cooking Healing Meals Stacey Antine HealthBarn Foundation

Getting dinner on the table after a busy day can be a chore–serving healthy food, an even bigger challenge. Now, imagine trying to do it after spending a long day at the hospital with a sick child.

For parents who face this reality, the Healing Meals program is a welcome relief.

Created by registered dietitian Stacey Antine, it provides free, nutritious, take home food for families with children undergoing treatment for cancer and other serious disorders.

cooking Facebook HealthBarn FoundationInspiration struck while she was taking care of her own father as he underwent treatment for cancer, making sure he was eating the right foods.

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“When families are in this time of stress, it’s s not a time to educate people about what they should be eating, it’s a time to make sure they’re getting what they need,” Antine told Good News Network. “That prompted me thinking, ‘How can I make that happen?’”

Antine went to a nonprofit and proposed the idea that was met with a resounding “Yes!”

Whole Foods even joined the team effort, donating the ingredients that are whipped into meals by student volunteers from a local culinary school.

Since the program started in 2014, 6000 Healing Meals have been distributed at two New Jersey hospitals.Peanuts pic by tamburix

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“These children have heightened nutritional needs, yet lack access to healthy meals,” Antine continued. “This is not a handout; it is part of their treatment.” A crucial step to keeping their weight up and immune system strong.

Healing Meals feed a family of four with dishes like cheesy lasagna rolls, chicken fiesta fajitas, and “Japchae,” a Korean stir-fry. The meals also come ready with thoughtful additions, like cookies made with iron-rich molasses and ginger, to help with nausea.

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Antine hopes to expand the program into more hospitals. Meanwhile, parents can pull quick, healthy recipes from her 2012 book, Appetite for Life.

(WATCH the video below from WABC or READ more at HealthBarn Foundation)

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