Senior Dietitian Dr Krishna Priya gives us three protein packed recipes to help cancer fighters stay fit.
Generally, our daily meals contain some amount of protein. However, during cancer treatment your body requires more proteins than before. It is important to know what foods contain proteins and to include it in all your meals.
Why is protein important?
- Protein is very important for fighting infections and for improving immunity.
- It helps to maintain a balance of body fluids and helps in transporting your medication to all parts of your body.
- It also helps in keeping your muscles, connective tissues, red blood cells, enzymes and hormones healthy.
Which foods contain more proteins?
There are many plant-based sources of proteins to include in your daily meals:
- Nuts like peanuts, almonds, walnuts
- Seeds like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds (til)
- Legumes like lentils (dals), peas, dried beans etc
Animal-based foods that can add good amounts of proteins to your diet include:
- Dairy products like milk, cheese and curd
- Sea foods like fish and crabs
- Poultry like chicken, quail and duck
Here are three recipes for tasty, high-protein options to include in your meal plan.
Chana Dal Dosa
Chana dal, also called split bengal gram, or chickpeas, are a commonly available legume in India. These dosas are a good protein-rich breakfast option.
Apart from proteins, this dish is also a good source of vitamin B and phosphorus. It’s suitable for those who are diabetic as well.
You can serve it with green chutney.
Chana dal (split bengal gram): ½ cup, soaked
Fenugreek (methi) leaves: ¼ cup, finely chopped
Carrots: ¼ cup, finely chopped
Curd: 2 tablespoon
Ginger & green chilli: 1 teaspoon, finely chopped
Oil: 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
- Soak the chana for at least a couple of hours, or overnight if possible.
- Grind the soaked chana into a coarse paste, using ¼ cup of water.
- Mix all the remaining ingredients (except oil), including the salt to the batter.
- Heat and oil the tawa (pan), and spread the batter on it.
- Cook till both sides become golden brown by flipping the dosa.
- Serve hot.
Moong Dal Oats Tikki
Here’s another protein rich, vegetarian recipe that can be used for breakfast or snacks.
Oats are rich in antioxidants and contain beta-glucan which is a soluble fibre. It makes for a filling breakfast and is suitable for those who suffer from diabetes and dyslipidemia as well.
Moong dal, or split green gram, is very nutritious, being a good source of iron and potassium.
Split moong dal: ½ cup
Rolled oats: ½ cup
Fresh curd:2 tablespoon
Grated carrot & onion: 2 tablespoon
Ginger garlic paste: 1 tablespoon
Chilli powder: ½ tsp
Garam masala: ¼ tsp
Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
Coriander leaves chopped: 1 tablespoon
Oil: 2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
- Boil the split moong dal in water till soft.
- Drain the soft moong dal.
- Grind it into a coarse dough.
- Now add all ingredients (except oil) to the dough.
- Mix the dough well and divide it into flat, round portions.
- Grease the tawa (pan) with oil and cook the tikkis on it.
- Flip them, till they are golden brown on both sides.
- You can serve these with mint or tomato chutney.
Whole Grain Salad
Whole grains are packed with protein, vitamin B, antioxidants and trace minerals like iron, zinc, copper and magnesium. These are an excellent source of fibre and help reduce constipation.
This recipe also uses bell-peppers which are a source of fibre, folate and iron. Nuts and seeds used in this recipe provide more protein, healthy fats, fibres, vitamins and minerals.
Brown rice or oats or barley: 1 cup, cooked and cooled
Bell pepper: ¼ , cut in bite-size pieces
Tomato: ¼ , cut into bite-size pieces
Radish: ¼ cup, chopped
Dried fruit like apricots, raisins, date, figs: 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Roasted peanuts, sesame seeds or sunflower seeds, or chopped almonds, walnuts: 2 tbsp
Low-fat cheese: 1 tbsp, grated
Lemon: 1, juiced
Olive oil: 2 tsp
Fresh coriander: 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Fresh mint: 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
- In a bowl, mix the chopped bell pepper, tomato, radish, dried fruit, nuts (or seeds) and the grated cheese.
