5 Great Cookbooks for Cancer Patients

Proper Nutrition and Easy Meals to Make During Cancer Treatment

If you going through cancer treatment and want some healthy anti-cancer meals—or at least meals that you can tolerate amidst the side effects of treatment—you have come to the right place.

There are several cookbooks available now that take into account both foods that are easy to eat during treatment and those that have cancer fighting properties. Since cancer fatigue is almost universal among people with cancer, we've selected books with simple recipes and easy to find ingredients. Yet easy doesn't mean lack of flavor, and there are many delicious options.

Cookbooks for People with Cancer vs Cancer Prevention

Cookbooks for "cancer patients" tend to have one of two focuses. Some are designed primarily with prevention in mind. According to the American Institute for Cancer Research, people with cancer should try to eat a cancer prevention diet. Other cookbooks are written with special attention to the unique problems those with cancer face as they try to eat healthily through treatment. Certainly it doesn't hurt to keep prevention tips in mind when eating during cancer treatment, but that isn't the primary goal. Cancer treatment brings enough anxiety without worrying about every morsel you put in your mouth. Yet if you are like so many people with cancer, you really don't need yet another person suggesting how to eat to fight the disease.

Challenges of Eating with Cancer

Before heading to the store to pick up ingredients, take a moment to check out these tips for eating with some of the more common side effects of treatment. For example, picking up some plastic flatware and adjusting the foods you eat can make a difference if you are coping with taste changes from chemotherapy, something that has been coined "metal mouth."

There are also some foods which are soothing, and others which simply hurt, if you are coping with mouth sores from chemotherapy.

One of the hardest-to-address side effects of treatment is that some people simply aren't hungry. You may wish to check out these tips on coping with loss of appetite during cancer treatment regardless of what you try to eat.

Foods for Cancer Prevention vs Foods for Fighting Cancer

As you hear about "prevention" foods for people with cancer, it's important to point out that foods that help to prevent cancer in the first place and foods that help to fight cancer once it is present may be different. Since cancer treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation can predispose people to second cancers, ...

Choose Foods Over Supplements

It's important to note that food should be the primary source of nutrients during cancer treatment, and supplements should only be used after a careful discussion with your oncologist. In fact, some vitamin and mineral supplements may interfere with chemotherapy.

1
Betty Crocker's Living With Cancer Cookbook

woman cooking in kitchen with cookbook
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A long-time standard, Betty Crocker's Living With Cancer Cookbook is a favorite cookbook among many.

The recipes are simple and there is such a variety. You will also find tips about how certain foods can lessen side effects of treatment. Great for patients and their families.

  • 130 recipes.
  • 7-day meal planner (daily suggestions for six small meals and snacks).
  • Recipes are flagged to help ease common side effects associated with cancer treatment.
  • The latest print edition includes inspirational stories from Pink Together community members.
  • Paperback and eBook versions available.

The only downfall may be the pink color and forward. At least for those who are living with cancers other than breast cancer. We need to start paying attention to all cancers. If you aren't certain what the colors of the cancer ribbons are, check out this information on cancer ribbons and colors. Of note, is that purple

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2
The American Cancer Society's Healthy Eating Cookbook

Now in its third edition, The American Cancer Society's Healthy Eating Cookbook is filled with healthy recipes that may lower cancer risk and help patients currently going through treatment. It really is one of the best!

There are many things to love about this book and one of the best features are the alternatives provided for healthier cooking! The recommendations for ingredient substitutes are often surprising and none of them sacrifice flavor, so it is perfect for people who love a great meal.

  • 300 recipes
  • Hardcover and eBook versions available.

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3
The Taste for Living Cookbook

This book provides a variety of ways to eat cancer-fighting foods! The Taste for Living Cookbook: Mike Milken's Favorite Recipes for Fighting Cancer has long been a favorite for creating great food with the cancer patient's delicate palate in mind.

The cookbook addresses how to fight all types of cancer, rather than just a specific type. It also brings many of our favorite meals from a variety of international cuisines into a new, healthy realm that everyone in the family will enjoy.

  • Over 100 recipes using common ingredients and directions any level of cook can follow.
  • Organized into 14 complete menus, featuring various cuisines including French, Italian, and Mexican.
  • Recipes developed by L.A. chef and restauranteur, Beth Ginsberg.
  • Hardcover

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4
Something's Got to Taste Good: The Cancer Patient's Cookbook

Joan Fishman's Something's Got to Taste Good: The Cancer Patient's Cookbook is admittedly an older book (published in 1981). However, it remains a favorite because the recipes are so quick and easy to prepare.

For both patient and caregiver, it is important to have simple recipes that taste good, especially when the fatigue of treatment really sets in. Bottom line, this is a must-have book.

  • Many simple recipes to choose from, including sandwiches, salads, breads and sweets.
  • Hardcover and paperback available

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5
What to Eat If You Have Cancer

The What to Eat If You Have Cancer: Healing Foods That Boost Your Immune System is an especially helpful resource for the caregiver. The nutritional advice is very detailed and is aimed for the patient during treatment.

The book battles common side effects of treatment like malnutrition, weight loss and more. While some of the recipe ingredients are hard to find, the book provides resources for finding them.

Be sure to find the second edition of What to Eat If You Have Cancer because it has been updated to include new recipes and menus based on the latest research at the time of publication (2006).

  • Focuses on foods cancer patients should eat and avoid.
  • Explains how to create meal plans for different types of cancer and phases of treatment.
  • Paperback and eBook versions available

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