Notes on Taking a Meal

If you've ever had a baby or gone through surgery, you probably know the gift of the "meal train" that means home-cooked meals showing up at your door just in time for dinner.

As a cancer patient, our family was on the receiving end of this most gracious of offerings from the community we're a part of. In light of that experience, I thought I'd share a few thoughts and suggestions for those of you taking food to a loved one with cancer.

If you're struggling to decide what to make, always go for something healthy. I know you want to take brownies and ice cream to cheer them up, but I promise they'll thank you for bringing them healthy options. Along the same lines, keeping it simple is a good idea when deciding what type of food to take someone undergoing treatment.

One of the best meals I received was a basket of healthy snacks from a friend who doesn't really cook. She picked out a variety of things that my children and I enjoyed, and that I typically wouldn’t have purchased for our family.

A great place to shop for protein-packed, simple snacks is Costco. A box containing several small packages of nuts, dried fruit, and cheese is around $10. These are a great option for a chemo lab day. You can also easily throw some of these protein snacks together yourself and toss in a package of gum to ease the "bitter mouth taste" so many cancer patients struggle with.

Good old comfort food is always a winner. Maybe you have a favorite meal inspired by your family history. For instance, a friend of ours brought us the best Greek food we could have imagined once a week: baklava, spanakopita, stuffed grape leaves. Because my husband and I honeymooned in Greece, this was especially dear to our hearts. Be creative with what you take and consider aspects of your loved one's life or interests to inspire the meal you take them.

Whatever you take, know that just the act of offering food, regardless of what it is, will be something your loved one won't forget.

Keep up the good work supporting and loving your cancer warrior, friend. It means more than you know.

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