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How to Boost Caloric Intake with Cystic Fibrosis

For most people, calories are something that we’re encouraged to count or even limit, and in a society where obesity has been declared an epidemic, there seems to be ample reason to do so. However, those living with cystic fibrosis must follow a very different path to maintain a healthy body weight: Calories must be increased well beyond the recommended numbers for other individuals. Meeting these goals can be difficult, largely because it can be tough to fit a huge number of calories into a busy day – doubly so if you want those calories to be from more or less healthful sources. If you or someone you know has cystic fibrosis and struggles to meet their calorie goals each day, keep reading as the experts at ENU – makers of nutrition shakes for cystic fibrosis patients – discuss how to boost your caloric intake with cystic fibrosis.

How Many Calories Do You Need with Cystic Fibrosis?

If you look on the label of virtually any food product, you’ll see a variety of nutrition facts, many of which are based on percentages, and at the bottom, by a tiny asterisk, you’ll see words to the effect of, “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutritional advice.” This number has long been used as the reference point for caloric intake, and despite the fact that many people have unique needs based on their personal biology and lifestyle, it continues to serve as the baseline for most diets.

However, life with cystic fibrosis requires that you set your sights somewhat higher where caloric intake is concerned. Because food can’t quite be fully digested in the system of someone with cystic fibrosis, a smaller percentage of what’s consumed is actually absorbed by the body; as a result, more calories and nutrients – especially fats – must be taken in each day to ensure that the body has what it needs. In some cases, this could mean eating as much as 50% more than someone without cystic fibrosis each day.

As with the standard dietary guidelines, the caloric intake of a man with cystic fibrosis tends to be a bit higher than a woman with the condition:

  • Most men living with cystic fibrosis will need at least 3,000 calories a day to stay at their current weight, and they may require as much as 4,000 calories from food or weight gain shakes to put on some pounds.
  • Most women with cystic fibrosis will need to get at least 2,500 calories on a daily basis to stay at a healthy weight, or more than 3,000 calories to gain weight.

How to Get More Calories in a Cystic Fibrosis Diet

If you’ve never tried to eat more than 3,000 calories a day, know that it’s easier said than done. Depending on what you eat, you could easily find your appetite sated well before reaching your goal, which is why it’s important to plan meals and keep snacks on hand for when your hunger does spike.

Add Fats to Your Food to Boost Calorie Content

Although fried foods are rightly considered unhealthy in most instances, frying your food in healthy, unsaturated fats can be a great way to get more calories without having to eat larger portions. Olive oil is one good option, but any fat that’s liquid at room temperature can be an appropriate choice, including sunflower oil, coconut oil, and canola oil.

Avoid Drinks Around Mealtimes

To maximize your caloric intake with cystic fibrosis, you’ll need to make the most out of your appetite, which means satisfying hunger pangs with high-calorie foods rather than drinks like water or tea. While it’s undoubtedly important to stay hydrated, try to time your drinks either an hour or more before a meal or afterward, when you’re finished eating.

Keep Food On-Hand

If you live a busy life, it’s may be difficult to fit large meals into your hectic schedule, which is where snacks and portable foods come in handy. Making individually wrapped sandwiches and keeping them in the fridge to grab when you’re on the go is one option; another is to stock the fridge with high-calorie weight management shakes that you can bring with you to work, to the store, or anywhere else. Just try to balance any snacking with healthy options when you do get a chance to sit down and eat.

Focus on Calorie-Dense Foods

One of the hardest parts of maintaining the proper caloric intake with cystic fibrosis is not overdoing it with the volume of food you consume. It’s easy to fill up on fiber or protein, both of which are low in calories, and miss out on the more calorie-dense foods, which means fewer calories overall during the day. By planning your meals in advance and purposefully choosing foods that are high in calories, you can ensure that you get the most calories for the volume.

Add ENU Shakes or Nutritional Powders to Your Routine to Boost Your Caloric Intake

Although planning and preparation are crucial parts of increasing your caloric intake with cystic fibrosis, there are times when you just need something quick and easy. ENU nutrition shakes come with 400 calories per carton, not to mention an array of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients, making them a healthy and convenient option. If you want to minimize volume, consider our Pro3+ nutritional powder, which adds calories and protein without increasing the volume of your food. Learn more about all the benefits of ENU products by visiting us online or calling (855) 266-6733 today.

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