My Cancer Chic: Meal Plan

I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. Maybe that is due to my genetics, my metabolism or just my personality. I have tried so many diets over the years but like most people, I have struggled to commit to them long term. My weight has continued to fluctuate as a result of my changing eating habitats. The only meal planning/monitoring structure that has worked for me long-term is Weight Watchers. I have used the Weight Watchers app off and on for many years as simple way to track my eating and hold myself accountable. I do not strictly follow the points system but I use the system as a guidebook for portion control. The new PointsPlus system that Weight Watchers came out with this past year does a better job of accounting for healthy fats and encourages users to fill up on fruits, vegetables and protein. I would definitely recommend the Weight Watchers app as a tracking tool. Over the past year or so, I have created my own set of guidelines and values that I follow when making choices about food.

Eating Philosophy_pink

My main goal is to eat for a healthy lifestyle with a side goal of losing the extra weight I gained during chemo. I try to focus on make healthy choices instead of restricting myself. I find that focusing on the aspect of choice allows me to celebrate my successes and indulge occasionally without losing my motivation to continue eating well.

So what do meals look like when following these guidelines? Surprisingly, there are actually a lot of options. Once you get in the habit of eating well, these guidelines will become second nature. I have included a sample meal plan for my week so you can see what I eat and drink on a daily basis. I have also included a downloadable excel template so you can plan out your own meals for the week. I usually do my grocery shopping on Sundays and I spend the afternoon preparing breakfasts, lunches and snacks for the week. Sometimes, I will also pre-cook or prepare the vegetables for our dinners as well. This sets me up for a healthy and successful week.

Weekly Meal Plan_MyCancerChicDownload the a free excel version of this weekly meal plan template here.

Everyday meals

Many of my recipes are adapted from Skinnytaste.com, which is a wonderful resource. I have linked a few of my favorites.  If you want more information on any particular item/meal, please comment below. 

In addition to eating well, I make a very conscious effort to work out or move my body at least 30 minutes 5-6 days a week. My integrated medicine provider gave me the awesome idea of creating an exercise menu with varying levels of activities. This has been awesome for me, because even on days when I am in pain, exhausted or just plain busy, I can choose a quick/low energy activity from the menu and still meet my activity goal for the day. Three days per week I go to a program called Get Reel and Heel that is offered through my hospital. This amazing program for cancer survivors has exercise experts work one on one or in small groups to guide survivors through cardio, weights and stretching exercises specifically tailored to the individual’s need (ie. surgery restrictions, medication side effects, or range of motion limitatons) In addition to the GRH workouts, I try to walk 30-60 mins at a brisk pace with my husband or friends 2-3 days a week and fit in yoga or biking, as I am able. I also love to do Zumba on the weekend. It’s great to try lots of different kinds of physical activity until you find out what you enjoy, and what works well for your body.

The most important thing to remember is that each person is different and what works for me, may not be what works best for you. Eating well and exercising are proven to be effective for everyone though, so talk to your doctor to determine how you can incorporate healthy eating and exercise into your life!  I am sending you lots of love and encouragement as you set out on your health journey.

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8 comments

  1. Patricia Leary says:

    This meal plan looks very delicious. Thank you for posting it for us all to have! I have a question about the Overnight Oats. Do you mix all of that up in one container and let it sit in the fridge overnight? And put the fruit on top in the morning when you are ready to eat it?

    • Anna says:

      Hi Patti, That is right. You combine all the ingredients in a small tupperware. Mix it up and leave it in the fridge overnight. I usually make 2-3 morning’s worth on Sunday. Then the morning I eat that serving I add berries or nuts and flax seed.

  2. Mac says:

    I’ve been THRILLED with the meal plans and enjoy the residual effects of Anna’s meal plans because I get to enjoy the fresh vegetables with dinner (and my late night “dinners” that I eat late at night). My absolute favorite is the grilled vegetables with the asparagus and the marinated chicken. It’s better than anything we’ve eaten at restaurants and it’s all grilled.

    I also love all the fresh fruits [that are conveniently cut to bite size pieces and magically appear in the fridge each Sunday 😉 — I love magic].

    I especially like the menu that Anna writes on the chalk board in the kitchen. Especially when I see we’re having kwi-know-a for dinner… I usually find that there’s been some white rice prepared for a substitute for my plate.

    Thank you hunny for always keeping me in mind when preparing dinners for us. I love you so much and appreciate you every day. I hit the jackpot with you.

    Thanks to your patient motivation and gentle brain washing (errr, suggestions???) I’ve been able to stop adding sugar to things, stop drinking energy drinks, stop eating candies and Doritos, and stopped drinking sodas. Filling my bottomless food pit in my stomach with fruits and cashews leaves no room for those delicious snackies that are apparently “bad for me” haha.

    I’m so proud of you for blogging about all the great things you do on a daily basis. Your meal planning is definitely going to help people create a food paradigm shift and start focusing on making more good decisions than bad decisions rather than constantly counting calories and self-punishment for eating “bad stuff”.

    Love always,
    The hubby.

  3. Lisa says:

    Hi Anna,

    I have a question. Does chemo effect people in different ways? My father ( who has pancreatic cancer) ended up losing tons of weight and we were trying to “fatten him up.” The doctors even said try a Big Mac! I was shocked! I’ve been trying to have him eat smoothies and healthy foods!

    Also, your husband is the sweetest!

    • Anna says:

      Hi Lisa, chemo impacts each person so differently! Some people lose a lot of weight and struggle to gain the weight after chemo and other people are like me and gain weight. There are so many factors that contribute to how your body responds to chemo. I hope you are able to help your dad gain the gain weight back. Your route of smoothies and healthy foods with lots of protein sounds much better than Big Macs lol. Thanks for following and I hope some of my other posts are helpful for you.

    • Anna says:

      A couple alternatives I like to oats are quinoa, cauliflower and brown rice. All of those could be prepared in similar ways to oats. Not exactly the same taste, but another staple to work with.

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