Personal fitness is a vital part of a child’s recovery when affected by cancer.

We offer this by way of safe, evidence-informed programmes for patients and survivors in a safe space to recover their fitness level. They can obtain (or regain) sports skills and improve their confidence for being physically active.

To ensure participant safety, programs must take into account participants’ disease, treatment stage, and related side-effects (such as compromised immune systems, cardiovascular toxicity, lower level of physical functioning, and muscle mass atrophy).

Nutrition during and after treatment can be a real source of stress and worry.

Children struggle with a loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, digestive problems, changes to their taste buds and mucositis (painful inflammation of the mouth and gut) during chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. This can have a long-term adverse effect on eating habits and nutrition after treatment has ended.

Many children have a nasogastric tube in place during treatment to aid nutritional and help maintain weight. Steroids are also a regular part of treatment which can increase a child's appetite, create bloating and affect their behaviour ('roid rage).

As a result of these side effects, children and young people often can be over- or underweight, continue with unhealthy eating habits at a time when nutrition is a key part of recovery and rebuilding strength, feel self-conscious and lack confidence and self-esteem due to their change in appearance and physical side effects.

At The Joshua Tree, we work with a nutritional adviser to offer support with healthy eating to the whole family, as well as providing a fitness and well-being programme to our young people to support their physical and emotional well-being after treatment.

We fund 1 to 1 personal training sessions and access to the gym.

Recipes

Many thanks to Michael Lynn (@mml_nutrition), nutritionist and friend of The Joshua Tree, for sharing these great recipes with our families.

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup of rolled oats (gluten-free)
  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 2 tbsp flax seeds
  • 2 tbsp chi seeds
  • 2 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 tbsp coconut palm sugar

Instructions

  1. Mash up bananas in a medium bowl
  2. Add in the other ingredients
  3. Set aside for 10-15 mins
  4. Line a tray with non-stick baking paper and preheat oven to 350 F, 180 C
  5. Scoop in the cookie mix onto the tray, in even segments, and bake until golden on top (15-25mins)

Nutrition per cookie : carbs 16g, protein 3g, fat 5g

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Ingredients 

  •  2 bananas
  • 1/4 carrot
  • 3 strawberries
  • 6 skewers
  • 1 handful currants

Instructions

  1. Cut bananas into thick slices (x9 slices)
  2. Peel carrots and cut into small triangles for noses
  3. Cut the leaves off the strawberries and then cut in half what is left, this will make two hats
  4. Assemble the snowmen by threading three slices of banana per skewer followed by a strawberry hat and a grape on top. Place two currants for the eyes and three more for the buttons
  5. Then enjoy!!

* Safety note when making with children break/ cut sharp end of skewers off

Nutrition per snowman : carbs 15g, protein 4g, fat 2g

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Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp oats
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 30g skimmed milk powder

Instructions

  1. Mix ingredients in a large bowl
  2. Roll into 8 bite sized balls
  3. Add 50ml of water if the mixture is too dry
  4. Leave in the fridge to chill, then enjoy!

Per ball: carbs 11g, protein 5g, fat 8g = energy to play!

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Ingredients

  • handful strawberries
  • 1 banana 150g cottage cheese
  • handful of raisins

Instructions

  1. Take the top off a strawberry (the leaves)
  2. Slice a second slice from the top of the strawberry
  3. Slice a disc from the banana
  4. Spread one side of the banana with cottage cheese (make it thick as this will be the beard )
  5. Place the strawberry slice on a plate
  6. Add the slice of the banana on top, cottage cheese side down
  7. Add two raisins to the cottage cheese for eyes
  8. Add the remaining part of the strawberry on top for the hat
  9. Repeat for as many Santas you want, and enjoy!

Nutrition per Santa : carbs 8g, protein 4g, fat 1g

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Ingredients

  • 125g wholemeal flour
  • 100g plain flour
  • 1 tbsp unrefined sugar
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 30g dairy free spread
  • 2 large eggs
  • 300ml soya milk
  • 200g raspberries / blueberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C (Gas mark 4/350°F). Line a muffin tin with silicone cups or paper cupcake cases.
  2. Add the flours, sugar, baking powder, salt and dairy free spread or butter to a food processor or blender and whizz to combine. Add the eggs and whizz again. Add gradually the soya milk and whizz until smooth and lump free.
  3. Transfer the pancake mixture to a jug for easy pouring, then pour into the cupcake cases, filling each to about two thirds full. Top each muffin with some berries of your choice, pushing them down slightly into the mixture.
  4. Bake for approx. 15 minutes until risen and golden. To check if they are done, pop a cocktail stick into the middle of one of the muffins and check it comes out clean.

Nutrition per muffin : carbs 29g, protein 8g, fat 6g

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Ingredients

4 servings

  • 280ml of buttermilk
  • 1 egg beaten
  • 2poached eggs per person
  • 200g spinach
  • 175g buckwheat flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • paprika
  • rapeseed oil

Instructions

  1. Boil the kettle, put the buttermilk and beaten egg in a food processor. Put the spinach in a colander and pour over boiling water to wilt. Squeeze out any excess water, add to the processor and blitz to a smooth purée.
  2. Put all dry ingredients, plus 1 tsp salt, in a bowl and gradually mix in the purèe. If a little thick, add 1 tbsp water to loosen to a batter consistency
    Heat a drizzle of oil in a large, non-stick pan over a medium heat and spoon in two or three ladlefuls of batter.
  3. Cook for 1-2mins or until bubbles appear, then flip over for 1 min more or until cooked.
  4. Repeat until you have 12 pancakes, serve topped with poached eggs

Nutrition carbs 10g, protein 20g, fat 12g

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Ingredients

  • 1 medium wholemeal tortilla wrap
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 2 tbsp ranch dressing, low fat cream cheese or humus
  • 1/2 pepper (any colour)
  • 1/2 orange
  • 1/2 cup of shelled edamame

Instructions

  1. Place tortilla on a work surface and spread ranch dressing (or cream cheese or hummus) over it
  2. Top with chopped pepper and avocado. Roll the tortilla tightly around the vegetables
  3. Cut crosswise into 1-inch slices.
  4. Pack in the large section of a lunch box or in a large container.
  5. Cut oranges into wedges then pack orange wedges and edamame in the remaining sections of the lunch box / container

Per roll: carbs 14g, protein 7g, fat 8g= energy for the day!

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Ingredients

  • Medium watermelon
  • 1/2 cup of natural greek yoghurt -
  • 1tbsp dried cranberries or raisins

Instructions

  1. Cut watermelon into small wedges, 1cm thickened 6cm wide at base
  2. Using a sharp knife, cut out a tree base
  3. Put trees into a baking tray, with baking paper, and put the yogurt into a piping bag
  4. Pipe the yoghurt onto the tree with your own design
  5. Top with dried cranberries or raisins
  6. Put into the freezer until the yoghurt is set, then ENJOY!!

Nutrition per serving : carbs 11g, protein 3g, fat 1g

Download / print recipe PDF

"I didn’t know whether I was going to get my GCSEs and get into college which stressed me out and I suffered from anxiety. Cancer doesn’t just affect you academically but physically and emotionally. I hated how I looked for a long time. I became very anxious and it set me back. After my first session with the personal trainer, I was exhausted, but that said, I was absolutely exhilarated..."

Teenage Beneficiary

"Delivering health and well-being programmes for children and teenagers post-cancer treatment by building body confidence, self-esteem, nutritional knowledge and empowerment strategies all deliver exceptional results for young people affected by childhood cancers."

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