Dietary Guidelines: Cystic Fibrosis

peanut butter spread on wheat toast


According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, adult men with CF should aim to consume at least 3,000 calories per day in order to maintain their weight (and as many as 3,700 per day to gain weight). Adult women should aim for 2,500 calories per day (3,000 per day to gain weight).

Overall diet

Dietary advice for those with CF is very different from the advice I give to most of my other patients. Those with CF need to focus on adding calories, protein, and fat to their meals. (Why fat? Many vitamins are fat-soluble, meaning they require fat to be consumed in order for them to be absorbed.)

Some suggestions:

  • Add grated cheese to soups, casseroles, mashed potatoes, rice, or frozen pizzas
  • Use whole milk products or even half and half in cooking or for drinking (this will also help with calcium intake)
  • Peanut butter is a great dip for fresh veggies; peanut butter toast is a good breakfast
  • Add butter to vegetables, oatmeal or grits, and mashed potatoes, and stir into soups
  • Use sour cream as a topping for soups, on baked potatoes (or in mashed potatoes), and on vegetables
  • Breaded items will have more calories than unbreaded.
  • Think toppings, such as granola, nuts, dried fruit, or brown sugar for oatmeal, or marshmallows with fruit or hot chocolate
  • Add chopped hard-boiled egg or cheese cubes to salads or eat as snacks

Planning is important as well. Making batches of soups or stews over the weekend and separating them into servings can make it easy for you to have something nutritious.

Here are a few recipe ideas for those weekend soups and stews:

Lentil Chili
Mushroom Chili
Barbecue Chicken Chili
Lamb Stew with Chickpeas
Pasta Fagioli with Chicken
White Bean Chili
Meatball Soup
Lemon Herb Chicken Soup
Basque Chicken Stew
Black Bean and Corn Stew
Curried Chicken Soup
Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
Sweet Potato Stew with Maple Roasted Pork

More Tips: Snacks and Desserts

More guidelines for those living with Cystic Fibrosis »

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