What to Eat During Cancer Treatment: Creamy mac and cheese

What to Eat During Cancer Treatment: Creamy mac and cheese

Cancer treatments are designed to kill cancer cells. But these treatments can also damage healthy cells. Damage to healthy cells can cause side effects, and some of these side effects can lead to eating problems such as appetite loss, changes in taste or smell, nausea and weight loss.

Because of these side effects, many patients undergoing cancer treatment adjust their diets and cooking habits. The American Cancer Society, as well as numerous cancer institutes, chefs and culinary resources, have adapted favorite recipes to meet the needs of cancer patients undergoing treatment.

This recipe from the American Cancer Society‘s What to Eat During Cancer Treatment and published by USA Today for creamy mac and cheese addresses the common cancer therapy symptoms of unintentional weight loss and sore mouth. But it can be a tasty meal for anyone in the family at 400 calories

When it comes to comfort food, nothing beats an ooey, gooey macaroni and cheese casserole. In this recipe, the pasta actually cooks in the sauce, making the prep time next to nothing. For more authentic flavor, grate your own cheese (a shredder blade on a food processor is good for this) instead of buying packaged pre-shredded cheese.

Servings: 8

Prep time: 15 minutes or less

Total time: 1 hour and 15 minutes or less


  • 2 cups low-fat milk
  • 1 cup regular (not low-fat) cottage cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound sharp or extra-sharp Cheddar cheese, grated, divided
  • 1 cup fresh bread crumbs (Making homemade bread crumbs is a snap. Just throw a slice of bread in the food processor and process until it becomes crumbs.)
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese, optional
  • 1/2 pound uncooked elbow pasta


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 8-by-8-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a blender, combine the milk, cottage cheese, mustard, and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and blend until smooth.
  3. In a bowl, combine 1 cup of the grated Cheddar cheese, the bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese. Set aside. (Try a combination of cheeses, using Gruyère for a nuttier flavor or Monterey Jack for a milder flavor. If you don’t have any Parmesan cheese on hand, just leave it out.)
  4. In a large bowl, combine the remaining Cheddar cheese, the milk mixture, and uncooked pasta. Pour into prepared pan and cover tightly with foil.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Uncover, stir gently, and top with reserved cheese mixture. Bake uncovered for an additional 20 minutes, or until just set. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.

Nutritional information:

Per serving
Calories: 400
Total fat: 21 g
Total carbohydrate: 29 g
Dietary fiber: 1 g
Sugars: 5 g
Protein: 23 g
Sodium: 510 mg

Leave a Reply