Nutritional Tips for HNC Patients & Survivors

Many HNC patients and survivors are unable to eat, drink or speak after surgery. I am constantly reminded how fortunate I am for my health. I have been asked by many HNC patients, “What do you eat?” and “I do not have the energy to prepare a meal after treatment, what do you recommend I do?”, as well as “I do not like to cook, do you have any quick and easy suggestions?”  Although I am not a dietician, the following is what has worked for me over the last 11 months on a predominantly liquid diet and most recently on a soft food diet. I am a pescatarian therefore the following reflects my most recent favorite meals.

Two cups of coffee! With each cup of coffee, I add in one Premier Protein Shake (30 grams of protein and a fantastic source of vitamins). I have tried many protein shakes and powders over the last 19 years. I personally enjoy the various flavors and smooth and silky consistency of this shake. It is also very easy to take with you wherever you go throughout the day.

 After my coffee, I enjoy a Raw Green Juice or fruit smoothie including bananas, strawberries, blueberries, mangos, raspberries mixed with water. I pair either juice, with either two eggs over easy, yogurt, oatmeal drizzled with honey and / or a cinnamon English muffin slightly toasted so it remains soft with a lot of butter and smooth peanut butter.

 Since I have been unable to enjoy my favorite crunchy vegetables and fruits after surgery, Raw Juice Brand has been a delicious treat. I began juicing 19 years ago at home. However, nowadays the cost of organic produce is ASTRONOMICALLY HIGH! Therefore, thanks to the vast number of healthy options on the marketplace, I have tried several different green juice brands over the years. I personally enjoy and highly recommend the Raw Juice Brand. A large case arrives within days of ordering, it is perfectly packaged, and the juice is frozen. The case lasts me two weeks and when you break down the cost it is significantly cheaper than juicing at home. The containers are also easy to bring with you anywhere you go and are reusable.

 To save money, I purchased a Costco size frozen bag of an assortment of berries and a Costco size container of mango slices. This is a quick way to ensure you are getting a high dose of antioxidants, Vitamin C, and fiber at a less expensive price point. I toss everything into our Bullet Blender, add water and in a matter of seconds have a sweet and scrumptious treat!

I generally enjoy either pureed soup with either Garden Lites Veggies Made Great Spinach Egg White Frittatas with Mozzarella cheese or Garden Lites Veggies Made Great Superfood Veggie Cakes from Costco. I buy two of each at a time and freeze one. It is incredibly easy to warm up and enjoy instantly. My go-to sandwich is always a classic PBJ!  My favorite soft salad lately is thinly sliced watermelon, avocado and beets with a little bit of mozzarella cheese or sprinkled feta cheese with a light drizzle of balsamic.

 If you are not feeling well enough to cook or do not have the time to make it from scratch, soup is always an easy go-to. There are a wide variety of brands on the market to enjoy in a matter of moments. I personally enjoy Amy’s Soup and Costco’s Kirkland Store Brand has a large two-pack of soup. Costco constantly rotates the flavors, and it is easy to buy two packs at a time and freeze one until needed.

 If you are feeling well enough to make your own homemade soup below are a few of my favorite websites for recipes. If you double the recipe, you can easily freeze containers of the extra soup to defrost and enjoy again when needed.

 Midafternoon Snack:
I have one Premier Protein Shake and one Green Juice. I am obsessed with mango sorbet. Before my most recent surgery, Ben and Jerry and Haagen Dazs were my favorite ice cream brands. In my opinion, high quality and decadent! That said, my all-time favorite flavor is mango sorbet. I have tried various brands over the years and recently found my ultimate favorite! It is Talenti Dairy-Free Sorbetto- Alphonso Mango. It is pricey; however, it goes on sale frequently (two times a month at our local market, and if you buy one you can get two free). When it goes on sale, I buy a lot! I then warm up chocolate sauce either Smucker’s Chocolate Fudge or Ah Laska Organic Chocolate Sauce and drizzle it over the sorbet! It is my divine daily midafternoon treat!

I enjoy either carrot-ginger cream soup, winter bisque soup or tomato soup with a buttery grilled cheese sandwich, and/or Bana Chickpea Pasta with steamed vegetables. I personally find chickpea pasta easier to eat compared to regular pasta right now. I like the fact it has 22 grams of protein, and you can change it up with a variety of sauces.

 I also enjoy Miso Salmon with rice and an assortment of steamed vegetables or Prager’s Veggie Burgers. It is hands down my favorite brand of veggie burgers and I have been eating it since I was a young child.  It is high quality and I love the fact you can visually see the fresh vegetables you are eating, unlike other patties. You can add thinly sliced tomatoes, onion, avocado, pickles, your favorite cheese with mashed sweet potato, or mashed cauliflower with butter and garlic on the side with a glass of wine.

 Here are a few of my ABSOLUTE favorite websites that I use and enjoy making easy and nutritious meals:

I believe eating a balanced diet is crucial in regaining and maintaining one’s health! I hope this helps you enjoy nutritious and easy to make liquid and soft food meals in minutes!

%d bloggers like this: