For cancer patients and their caregivers, including those currently undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment, the battle against loss of appetite and weight loss can seem nearly never-ending. Some types of cancer treatment may cause
changes in appetite, dehydration or changes in the patient’s senses of taste or smell, making food less desirable. Many of the other side effects associated with treatment can also make maintaining proper nutrition difficult; patients may have trouble swallowing, mouth tenderness or sores, diarrhea, pain, nausea or vomiting, which all inhibit a patient’s interest in food. In some cases, and with some types of cancer, the tumors themselves may physically obstruct the stomach or digestion.
While some weight loss is an expected side effect of some kinds of treatment, this type of weight loss can become serious
if left unchecked. A decrease in weight may lead over time to muscle wasting and deterioration, and may make it more difficult for a patient to function, or they may become weak or unable to perform daily activities. Weight loss can also be a sign of dehydration, which can be serious and may lead to hospitalization.
There are several approaches to helping cancer patients maintain weight and physical strength. The American Cancer Society urges patients
to focus on eating several smaller meals throughout the day. Find creative ways to introduce additional calories and protein to their diet and to snack between meals and at bedtime. That’s where this recipe comes in. We’re calling them “Golden Protein Energy Bombs,” because that’s exactly what they are: no-bake blasts of complex carbohydrate, healthy fat and protein, which you can adapt to suit your own individual tastes. They’re also high in calories and easy-to-eat, which makes them a perfect choice for throwing in a bag or purse while running errands, or using them as between-meal supplement snacks.
Golden Protein Energy Bombs
- 1/2 cup pitted dates
- 1/2 cup unsweetened dried mango
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/4 cup shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup peanut or cashew butter
- 2-3 teaspoons turmeric
- 4 tablespoons protein powder
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus additional as needed
- In bowl of a food processor, combine dates and mango. Pulse on high until crumbly.
- Add remaining ingredients, and continue pulsing until ingredients begin to come together. If mixture is too dry, add additional maple syrup, a tablespoon at a time.
- Remove lid, and use hands to form mixture into balls. Chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before eating.