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10 Pantry Staples for Supporting Nutrition During Cancer Treatment

Updated: Apr 3

Pantry cupboard with door open

Nutritious Staples for Supporting Nutrition During Cancer Treatment:

Going through cancer treatment can be all-consuming, and the thought of preparing a nutritious meal or snack can sometimes feel like a mountain to climb.

Having a few staple foods on hand can be a lifeline, especially when you might not feel up to shopping. These foods don't require refrigeration and have a long shelf life, allowing you to stock up without worrying about waste.

Here are some ideas that you can keep readily available to incorporate into meals or snacks whenever you need them.

1. Cereal: 

Cereal is not just for breakfast - it can be a brilliant choice any time of day. Often underrated, many cereals are fortified with essential vitamins and minerals. Enjoy with your milk of choice, hot or cold, and add nuts, seeds, or nut/seed butter for protein and beneficial fats. Adding fresh or frozen berries provides a boost of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties.


2. Tinned Fish:

Mackerel, pilchards, sardines, and salmon are rich sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, important for health. Mackerel, pilchards, and sardines are delicious on toast - try topping with a handful of nutritious greens like baby salad leaves or spinach to boost nutrition. For a quick and tasty mackerel pâté, mix tinned mackerel with Greek yoghurt and a squeeze of lemon juice, perfect for spreading on oatcakes. To make a salmon wrap, flake salmon and a dollop of Greek yoghurt onto a whole grain tortilla. Add sliced avocado, shredded lettuce, and any desired toppings.


3. Eggs:

Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrients, containing almost everything your body needs. Prepare a nutritious meal in less than 10 minutes with an omelette or scrambled eggs on toast. Check your fridge for any veggies you have on hand, like mushrooms, peppers, or cherry tomatoes, to add extra nutrients. Boiled eggs and soldiers also make a simple yet satisfying light meal.


4. Oatcakes: 

These versatile crackers serve as an excellent canvas for a variety of toppings such as hummus, cheese, pâté, guacamole, or nut butter. If you fancy something sweeter, try nut butter topped with sliced bananas or cottage cheese with strawberries. They make a delightful accompaniment to a warm bowl of soup and serve as an alternative to bread for mini sandwiches. You can also use oatcakes as a base for mini pizzas by spreading tomato sauce or pesto on top, adding your favourite toppings like cheese, vegetables, and cooked meat or tofu, and then baking in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly.


5. Canned Chickpeas:

Incorporating chickpeas into soups, stews, and casseroles is a simple way to increase their nutritional value. Create a creamy and flavourful hummus dip by blending canned chickpeas with tahini, lemon juice, and olive oil. Enjoy this dip with fresh vegetables, pitta bread, or oatcakes for a nourishing snack. For a crunchy and savoury option, roast canned chickpeas with spices like cumin and paprika, perfect for nibbling on.


6. Baked Beans: 

Enjoy them on wholesome toast or alongside a jacket potato for a comforting and nutritious meal. Alternatively, use them as a tasty topping for baked sweet potatoes or as a filling for wholegrain wraps. Enhance the nutritional value by adding some extra veggies, such as tinned sweetcorn or baby spinach, or any vegetables you have on hand.


7. Tinned Fruit in Natural Juice: 

Enjoy with yoghurt, jelly, rice pudding, porridge, or cereal. You can also incorporate it into delicious smoothies.


8. Nut Butter: 

Spread on oatcakes, add to smoothies, or put a dollop on yoghurt or cereals. Enjoy on toast with sliced banana and a sprinkle of chia seeds for an extra boost of omega-3 fatty acids and fibre.


9. Wholegrains and Pulses in Pouches: 

These products have developed enormously, now offering a wide variety of plain or flavoured combinations including black, red, and wild rice, quinoa, millet, barley, beans, and lentils. Many of these options are conveniently ready-to-eat, perfect for serving hot or cold alongside proteins and vegetables, or salad ingredients, to create a nourishing meal. Try creating a Buddha bowl by combining them with your favourite toppings or incorporate them into soups or casseroles to boost their nutritional value. Explore brands like Merchant Gourmet, Tilda, and Seeds of Change. When heating in the microwave, I prefer to transfer the product into a microwave-safe glass, Pyrex, or ceramic container for optimal results.


10.  Pasta: 

Stock up on wholegrain, spelt, or legume-based like red lentil or chickpea for quick and easy meal options. Combine with a simple tomato sauce and vegetables for a nutritious and satisfying meal. You can also use pasta as a base for pasta salads by adding fresh vegetables, herbs, and a tangy vinaigrette dressing. Add chicken, prawn, tofu, or edamame beans to bolster protein content.


Stocking your cupboard with these simple yet nourishing essentials can help make mealtimes a little easier and ensure you're getting the nutrients you need to support your health. I hope you find these suggestions helpful.

If you or a loved one could benefit from tailored nutritional support and advice, please do not hesitate to get in touch.


Telephone: 020 8064 2865

Appointments: book here


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