Recipes and snacks

These meals and snack ideas may help if you feel too tired or unwell to shop for food or cook, or if you’re missing meals while having treatment or waiting for appointments. Some may not seem like healthy choices, but if your appetite is poor, it’s important to focus on eating high-protein and high-energy foods and fluids.

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Meal and snack ideas

Breakfast

  • baked beans on toast with grated cheese
  • crumpets or muffins toasted with cheese and fruit
  • scrambled or poached egg on toast and a glass of orange juice
  • tuna or sardines on buttered toast with fresh tomato
  • a ham and cheese omelette with buttered bread
  • toast with cheese, avocado or peanut butter, followed by sliced banana and yoghurt
  • toasted musli with full-fat milk and yoghurt

Main meals

  • fish (bought freshly prepared) or frozen fish with chips and salad
  • grilled lamb cutlets, mashed potato with margarine or butter, and peas and carrots
  • pasta with cheese and a ready-made sauce, e.g. pesto or bolognaise
  • dhal with chapatis or rice
  • salmon, tuna or egg with salad and mayonnaise, served with a buttered bread roll
  • lasagne or moussaka
  • frittata or quiche
  • occasional takeaway food such as Thai, hamburgers or pizza (ensure the food is fresh and hasn’t been kept at a warm temperature for a long time)
  • refrigerated leftover foods from the previous day – reheat till steaming. See Food safety for more information.

Snacks

  • cheese or hummus and crackers
  • buttered pikelets, scones, muffins, fruit buns, finger buns and raisin toast
  • celery with cream cheese or peanut butter
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • dried fruit and nuts
  • jaffles and sandwiches – try fillings such as peanut butter, cheese, avocado, egg and mayonnaise, cold meats, salmon and tuna
  • milk puddings, such as creamed rice, custard, mousse and instant puddings
  • fresh or tinned fruit with custard, yoghurt, jelly, ice-cream or cream
  • creamy soup made with milk, served with buttered toast
  • hot chips
  • instant noodles
  • potato crisps, pretzels or corn chips with dips
  • yoghurt or ice-cream

Drinks


Simple meals

These meal suggestions are simple to prepare, and some can be frozen. Most of these suggestions are suitable for a soft diet or can be minced or pureed, if needed.

Stewed fruit with custard or cream

  • 3–4 pieces seasonal fruit (e.g. pear, apple, plum), peeled, cored, chopped
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup full-cream custard or ice-cream (or 2 tbsp cream)

Place fruit and orange juice in a medium saucepan over low heat. Cook for about 20–30 minutes, stirring occasionally until fruit softens (the total time will depend on the hardness of the fruit).

Serve with some full-cream custard, ice-cream or cream.

Scrambled eggs

  • 2 large eggs
  • 30 mL cream
  • 1 tsp chives or other herbs (fresh)
  • 2 slices bread, toasted
  • butter

Crack eggs into a bowl and add cream and chives. Whisk with a fork until combined. Heat a pan over medium heat and add a small amount of butter. Cook the eggs for 1 minute, stirring slowly so that they cook through.

Serve with buttered toast.

Swedish meatballs

  • 500 g beef mince
  • ½ cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp margarine
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1½ cups water 

Combine mince, breadcrumbs, egg and seasoning in a bowl. Mix well with a fork and form into golf-sized balls. Heat the margarine in a frying pan and cook meatballs until brown. Remove meatballs from pan.

Combine the pan juices, flour and water and cook on a low heat until a thick gravy forms. Add the meatballs to the gravy and simmer for 1–1½ hours.

Cheesy vegetable bake

  • oil, for greasing dish
  • 400 g sweet potato and pumpkin, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 parsnip and 1 carrot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
  • ½ cup thickened cream
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated

Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a medium ovenproof dish with oil. Layer the vegetables in the prepared dish. Drizzle each layer with a small amount of cream. Top with the remaining cream and sprinkle with cheese.

Bake for 1 hour or until vegetables are tender and top is golden brown.

Tip: Use whatever vegetables you have.


