Eating right for Cystic Fibrosis can be a challenge especially during your teenage years.
The good news is that having cystic fibrosis means all those foods that you want to eat, like pizza, burgers and chips and chocolate cake, are all good for you because you need the extra calories.
BUT don’t get too carried away, you do still need to eat your vegetables, and some fruit, and make sure you fit some dairy and protein in there too to keep your bones and muscles strong, they’re also a good source of the fat you need.
Have a look over on the CF Chef page for some recipes that all easy to make.
Eat often – eat three large meals and three snacks every day, or even better, eat something every hour
Eat breakfast – it kick starts the metabolism and increases appetite. If typical breakfast foods aren’t palatable, eat anything that is. And if eating breakfast is a new thing, start small and light e.g. yoghurt and fruit. It won’t be long before you start waking up hungry.
Eat larger portions especially of meat, sauces, dressings, butter, margarine, oil, cheese, pasta, rice and potato
Add lots of ‘extras’ to food – things like butter, dressings, cheese or nuts. Check out the Calorie Boosters below for ideas
Trick the brain into eating more without noticing by using larger plates and bowls
Make drinks count – everyone needs at least two litres of fluid each day, but people with CF should include high energy drinks like milk shakes, iced coffees and chocolates, fruit juices, fruit smoothies and whole milk. Add one to three teaspoons of vegetable oil to milkshakes and smoothies. It adds calories without affecting the taste.
When you don’t feel like eating – distract yourself by eating while watching TV, working on the computer, reading a magazine or sitting on the train or bus.
Have a bed-time snack – people that have a late night snack tend to eat more calories in a day, and it won’t affect your appetite for the next meal since you’ll have slept for 8 hours – try an extra bit of dessert, a Milo or cheese sandwich
Add lots of “calorie boosters” to foods!
Some calorie boosters to add to your food:
• Margarine / butter
• Double/pure cream
• Whole egg mayonnaise
• Sour cream
• Salad dressing, especially creamy ones
• Dried fruit
• Grated cheese
• Cream cheese spread
• Peanut butter
• Sweetened condensed milk
• Caramel sauce
• Pesto dressing
• Hollandaise sauce
Get creative with them and create some new recipes, e.g. blend some peanut butter into a chocolate milkshake.
By now you’ve probably been living with CF for most of your life and know how important food and enzymes are to your health. Remembering to take your enzymes is really important. You might feel a bit weird taking them in front of your friends, but they are essential for getting the most out of what you eat and keeping you as healthy as possible.
If you’re not getting enough nutrients and kilojoules, you won’t gain weight and your body won’t be able to fight infections as easily.
Sometimes food alone won’t be enough to keep the weight on, and your doctor may need to look at alternatives like supplements. If you notice your weight dropping and the food you are eating isn’t enough, it’s time to talk to your doctor.