The 5 Best Cookbooks for People With Cancer of 2021

Delicious cooking is possible even during treatment

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If you are going through cancer treatment and want to make healthy, anti-cancer meals—or at least those you can tolerate during therapy—there are a growing number of cookbooks designed just for you.

Some are focused on foods that are easy to eat while others promote the use of ingredients with cancer-fighting properties. In either case, the goal is to maintain good nutrition with recipes that are both enticing and easy to prepare. It's not always as easy as it sounds. 

Certainly one of the more challenging aspects of treatment is that most people undergoing chemotherapy simply are not hungry. To overcome this, many set a daily routine to ensure they eat properly. It is a task often made simpler by turning food into an activity rather than a chore.

This is where cookbooks come in. Having a cookbook on hand can provide you the means to try out new recipes to address any changes in taste you may be experiencing. Rather than indulging in favorite foods that are suddenly not-so-tasty, you can focus on those ingredients or flavors that you and your family can enjoy now.

Here are the five best cookbooks to help you achieve these goals:

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Betty Crocker's Living With Cancer Cookbook

Woman cooking in kitchen with cookbook.

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A long-time favorite, Betty Crocker's Living With Cancer Cookbook has become a staple for people living with cancer. The recipes are simple and offer great variety. You will also be provided with tips on how certain foods can alleviate many of the side effects of cancer treatment. 

The contents of the 288-page book include:

  • 130 family-friendly recipes
  • A seven-day meal planner 
  • Recipes flagged for those with common treatment side effects
  • Paperback and e-book versions are available
  • Inspirational stories from Pink Together community members (paperback only)
of 5

The American Cancer Society's Healthy Eating Cookbook

Woman cooking recipe.

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Now in its third edition, the American Cancer Society's Healthy Eating Cookbook is filled with healthy recipes that can help lower cancer risk while providing delicious recipes for those undergoing cancer treatment. It really is one of the best.

One of the book's best features is the guidance it provides in finding alternatives for less healthy food ingredients. It allows us to maintain good health without sacrificing flavor, making it the perfect choice for food lovers who detest "healthy cooking."

The 272-page book contains:

  • 300 recipes
  • Advice on healthy substitutes for unfriendly food ingredients
  • Hardcover and e-book versions are available
of 5

What to Eat If You Have Cancer

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What to Eat If You Have Cancer: Healing Foods That Boost Your Immune System is an especially helpful resource for the caregiver. The nutritional advice is detailed and aimed specifically for people undergoing cancer therapy.

This informative book addresses common side effects of treatment including malnutrition, weight loss, and infections of the mouth and throat. While some of the ingredients are hard to find, the book provides a detailed list of online purveyors.

The second edition of What to Eat If You Have Cancer (2006) contains new recipes based on some of the latest cancer research.

The 336-page book includes:

  • A list of foods people undergoing treatment should eat and avoid
  • Details on how to create meal plans for different types of cancer and phases of treatment
  • Paperback and e-book versions are available
of 5

The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen

Woman cooking with cookbook in hand.

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The Cancer-Fighting Kitchen by Rebecca Katz was designed specifically for people coping with cancer treatment. Using a step-by-step guide format, this award-winning cookbook stands out as a thoughtful and informative resource for those who want to eat nutritiously while creating aesthetically pleasing foods to stimulate the appetite.

The ease of the recipes and the general tone of the book make it clear that this is not just another author telling you what to do but rather one who encourages you to make an informed choice based on your individual needs.

The 240-page book contains:

  • Over 150 recipes
  • Tips on stimulating the appetite for those experiencing weight loss, mouth sores, or taste-bud changes
  • Hardcover and e-book versions are available
of 5

The Taste for Living Cookbook

Women in kitchen reading cookbook.

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The Taste for Living Cookbook: Mike Milken's Favorite Recipes for Fighting Cancer is perfect for persons with delicate palates who are undergoing radiation or chemotherapy.

The cookbook offers advice on how to fight all forms of cancer rather than just one specific type. It also brings many of our favorite international recipes into a new, healthy realm that everyone in the family will enjoy.

The 130-page book includes:

  • Over 100 recipes using common everyday ingredients 
  • Instructions that are easy whatever your cooking skill
  • Complete menus, including French, Italian, and Mexican
  • Recipes developed by renowned restaurateur, Beth Ginsberg
  • Hardcover only (new and used)
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