If your child with CF eats all day, he or she will not be hungry at mealtime. Give your child some control over food. Don't force-feed or pressure a child to eat new foods. Lead by example and try new foods yourself. Have clear rules for how your child can act at mealtime.
Children with CF may need 2,000-2,800 calories daily. It is important to remember that a balanced diet is vital for the whole family. This includes dairy products; grains and starches; fruits and vegetables; and proteins such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs and peanut butter. Because 3- to 7-year-olds with CF will eat the same amount as other children their age, more calories should be added.
Give whole milk at every meal. Whole-milk dairy products (such as cottage cheese, yogurt and pudding), cream on cereal, margarine or butter in everything, and extra cheese in casseroles or on pizza put more calories in the meal.
Vitamin supplements are crucial because of the malabsorption of vitamins in people with CF. Vitamin supplements help meet your child's nutrition needs and prevent vitamin shortages, especially of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E and K. Your CF dietitian or care provider will help you find the right type and dosage of vitamin supplements for your child.
Your CF dietitian or care provider also will help decide what kind of, and how many, enzymes your child needs. Enzyme dose is based on weight, amount eaten, bowel movements, growth and weight gain. Do not change the enzyme dose without talking to your CF dietitian or care provider.
Most children this age still need the enzyme capsules opened up and the beads mixed with food. They may still need supervision and help with enzymes for a few more years. You can help with meals away from home by sending the enzymes and the acidic food (such as applesauce or other fruit) to mix them with. Enzymes should not be mixed in food ahead of time.
Your CF dietitian or care provider also can help you work with the daycare or school to make it easier for your child to use the restroom, when needed, without embarrassment or delay.