Nourishing drinks

Nourishing drinks are high in protein, energy, vitamins and minerals. They include ready-to-drink commercial supplements, as well as these nourishing drinks that you can make at home.

Enriched milk

  • 1 L full-cream milk
  • 4 or more tbsp milk powder (increases nutrients)

Thoroughly mix ingredients in a jug until powder is dissolved.

Use this enriched milk in tea and coffee, cereal, soups, sauces, milkshakes and smoothies.

Apricot lemon crush

  • 425 g can apricot halves in natural fruit juice
  • 1 cup natural yoghurt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp wheatgerm
  • crushed ice

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Milkshake

  • 1 cup milk or milk alternative
  • 1 heaped tbsp milk powder or recommended quantity of Sustagen Hospital Formula, Ensure Powder, Fortisip Powder, Enprocal or Proform (refer to instructions on packaging or follow the advice of your dietitian)
  • 1 scoop ice-cream
  • flavouring, e.g. chocolate, strawberry, coffee, vanilla

Place all ingredients in a blender or milkshake maker and blend until smooth.

Serve chilled.

Banana smoothie

  • 1 cup milk or milk alternative
  • 1 heaped tbsp milk powder or recommended quantity of Sustagen Hospital Formula, Ensure Powder, Fortisip Powder, Enprocal or Proform (refer to instructions on packaging or follow the advice of your dietitian)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 scoop ice-cream
  • 1 tsp honey (optional)

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Use whatever fruit you have – fresh, frozen or tinned.


Soups

Soup can be easy to digest and nourishing.

  • Try clear soups to stimulate the appetite and provide extra fluid.
    However, as they are low in protein and energy, don’t have them too often.
  • Add energy and/or protein to soups with meat, chicken, legumes
    (lentils, chickpeas, beans), cereals (rice, pasta, barley), cheese, cream, butter, margarine and oil.
  • Vary the taste with nutmeg, ground cumin or curry powder. Puree or blend if you have difficulty swallowing.
  • Thicken with pureed vegetables, cream, eggs or enriched milk.

Foundation broth

  • 250 g meat (any cut)
  • 600 mL water
  • 30 g cereal (e.g. sago, rice or pearl barley), washed
  • 1 stalk celery, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • salt and pepper

Remove the fat from the meat and cut into small pieces. Soak meat and bones in cold water for 30 minutes, then bring slowly to the boil. Add cereal once soup is boiling. Simmer for 1 hour.

Add vegetables to soup and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove bones, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Creamy potato and leek soup

  • 1–2 tsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 kg potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • ½ cup cream

Cook leek in a large saucepan with oil until soft. Add cumin seeds and cook for 2 minutes. Add potato and stock to the pan and bring to the boil.

Simmer for 25–30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Puree in a blender or food processor until smooth.

Stir in cream and serve.

Vegetable soup

  • 1 tbsp olive or vegetable oil
  • 3 cups diced vegetables
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 400 g can butter beans
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup cream
  • ½ cup rice

Heat oil and fry vegetables for 5 minutes. Add flour and stir. Add crumbled stock cubes, water, tomato paste and butter beans. Simmer for 30 minutes or until vegetables are tender.

Blend the soup in a blender or food processor until smooth. Return soup to saucepan and add milk, cream and rice. Simmer for 15–20 minutes until rice is cooked.

Tip: Use potatoes, carrots, etc.


Marinades

Marinating helps to tenderise, add flavour or change the taste of meat or tofu. The following marinades are enough for four serves of beef, pork, lamb, chicken or tofu.

  • For best results, marinate the meat or tofu in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Drain the marinades before cooking to prevent stewing and splattering.
  • When using a marinade that contains honey or sugar, cook the meat on a lower heat than usual to stop the marinade charring.

Asian marinade

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sherry
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp garlic

Red wine marinade

  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

Honey mint marinade

  • ½ tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • ½–1 tsp minced chilli
  • 1 tbsp mint leaves, chopped
  • 2 tsp honey

Click on the icon below to download a PDF booklet on Nutrition and Cancer.


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Apple devices

The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

  • email EPUB files to yourself and transfer the attachment to iBooks.
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  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in May 2016
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