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Wilmington, Del. — Most of us aren’t looking for recipes that add calories. But for families with sickle cell disease, it’s a different story. Because kids and teens with sickle cell disease break down red blood cells faster than other children do, their bodies use more energy and need more calories to maintain health, avoid complications and keep pace with their peers.
High calorie foods and extra snacks can be very helpful. Recognizing this, and not seeing another resource that quite fit the bill, the sickle cell team at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, led by dietitian Michell Fullmer, developed a unique cookbook offering recipes for appealing calorie-dense meals and snacks.
For people with sickle cell disease, a diet that provides plenty of fuel in the form of calories, protein, vitamins and minerals helps to replace red blood cells. After coming up with and testing a variety of recipes herself, Fullmer and the team did a test run with patients in the sickle cell program at duPont Hospital. They spent a Saturday prepping, cooking and tasting the foods, which passed with flying colors. From loaded oatmeal to smoothies, shakes, snacks and fritattas, the cookbook offers tasty and kid-friendly fare that is easy to prepare.
What makes a dish both calorie-dense and healthy? The cookbook’s chili recipe, for example, includes ground beef and lots of veggies — tomatoes, onions, green peppers, lentils, three kinds of beans, and whole kernel corn. The broccoli slaw includes cooked noodles and nuts. The smoothies are blends of yogurt, milk, fruit, and juice; some call for peanut butter, too.
“What we’ve done is add calories that offer strong nutritional value and taste really good,” said Fullmer. “They’re not empty calories or foods that kids wouldn’t want to eat. We also made sure the recipes were a snap to prepare so the kids could help in the kitchen.”
The cookbook was funded in part by the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Zeta Omega Chapter and its charitable arm, The Pearls of Hope Foundation, Inc.
If you would like a bound, print version of the cookbook, please email Michell Fullmer.