One of the best things you can do for yourself during cancer treatment and for prevention is to eat a nutritious breakfast within a couple hours of waking. Here’s why: while we sleep our bodies depend on energy stores, primarily in the liver, to keep blood glucose levels balanced. By the morning the liver is nearly depleted and depends on external sources of food to maintain proper blood sugar.
In addition to maintaining proper blood sugar levels, eating a nutritious breakfast can jump-start your immune system, assist in hydration, and help maintain good moods and stable weight. Breakfast also replaces essential nutrients that are lost or depleted as a result of cancer treatments.
Below are two recipes to help reduce treatment side effects and start your day strong.
Quinoa and Cinnamon Cereal
This delicious and hearty morning meal has a satisfying nutty flavor. Cinnamon adds warmth and depth.
- Helpful During: Pretreatment/Surgery, Radiation, Chemotherapy, Hormone Therapy, Remission/Prevention
- Targeted Side Effects: Fatigue, blood sugar regulation, insomnia, nausea
- Nutritional Information: High in iron and vitamin A and a good source of calcium. Calories: 140g; Total Fat: 1.5g; Saturated Fat: 0g; Total Carbohydrate: 30g; Fiber: 3g; Protein: 4g
- Servings: 1
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup oatmeal
- 6 to 8 walnuts, chopped
- 1 tablespoon dried cranberries
- 1 tablespoon fresh or dried blueberries
- 1 tablespoon agave syrup
- Cinnamon, to taste
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil.
- Add quinoa and oatmeal, reduce heat, and simmer until water is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Stir in remaining ingredients and serve immediately.
Health Tip 101: Quinoa contains a complete complement of protein (all the amino acids), fiber, and iron. All these nutrients are important for maintaining muscle mass and restoring red blood cells.
French Toast with Nut Butter
If you don’t like to “eat” eggs, try this recipe. You’ll get the protein and good fats from them without the taste or texture. The nut butter adds flavor but doesn’t raise glucose levels and helps to lower the glycemic index of the meal.
- Helpful During: Pretreatment/Surgery, Radiation, Remission/Prevention
- Targeted Side Effects: Fatigue, chemo brain, wound healing
- Nutritional Information: A good source of iron. Calories: 270g; Total Fat: 16g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Total Carbohydrates: 26g; Total Protein: 6g
- Servings: 2
- 1 egg, shells rinsed
- 1/3 cup nondairy milk
- 2 slices gluten-free bread (we recommend any of Udi’s gluten-free sliced breads or Ener-G foods raisin bread)
- 3/4 tablespoon nondairy, non-soy margarine (we prefer Earth Balance)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons any nut butter
- Optional: 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (if you don’t use flavored milk)
- Optional: Mixed berries
- Beat egg and milk together in a medium bowl. Add vanilla if desired.
- Soak each slice of bread in egg mixture until well saturated.
- In a large skillet over low/medium heat, melt margarine. Add soaked bread to skillet and cook until browned. Be careful not to burn. Flip over and repeat.
- Serve with nut butter spread on top of each slice. Sprinkle with mixed berries, if desired.
Health Tip 101: Tahini, the crushed butter of sesame seeds, can be used as one of the nut butters here. It is one of the best sources of elemental calcium and is high in protein. Recent studies have shown the benefits of sesame seeds as anti-inflammatory.