- Season with salt and pepper and mix it gently.
- Add the cooked cereal of your choice (rice or oats or barley) and mix the ingredients with a fork.
- In another bowl, whisk the lemon juice, the oil and the herbs together.
- Drizzle this mixture over the salad and serve.
Chickpea flour or besan are high in proteins. It is also a good source of fibre, minerals and vitamins.
These pancakes are easy to make and you can add vegetables and herbs of your choice as well to the batter.
Chickpea flour: 1 cup
Water: 1 ½ cup
Carrot: 1, finely grated
Spring onion: 1, finely chopped (alternatively you can use an onion)
Turmeric: ¼ tsp
Cumin seeds: ¼ tsp
Salt: ¼ tsp
Coriander: 1 tbsp finely chopped
Oil: 1 – 2 tbsp
- In a mixing bowl, take the chickpea four and add water while mixing well to avoid lumps.
- In a frying pan, add 1 tbsp of oil.
Stir fry the carrots, spring onion and the coriander till they are soft. This might take 4 – 5 min.
- Add the fried vegetables and herb to the chickpea batter and mix thoroughly.
- Add the salt to the batter and mix well.
- Heat a pan over medium heat. Drizzle oil.
- Pour a large spoonful of the batter onto the pan and spread evenly, in the shape of a pancake.
- Once pinholes start appearing in the batter, flip the pancake over.
- Once both sides have been cooked, serve with curd, green chutney or a cucumber dip.
Oats is one of the most nutritionally dense foods you can have for breakfast. It contains not just fibre and carbs, but also high amounts of proteins.
Oats idli does not need any overnight batter preparation and can be made the same morning that it is served.
Rolled oats, or instant oats: 1 cup
Suji rava (fine rava or cream of wheat): ½ cup
Sour curds: ½ cup
Water: 1 cup (or as required)
Coriander : 3 tsp, chopped
For the tempering (or the tadka)
Oil: ½ tbs
Mustard seeds: ½ tbs
Cumin seeds: ½ tbs
Chana dal: ½ tsp
Black pepper: ½ tsp, crushed
Asafoetida or hing: 1 tsp
Ginger: ½ inch, chopped
Curry leaves: 1 tsp, chopped
- Powder in the oats in a grinder.
- In a pan, dry roast the suji flour.
- Add the oats flour and stir well over a medium flame, till you can smell the suji flour. Turn off the heat.
- Add the ginger, curry leaves and coriander to it.
- Add the curd and water and mix into a batter of medium consistency.
- Grease idli pans with oil.
- Immediately ladle the batter into the panda and steam in a pressure cooker (without a weight) for 10 – 12 mins.
- Insert a toothpick into the idlis to check if they are cooked thoroughly.
- Serve with coconut chutney or sambar.
Corn dalia is maize flour. It is high in protein and fibre. It is also loaded with vitamins.
Corn is an important source of magnesium, vitamin C and phosphorus.
This dish is made in a pressure cooker to save cooking time.
Corn dalia: 1 cup
Peas: 2 tbsp
Carrot: 2 tbsp, chopped
Onion: I tbsp, chopped
Oil: 1 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Ginger: 1 tsp, finely chopped
Turmeric powder: ¼ tsp
Curry leaves: 2 -3
Salt: to taste
Water: 3 cups
Low-fat milk: 1 cup
Mixed dry roasted nuts (almonds, cashew, peanuts): 3 tbs
- Heat the oil in a pressure cooker.
- Splutter the mustard seeds, and add the curry leaves.
- Add the ginger and stir till the raw smell disappears.
- Add in the onions, nuts, peas and carrots, along with the turmeric and the salt.
- Add the corn dalia to the pressure cooker and mix well with the vegetables and the spices.
- Add the water and milk. Stir well.
- Pressure cook for four to five whistles.
For more nutritious recipes for cancer patients, click here.