Recipes and Nutrition
It can be a challenge to get some kids to eat certain foods. When you have a child with CF, you have the extra challenge of getting your kid to eat enough food. Below, you can get information on why calories count, what to do if eating is not enough, questions to ask your CF Care Team, ways to encourage eating, and recipes for all ages.
Why calories count
Chances are you’ve heard about how important it is for your child with CF to eat a lot of healthy and high-calorie food. That’s because the mucus that builds up with CF can block their body from absorbing nutrients. This leads to poor digestion, slow growth, difficulty gaining weight, greasy bowel movements, and makes it harder to fight infection.
If eating is not enough
Sometimes, it can be hard for your child to eat enough calories. You should talk to your child's doctor about taking enzymes that may help the body digest food and get the nutrition and fat needed to grow and gain weight. If digestive enzymes are not enough, talk to your child's doctor about other options, such as supplements.
Questions to ask your CF Care Team
The doctor or the dietitian on your CF Care Team will be able to make recommendations about tube feedings, enzymes, and calorie needs. To help start the conversation, use the list of questions below.
Things to ask your CF Care Team Dietitian:
Is this a healthy rate of weight gain?
How many calories should be eaten each day?
How can I add healthy calories to meals?
Should pancreatic enzyme supplements be added to food?
Should vitamins be taken?
Should salt be added to food?
How do I know if tube feedings are necessary?
Even when you’re armed with great food, you may still have a hard time getting your child to eat. The following are a few tips that other parents have described as helpful. They may be able to help you, too.
Pay more attention when your child is doing a good job
Give young children choices, like waffles or pancakes
Give older children options for which foods they can eat to fill their calorie requirements
Get older children involved in meeting calorie requirements
Recipes for all ages
Because eating a diet high in calories and fat is important for most people with CF, finding recipes that work for different stages in life is a big help. That’s why CF Living offers food options for kids and tweens, teens, young adults, and adults.