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. Today&rsquo;s Recipe: Sweet Potato Chili Sweet Potato Chili is a vegetable-laden dinner that packs a lot of flavor. Mirepoix &mdash; the carrot, onion and celery mix &mdash; gives the chili a flavorful vegetable base, to which we added zucchini, which is high in vitamins A and C, manganese, carotenoids like lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, as well as soluble and insoluble fibers (typically, the darker the skin zucchini has, the more nutrient density it has). The carotenoids in zucchini are strong antioxidants that are protective against cancers and heart disease. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamins A and C, potassium, beta carotene, as well as anthocyanins and other antioxidant-rich compounds. Beans of the makers&rsquo; choosing provide plant-based protein, fiber and a creaminess to the chili. The many vegetable fibers promote gut health and maintain good digestion. Quick rice makes a perfect complement to the sweet potato chili &mdash; microwaveable rice pouches, like we used in the demo, are also a convenient way to incorporate more whole grains while maintaining a similar nutrient density as stove-top cooking. As always, it&rsquo;s 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 foodborne illnesses, bacteria and viruses into your body. Ingredients 2 tsp olive oil &frac12; large onion 1 small carrot 1 rib of celery 2-3 cloves of garlic &frac12; cup zucchini 1 &frac12; cup mashed sweet potato 2 cans of red kidney beans or chili beans (rinsed and drained) 1 large (28 oz. can) crushed tomatoes 2 cups of vegetable stock &frac12; cup shredded cheese &frac14; cup sour cream (optional) &frac12; avocado, sliced (optional) Directions Place a medium soup/saucepot over medium heat and add the olive oil. While this comes to temperature, chop your onion, celery and carrot into small/medium dice. Mince garlic and add all the veggies to the pot. Saute until the onion become translucent and the veggies are beginning to soften and caramelize on the bottom of the pot. Add the sweet potato to the pot and allow them to cook and blend for 1-2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and stock and bring soup to a simmer. Let the soup continue to simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes. Add the beans to the soup and allow to cook for another 10 minutes. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve with cheese and optional toppings.