vine – making it a perfect holiday complement. If you’re having issues swallowing due to your treatment, this hearty autumn soup could be the perfect holiday dinner starter for you. You’ll need:
- 2 butternut squash, cut in half and seeded
- Rub olive oil on the squash, plus 2 tablespoons of salt and pepper
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 bulb garlic, with the ends cut to expose cloves
- 1 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 Honeycrisp apples, peeled and chopped
- 10 leaves sage, thinly sliced
- 6 cups chicken stock
- A pinch of turmeric, to taste
- About 1/3 cup heavy cream (you can substitute with cashew nut milk or almond milk)
- Optional toppings: toasted pumpkin seeds
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Then place the squash halves on a baking sheet and rub them down with the softened butter and season with the salt, pepper and nutmeg. Next turn to the garlic and dress with olive oil, salt and pepper and wrap in foil. The squash and garlic should be roasted for an hour and then left to become cool enough to handle. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a soup pot over medium heat, then add the onions, apples, sage, salt and pepper and cook partially covered under very tender. This usually takes about 15 minutes with occasional stirring. You can then add the stock, squash, and roasted garlic cloves once they’ve been squished from their skin. Grab an immersion blender and puree before adding the cream and blending again. You can then season the soup with espelette or cayenne to taste (usually just needs a pinch). Simmer over low heat until you’re ready to serve, and add the optional toppings if desired.
Chocolate Peppermint Holiday Protein Shake
Weight loss is a common side effect of cancer treatment, so it’s no surprise that protein shakes are a popular choice among patients. Luckily, it’s not hard at all adding a little holiday spice and cheer to these tried and true recipes.
- 1 cup protein-fortified milk. Using protein-fortified milk is important because it adds up to 4g of protein beyond what you get from regular milk.
- 2 tbsp of chocolate sauce
- ½ cup of mint chocolate chip ice cream
- ¼ tsp of vanilla or peppermint extract. This is optional and should be done according to your taste
Throw all of your ingredients into the blender and blend until the consistency is smooth and creamy. If the shake seems to be too thick add some extra milk. Put the shake mixture in your refrigerator for 4-6 hours before enjoying.
Herb-Roasted Salmon Holiday Entree
Salmon is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids – both of which are important during treatment. This herb-roasted dish is simple to make but elegant enough to serve company. It’s also a great alternative to the very predictable turkey and ham that normally appear on the table. You’ll need:
- 4 boneless salmon filets with the skin on
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh rosemary (minced) or 1 tsp dried rosemary (crushed)
- 1 tsp olive oil
- ¾ tsp of salt
- ½ tsp of pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Nonstick cooking oil spray
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, then spray a baking pan with nonstick cooking oil spray and place the salmon skin side down. Combine all the other ingredients and spread them over the fillets. Roast the salmon until desired doneness – usually somewhere between 15 and 18 minutes.