Diving Into Nutrition
You know how connected nutrition is to staying healthy with cystic fibrosis (CF). Because of the way CF affects the body, people with CF need a diet that's high in calories and fat.
While the information below can help you make informed decisions at mealtime, always work with a dietitian at your CF Care Center before making any changes to your diet.
Not all fats are created equal
We all know a CF diet is packed with fat. But not all fats are created equal.
As you may know, people with CF may have trouble absorbing the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. So, in addition to the vitamin supplements you may already be taking, consider adding these vitamin-rich foods to your diet:
|SOURCE||Eggs, milk, carrots, spinach, broccoli||Salmon, tuna, milk, cereal, eggs||Almonds, peanuts, mayonnaise, broccoli, margarine||Broccoli, spinach, peas, leaf lettuce, coleslaw|
- Fats are actually good for you: Why? Because some fatty foods are a source of naturally occurring nutrients such as essential fatty acids and vitamin E. According to the USDA's Dietary Guidelines for Americans, unsaturated fats and oils are part of "healthy eating patterns" that also include fruits, vegetables, proteins, dairy, and grains
Finding fats for your diet
Get to know the main kinds of fat.
Unsaturated fats—a.k.a. what you may want to have more of
Trying to add more healthy fats to your diet? Consider planning out your meals and snacks for the week. Maybe start by assigning a key “fatty” ingredient to each day of the week. For example, you can try making a habit of eating avocados every Saturday, or olives every Sunday. That way you can get your grocery shopping down to a science!
Reading nutrition labels
When choosing a food or an ingredient, you can refer to a nutrition label like this one to find out how much fat it contains.
Talk with your healthcare team if you have questions about the information you find on a food label.
Making your stomach (and wallet) happy
Nutritious meals don't have to break the bank. Try adding some of these budget-friendly staples to your grocery list.
Take a screenshot so this list is always handy.
High-fat staples under $5
- 1 jar of peanut butter (16 ounces)
- 1 gallon of whole milk
- 1 pound of butter (about 4 sticks)
- 1 block of cheese (1 pound)
- 1 large tub of whole-milk yogurt (32 ounces)
- 1 dozen eggs
- 3 pounds of chicken legs
- 1 pound of ground beef
- 1 package of cashews (10 ounces)
- 2 cans of coconut milk (13.5 ounces each)
Nutritious veggies under $5
- 2-3 avocados
- 1 pound of sweet potatoes
- 1 pound of carrots
- 1 pound of tomatoes
- 1 pound of broccoli
- 1 bag of baby spinach (10 ounces)
- 1 bag of mixed salad greens (1 pound)
- 3 cans of beans (15-16 ounces each)
Saving at the grocery store doesn't only come down to what you buy, but also how you buy. Consider some of these tips the next time you're filling your cart:
- Try not to shop hungry: An empty stomach can quickly lead to an empty wallet
- Take advantage of coupons and loyalty programs: The savings can add up quicker than you think
- Buy in bulk when you can: Buying larger amounts of food can help you stretch each dollar even further
- Shop around: Your neighborhood grocery store may not always have the best deals. Consider dollar stores, warehouse stores, or even the farmers market
- Don't rely on the name: Many stores sell their own products that can be cheaper than the name-brand version
- Go for quality over quantity: Foods that are higher in fiber and protein can help you feel full during your meal and for some time after
People with CF are prone to electrolyte depletion from sweating, especially when it's hot or when exercising. Here's when more electrolytes are especially needed:
Switch it up with recipe swaps
Feeling like you're in a rut? Try something new with these tasty swaps:
- Try turkey bacon instead of traditional (pork) bacon
- Use black beans instead of refried beans
- Swap in tofu for meat in your favorite recipe
- Grab whole grain bread in place of white bread
Got stomach issues? If so, be sure to discuss your diet with your doctor as certain dietary restrictions can help with some stomach problems.