Healthy Holiday Recipes with a Twist for Mesothelioma Patients

Health & Wellness

Trying to stay healthy during the holidays can be tough, especially for those with mesothelioma.

Whether you are undergoing treatment or not, the goal is to eat the most nutritious food possible.

Aim to eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices and lean proteins. This will provide you with a host of nutrients, including antioxidants and muscle-builders.

Grocery stores at this time are typically filled with the usual holiday foods such as canned pumpkin, green beans, cranberries, mashed potatoes and many others.

While these items might make the perfect ingredients for a traditional holiday feast, they can also be included in some delicious recipes that may not necessarily spring to mind this time of year.


Pumpkin and all other types of winter squash, including butternut squash, are incredibly nutritious. Packed with beta-carotene and other phytonutrients, these cancer-fighting compounds are true winners in any healthy eating plan.

Canned or frozen varieties of pumpkin or butternut squash are extremely convenient to keep in your pantry.

As with any canned goods, be sure to find the no-sugar varieties, as some of the pumpkin pie versions will be sugar-laden.

Try this recipe to start:

Pumpkin Spice Overnight Oats


  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (or any type of milk)
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
  • 2 tablespoons pumpkin puree
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of salt


  • Stir together all ingredients in a medium-size mixing bowl.
  • Add to a mason jar with a fitted lid.
  • Refrigerate and store overnight.

Recipe by the American Institute for Cancer Research


Cranberries are often used for traditional cranberry sauce. While those small, sweet spoonfuls are delicious, we miss out on using cranberries in other ways to get the full goodness of these ruby red gems.

Cranberries do contain some vitamin C and fiber. However, their real value comes from other micronutrients called polyphenols. These compounds, like in other berries, have been found to be anti-inflammatory and protective against cancer.

Try this low-sugar recipe for a different use of the fruit:

Low-Sugar Cranberry Orange Bread


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
  • 2 tablespoons heat-stable sugar substitute, equal to 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 3/4 cup fat-free milk
  • 3/4 cup egg substitute or 3 whole eggs
  • 1/3 cup Tropicana Pure Premium orange juice or Dole 100% orange juice
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 1/2 cup chopped cranberries, fresh or frozen (thawed)
  • 1/4 cup chopped nuts (optional)


  • Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan. In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sweetener or sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt; mix well.
  • In medium bowl, combine milk, egg substitute, orange juice, oil and orange peel; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not overmix.) Stir in cranberries and nuts.
  • Pour batter into pan. Bake 60 to 70 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Cool completely. Store tightly wrapped.

Note: To toast nuts for extra flavor, spread evenly in a shallow baking pan. Bake at 350 F for 5 to 7 minutes or until light golden brown, stirring occasionally. Cool completely before using.

Recipe by Quaker Oats

Green Beans

Green beans are available in grocery stores in abundance this time of year and of course are the key ingredient for that famous green bean casserole.

This nutritious vegetable is high in vitamin C and fiber as well as the phytonutrients chlorophyll and carotenoids. These two plant chemicals give the beans their yellow and green coloring.

But don’t think that green beans are reserved for the one holiday or indeed one recipe with fried onions and a can of mushroom soup. They are extremely versatile and can be used any time.

If you find you have too many homegrown beans or you have stocked up on fresh bags from the store, go ahead and freeze them to use later.

This recipe for a creamy green bean soup is perfect for those needing a quick lunch or a first course. It also works well for people struggling with lack of appetite or those with trouble swallowing.

Cream of Green Bean Soup


  • 6 green onions, sliced
  • 6 shallots, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 medium baking potatoes, peeled and diced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 2 pounds fresh green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 to 1 cup whipped cream or half-and-half light cream
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  • Sauté the green onions, shallot and garlic in the butter in a medium skillet over medium heat, stirring constantly, until tender. Set aside.
  • Cook the diced potatoes in boiling water to cover for 15 minutes, or until tender (depends on how small you diced them); drain well and set aside.
  • Bring the chicken broth to a boil in a large saucepan. Add green beans and cook 30 to 35 minutes or until tender. Add the reserved green onions and potato. Stir well.
  • Transfer half of the green bean mixture to the container of an electric blender; cover and process until smooth, stopping once to scrape down the sides. Repeat the procedure with the remaining green bean mixture.
  • Return the pureed mixture to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat; stir in whipping cream or half-and-half, lemon juice and tarragon. Cook until thoroughly heated. Serve, and sprinkle with black pepper.

Recipe by

With an abundance of winter produce and some frequently stocked items, the goal of eating healthier gets a little easier.

Try these recipes today and you may find new favorites to eat year-round.

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