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American Cancer Society Cookbook Helps Patients Eat Well During Treatment

book cover for the ACS book, hat to Eat During Cancer Treatment 2nd Editition

The American Cancer Society has updated its bestselling book, What to Eat During Cancer Treatment, with a second edition that contains more than 130 recipes to help people with cancer eat well while going through treatment. Some of the additions to the second edition include newly popular ingredients that have become readily available in many neighborhood grocery stores today, including acai, quinoa, and whole wheat pasta. The book will appeal to people undergoing treatment, as well as caregivers, family, and friends who are providing support.

Award-winning cookbook author Jeanne Besser co-wrote What to Eat During Cancer Treatment, Second Edition with Barbara Grant, a board-certified specialist in oncology nutrition, and experts in nutrition and cancer care from the American Cancer Society. Besser says, “There is a healing quality to having food you can enjoy even if you’re undergoing difficulties that can come with cancer treatment. You can take comfort from getting the nutrition you need and knowing you’re doing good things for your body by eating healthy food that can help you feel better.”

The book is organized by 7 common eating-related side effects of cancer treatment—nausea, diarrhea, constipation, trouble swallowing, sore mouth, unintentional weight loss, and taste changes. The book also contains a wealth of information for patients and their families, including advice for the caregiver, food safety basics, answers to frequently asked questions about nutrition and treatment, how to avoid excess weight gain during treatment, and tips for easy snacks, staying hydrated, and dealing with vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

For example, this recipe for Mozzarella, Pesto, and Roasted Red Pepper Panini is a good choice for people with constipation, unintentional weight loss, or taste changes. The book is priced at $29.95 and can be ordered from the American Cancer Society bookstore or from Amazon and other book retailers and is available in print and eBook formats.

Mozzarella, Pesto, and Roasted Red Pepper Panini

close up of Mozzarella, Pesto, and Roasted Red Pepper Panini from the ACS cookbook, What to Eat During Cancer Treatment 2nd edition


2 tablespoons pesto
2 (4- to 6-inch) crusty rolls or a baguette, cut in half lengthwise
4 ounces mozzarella cheese, sliced or grated
1 roasted red bell pepper, cut into strips (optional: substitute sun-dried tomatoes)
1 cup arugula
1 tablespoon freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Panini press directions:

Preheat the panini press.

Spread the pesto on the top and bottom of the cut side of the rolls. On the bottom slices, divide the mozzarella and top with the roasted red pepper and arugula. Cover with the top of the roll.

Place in the panini press, close to flatten, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Once the rolls are flattened, lift the press and sprinkle the Parmesan on the top of the rolls. Press down and cook for 3 to 5 minutes, or until both sides are golden brown and the cheese has melted.

Stovetop directions:

If using a skillet, sprinkle the Parmesan on the pesto before layering the cheese. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, pressing the top firmly with a spatula to condense the sandwich. Carefully turn the sandwich and cook until the bottom is golden brown.

Makes 2 to 3 servings.

Per serving:

Calories, 400
Fat, 15 g
Saturated fat, 7 g
Cholesterol, 40 mg
Sodium, 940 mg
Carbohydrate, 43 g
Dietary fiber, 3 g
Sugars, 4 g
Protein, 24 g
Calcium, 520 mg
Potassium, 220 mg

The American Cancer Society medical and editorial content team

Our team is made up of doctors and oncology certified nurses with deep knowledge of cancer care as well as journalists, editors, and translators with extensive experience in medical writing.