We all know that keeping up nutrient dense high calorie meals can be a struggle. Its hard to find inspiration, you have to be fairly organised and even then, often a CF child can suffer from taste fatigue as their parents keep presenting the same meal or high fat snack over and over. We all suffer from inspiration gaps and as parents, nutrition is one of the areas where we can make the most difference. To help combat some of these ‘inspiration gaps’, we’re starting to put together some tips that may provide a bit of inspiration or motivation when you next need it.
To get large amounts of calories into the system with minimal effort takes fats. A gram of fat contains over double the energy of a carbohydrate (breads etc). Accordingly you need to avoid any foods claiming to be ‘low fat’ and go for the full fat versions. Where possible try and emphasise natural fats. Full fat milk, Avocado, tinned oily fish and cheese are all great examples of this sort of high energy, high protein food. Another good tip is to add an oil based salad dressing to any salads that you may be having with your meals.
Making breakfast count
Because breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day, try cooking little containers of meat & fatty gravy which can be heated up separately for a brekky treat. Variety is the key to avoid taste fatigue and brekky is a great way to get calories in before they head off to school. [Plus many of us have different breakfasts anyway so it’s not such a big deal if you’re CFer eats something different.]
Keep snacks within reach
This is a deceptively powerful strategy. Always ensure that a high calorie snack is close at hand. High fat snacks should always be within reach!
Drink some of your calories
Boosting your calories is easier if some of them come in liquid form. A protein shake, smoothie or “boosted” milk shake is a great example of this. Shakes are typically very quick to prepare and consume and can be consumed with little discomfort even if you’re not hungry. A small protein drink can easily be consumed between meals or as a bedtime snack. Another common tactic is to add a glass of milk to meals to boost the protein and energy count.
There are four main things to think about:
Breakfast is still the most important meal of the day! By the time you get up your body will typically have been without food for between eight to twelve hours. Everyone should refuel with a quality meal as soon as possible after waking.
Try to eat little and often – four to six meals and snacks per day are the goal!
Time your meals carefully as regards any medications (which may need to be taken at the same time or separately to your meals)
Have a bed time snack. A great way to maintain or even boost bodyweight is a high protein snack before bed.
Cook more and use the freezer
Cook more than you need. If you’re cooking something that can be reheated later then cook extra and have the second helping the following day, or freeze it. Stews/casseroles are great examples of food which lends themselves to this approach. A marker pen and plenty of plastic tubs also help….