Do you have any tips, suggestions or adapted recipes that you'd like to share?

Hi everyone,

We’re posting today to ask if you’d like to share your tips and suggestions for how to cope with eating at holiday celebrations for our Community news blog.

Towards the end of the year there can be lots of celebrations and parties, including plans to see family and friends, which often involve eating.

When you’re dealing with symptoms and side effects of cancer treatment, eating at mealtimes may look different than it did before. Everyone is different and we understand that for some people, you may feel uncomfortable about meal times with loved ones.

Eating may now look different to those around you. Getting the right nutrition for your body means you no longer eat in the same way as you used to. It might mean that you’re no longer able to enjoy some of the foods you’d usually eat around this time of year.

Do you have adapted recipes of your holiday favourites?

Do you have suggestions of food that you’ve recently discovered and are l looking forward to trying this holiday season?

Do you have any tips on coping with richer foods whilst experiencing treatment, or how you like to still be included if you’re not eating in the same way as your loved ones?

We’d love to hear from you and I’m sure members of the Community would appreciate hearing how you cope with eating during holiday celebrations.

If you’d like to share your tips and suggestions, please post in in this thread or email if you’d like to share.

Thank you and we look forward to reading your posts. 
Macmillan's Online Community team

  • I can’t really help with recipes from personal experience as I simply tried lots of soft foods fortified with cream and cheese where appropriate 

    However. I think it’s important to set some rules about the festive season. If you feel an occasion will be too much for you consider going later when people have finished eating or take some food of your own that you feel comfortable with. Don’t be afraid to say no; no I can t compromise, no I feel too tired  … that sort of thing The trouble is that most people who’ve had a real battering from chemoradiation don’t actually look that bad on the outside. It’s inside they are falling apart. Don’t overstretch yourself and stick to your guns. 


    Base of tongue cancer. Out of radiotherapy January 2019

    Blog about my cancer. 

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm
  • Yes it is true that eating can look very different during treatment and for some can become a long term situation.

    I am now a veteran of 2 Christmases coming up to my third Christmas since my treatment and for me my Christmas meal looks completely different to what it used to be.

    I had to come to terms with these changes and for a while it was a bit of a grieving process as things will never be the same again for me with eating.

    However I am so glad to have actually seen 2 Christmases which I would not have had if I had not had the treatment and am really looking forward to my third Christmas.

    I am unable to eat anything that is eaten at Christmas so knowing that I come prepared with my own food and of course a Fortisip. The meal remains the same as I eat everyday as I have got to the stage where I know exactly what I can manage.

    My family all know that I will bring my own food whether we are out eating or at home. However they often feel a bit guilty and try to find something for me to eat. I tell them not to worry that I have it under control and to just cook for the rest of the family.

    I still enjoy what I eat but it is just very different to what everyone else eats as I can only manage pureed foods.

     Unfortunately turkey, plum pudding and mince pies don’t puree very well I have found so I can’t share any adapted recipes. As a treat I find tiramisu is delicious so will definitely be taking some along for my Christmas dessert.

    Best wishes to everyone for Christmas and no matter what you eat enjoy your time with your family.



  • As a treat I find tiramisu is delicious

    I used to dream of Tiramisu when I couldn't eat.

    Like Tiramisu trifles are great and anything ice creamy. It's funny, I never had a sweet tooth before treatment and now I doing which is a real shame as that's the one thing you have to cut back on....sugar.

    When your taste buds are jaded adding the milder spices to food zings them up a bit. You can have spice without heat with things like coriander, cumin, cinnamon and to some extent ginger. Lamb is the easiest meat to eat so you can concoct a curry in a slow cooker.

    Alcohol....problematic for many. I'm OK with an ale but wine is just too acidic, smells lovely tastes not so much so I stick with a nice living craft beer.


    Base of tongue cancer. Out of radiotherapy January 2019

    Blog about my cancer. 

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm
  • Hi Dani, I'll go with that, as long as Ive got my ensures but I'll try anything.had a spicy colzone pizza last night,going out for a Chinese lunch tomorrow and then a steak barn later in month. This one I  a little dubious about but I'm not paying. Eat what you can when you can.but if you can't eat it try something smaller,thinner,softer and keep a water with you, I drink pints of milk. I'll pop it because of high cholesterol before I let this get the better of me.

  • Hey Paul...good to see you back and punching!


    Base of tongue cancer. Out of radiotherapy January 2019

    Blog about my cancer. 

    Macmillan Support Line - 0808 808 00 00, 7 days a week between 8am-8pm
  • Same here with the spices.  I add cumin, coriander, ginger etc to lots of vegetable which I roast now as I find they have more flavour for me. 

    A drizzle of chilli oil is good too as the flavour of mayo etc is problematic.

    Home made roasted butternut squash soup with the milder spices blends to a lovely smooth consistency.   Great for dunking bread if you have difficulty eating it on its own.

    Linda x

  • No accounting for taste as they say. I thought I'd like bacon this morn and the smell of it cooking put me off.  Bit toast butter and cheesy coleslaw,big glass of milk. 

  • Hi. You can email Life Kitchen/Ryan Riley for their free recipe books for people experiencing taste changes after cancer treatment. resources@wcrf,org Like Linda, I much prefer roasted veg. There is a recipe which is roasted carrots and parsnips, olive oil, honey, rosemary,thyme,salt, mix together and roast 200fan for 35 minutes or so (play around with measurements (I parboil veg for 3 minutes first). I also discovered Umami tastes, so a gravy concentrate made up and add a squidge of Bovril/Marmite with caramelised onions, a little sherry/vermouth/white wine, makes a delicious french onion soup (James Martin recipe).