The COVID-19 pandemic has made eating in an everyday occurrence across the country, but for cancer patients who often have unique nutritional needs, at-home meal preparations can be particularly challenging. Fortunately, culinary experts at the OSUCCC &ndash; James are here to help with tips and easy-to-prepare recipes that can help cancer patients and caregivers get the most out of their homemade meals and snacks. &ldquo;In The James Instructional Kitchen, we work with patients, outpatients and caregivers on personalized nutrition education plans,&rdquo; says chef Stephanie Urrutia, RD, LD, a senior culinary educator at the OSUCCC &ndash; James. &ldquo;We focus on high-protein, high-calorie and easy-to-eat recipes, and provide information tailored to the patients&rsquo; diagnoses.&rdquo; Today&rsquo;s Recipe: Chickpea Salad &ldquo;The chickpea salad highlights plant based protein in its most familiar forms &mdash; beans and nuts,&rdquo; Urrutia says. &ldquo;Chickpeas, almonds, red onion, mandarin oranges, apples and spices bring this dish to life, loading it with antioxidants and flavor. &ldquo;Many research studies have indicated that plant-based diets can help reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, as well as lower the risk of developing a number of diseases. The most common question people have upon learning this information is &lsquo;What does plant-based mean?&rsquo; Plant-based is not vegetarian nor vegan, it means consuming a diet that is primarily plants, vegetables and fruit, that is supplemented by whole grains, lean meats, low-fat dairy products as well as poly-and-mono-unsaturated fats, while keeping processed foods to a minimum. There is a place for all foods in a plant-based diet. &ldquo;Plant-based protein can seem like a far-off concept if you are used to meat as a primary source of protein and it can be confusing to wade through the unclear messages about proteins billed as plant-based. Beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, nut and seed butters, edamame, tofu, tempeh, many ancient grains, quinoa, spelt, teff, amaranth and sprouted breads. &ldquo;The chickpeas have 24 grams of protein and 16 grams of fiber per cup to help keep you full. The almonds offer 6 grams of protein and 3.5 grams of fiber and are high in monounsaturated fats, Vitamin E, magnesium and manganese. Canned mandarin oranges are a great way to get fruit into an immunocompromised diet plan, and are high in Vitamin C. With the red onion and apples, it is important to wash your produce well on the outside prior to chopping and to look for any bruises, cuts or punctures if you are currently on an immunocompromised diet. &ldquo;As always, it is important to remember that safe preparation and handling of foods is the most important factor for food preparation to make sure that you have lowered the risk for introducing food-borne illnesses, bacteria and viruses, into your body.&rdquo; Ingredients 1, 15 oz. can chickpeas 1 tsp mustard 1 tsp. dried parsley 2 Tbsp. Mayonnaise 2 Tbsp. Plain Greek Yogurt 2 Tbsp. Slivered Almonds (toasted) 1 can mandarin oranges &frac14; cup red onion chopped salt and pepper to taste Directions Place Chickpeas in a bowl large enough for you to work your hand in. With gloves or a pastry cutter, smash chickpeas until they begin to stick together. Add remaining ingredients and mix until all are well-combined and coated in the dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can serve this as a sandwich, a whole wheat wrap or even just as a protein for your salad.