Nutrition becomes a very important element in the battle against pediatric cancer.
While on cancer treatment, children and teens often need to follow diets that are different from those considered healthy by most people. Kids undergoing treatment for cancer have higher than normal calorie and protein needs, which help in the healing process. And because children are still growing, cancer treatments can negatively affect not only the way they heal, but also the way they grow.
During treatment, the CBCC dietitian works alongside the patient’s healthcare team—the physician, nurse practitioner, and nurses—to identify nutrition problems and adjust diets accordingly. The dietitian also anticipates nutrition problems that come with particular treatments so families are knowledgeable and ready to take action.
The following educational resources are helpful for families to learn more about the unique nutritional needs of pediatric patients while undergoing treatment for cancer.
- Eating Hints: Before, During, and After Cancer Treatment is a booklet in pdf format by the National Cancer Institute that discusses common types of eating problems encountered during cancer treatment and ways to manage them. The booklet is also available in Spanish by clicking on Consejos de alimentación: Antes, durante y después del tratamiento del cancer .
- Nutrition for Children with Cancer is an information guide in pdf format by the American Cancer Society in both English and Spanish.
- The Oley Foundation exists to enrich the lives of patients dependent on home intravenous nutrition and tube feeding through education, advocacy and networking. Visit the website at Oley Foundation .
- HEAL Well, A Cancer Nutrition Guide is an information guide in pdf format by the American Institute for Cancer Research, LIVESTRONG Foundation and Meals to Heal.
Once patients are two years beyond completion of cancer treatment, they visit the CBCC survivorship clinic to learn how to navigate life as a cancer survivor. The survivorship team will teach patients about the importance of making healthy lifestyle choices and obtaining lifelong follow-up care for the screening, prevention and treatment of common late effects after cancer treatment. As part of the survivorship team, the CBCC dietitian encourages the development of good nutrition habits that will hopefully last a lifetime.
The following resources offer nutritional information and healthy recipes for cancer survivors.
- Diet and physical activity in cancer survivorship is a Health Link in pdf format from the Children’s Oncology Group (COG).
- The Sustainable Food Center is an Austin nonprofit organizations that offers nutrition classes for cancer survivors.
- The American Institute for Cancer Research offers Healthy Kids Today, a website about cancer prevention for kids.
- The USDA offers the SuperTracker website to create personalized activity and nutrition plans and track food and exercise activities.
- The USDA’sWhat’s Cooking website offers healthy recipes in English and Spanish.
- The USDA’s Choose My Plate website offers nutrition information and guidelines.
- Chop Chop Cooking Club is an online cooking club for kids.
- Whole Kids Foundation is a children’s nutrition website by Whole Foods dedicated to help kids eat better and enjoy food.
- Ellyn Satter Institute is a nutrition resource for parents by Ellyn Satter, the international recognized authority on eating and feeding.
- Cook for Your Life offers online healthy recipes for people touched by cancer.
Ask the CBCC Dietitian
Rhone M. Levin is the CBCC dietitian. She has been a dietitian for 28 years, and for the past 18 of those years has specialized in oncology nutrition. You can submit questions to her using this “Ask the Dietitian” form.
Download a few of Rhone’s favorite healthy recipes:
- Bean and Veggie Enchiladas
- Berry Yogurt Popsicles
- Make Your Own Trail Mix
- Pico de Gallo
- Mango Salsa
- Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats
- Maple-Pecan Roasted Sweet Potatoes
- Cranberry Applesauce
- Candied Pecans
- Balsamic Glazed Carrots
Rhone highly recommends The Cancer Fighting Kitchen Nourishing Big Flavor ebook.