Eating Right With Cystic Fibrosis
Kids and teens with the disease often don't feel well enough to eat full meals, but ensuring that they have consistent eating habits plays a huge role in supporting their health.
Proper nutrition is important for any child, but particularly one with cystic fibrosis. Sufferers of the disease often need 20-30% more calories than those without it, and as a result, many patients with cystic fibrosis do not eat as much as their body needs. Part of this is due to malabsorption by the pancreas, as cystic fibrosis affects the digestive system.
Infants and children may be prescribed pancreatic enzymes to help them absorb fat and other nutrients more effectively. Others may be given tube feedings to help them receive sufficient calories. Whatever your child's situation, you should be aware of their nutritional needs and how you can help satisfy them.
Because of the correlation between higher body weight and better lung function, it is important that cystic fibrosis patients try to get an appropriate amount of calories. Some ways to do this for your child include:
- Ensuring they eat often enough—both meals and snacks should be regular.
- Adding supplements to milkshakes/smoothies. These types of drinks typically have a high-calorie-to-volume ratio and can be easily consumed.
- Giving your child high-fat/high-calorie foods, preferably those that have solid nutritional benefits. For example, avocados, nuts and seeds, and spreads like peanut butter.