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For adults with CF, good nutrition is very important for keeping your lungs strong, fighting infection, and maintaining your overall health. Most adults with CF need 20% to 50% more calories each day than people without CF. Some may need even more than this. A high-calorie, high-energy diet will help ensure you get all the vitamins, nutrients, and extra calories you need to stay healthy and maintain a good body weight. As you get older, you may find it harder to fit a nutritious diet into your busy schedule. Follow the tips and suggestions below to help keep you on track.1

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Get organized. Here's how2:

  • Stock up. Keep plastic utensils, plastic bags, napkins, and straws on hand. This helps make packing snacks and meals easier
  • Grab 'n go. Have one shelf in your kitchen and/or refrigerator for quick, on-the-go meals and snacks
  • Leftovers. Make extra food. Take leftovers with you for lunch the next day or put extra food in the freezer to heat up for a quick meal later
  • Single Servings. Buy peanut butter, cream cheese, salad dressing, and other foods in single-packet servings to save time
  • Think ahead. Before you go to sleep, think about the next day. What do you have going on? Make snacks and meals that you can stash in your backpack, purse, briefcase, or desk drawer
Let's face it. Mornings can be rough, and getting out the door can take longer than expected. It's never a good idea to leave the house hungry. With a little extra planning, you can make your morning routine easier. Here's how2:
  • Scramble eggs with cheese and warm up a tortilla. Wrap the scrambled eggs and cheese in the warmed tortilla and out the door you go
  • Buy frozen breakfast sandwiches. Microwave them while getting ready. Grab and go
  • Keep shakes, yogurt drinks, and other high-calorie beverages on hand for easy travel
  • Freeze giant muffins. Grab one and go in the morning
  • Fill water bottles with your favorite drink or shake before going to bed. Grab one before you head out in the morning
  • When you have extra time, make pancakes or French toast for the week. Wrap single servings and freeze. Toss in the microwave while getting ready
  • Buy individual servings of oatmeal or cereal to take with you when you're on the go. Add hot water and/or milk
  • Keep fruit handy. Grab before leaving the house

Smart food choices for adults1,3

Eating a well-balanced diet will help keep your body strong and healthy. Adults with CF need lots of fats, proteins, and carbs to keep energy levels high and maintain a good body weight. Getting enough vitamins and minerals is also important, as well as eating plenty of fruits and vegetables. In addition, be sure you're getting enough calcium. It's crucial for keeping your bones strong. Try to have at least 3 meals and 3 snacks per day, or more if need be. Talk with your dietitian. They can help decide what is best for you based on your needs. Here are some examples of what your meals and snacks could look like:


  • Cereal with whole milk, fruit (sugar), and orange juice
  • Toast, bagel, or muffin with butter, jelly, honey, cheese, and/or peanut butter


  • Pizza with cheese, meat, and/or veggies. Add extra meat or cheese to up the calories
  • Fried fish sticks with chips and/or French fries
  • Sandwich with extra deli meat, cheese, and/or mayonnaise
  • Baked potato with all the toppings—butter, sour cream, cheese bacon, and/or chili
  • Black bean and chicken quesadillas


  • Fried chicken with potato salad and veggies cooked in butter or oil
  • Macaroni and cheese. Add chicken and veggies (such as broccoli, spinach, etc) of your choice
  • Chicken enchilada casserole


  • Grilled chocolate spread and peanut butter sandwich
  • Apple with peanut or almond butter
  • Baby carrots and hummus
  • Cucumbers with creamy dressing or dip
  • Milkshake
  • Spinach dip with tortilla chips or crackers

Conor Reid is a 19-year-old college student with CF. Living on campus, Conor can eat in the dining hall or off campus. We asked him to give us a rundown of what he likes to eat on a daily basis in between his busy schedule. These were his top suggestions for high-calorie meals and meals that he can easily add calories to:

Scrambled eggs or omelet with cheese and veggies. Eat with buttered toast or an English muffin
Cheesy tuna melt with cheddar cheese and mayonnaise
Nachos with grilled chicken or chili, sour cream, cheddar cheese, avocado, and/or salsa
Burger with bacon, cheese, and avocado
Contributed by Conor Reid

These are just examples of what a well-balanced diet looks like. It's fun to use your imagination and create your own recipes too, as long as they meet your nutritional needs. You can find more ideas for high-calorie meals and snacks on the LIVE2THRIVE® website. Check out the high-calorie recipe section of LIVE2THRIVE.


You lose a lot of salt in your sweat, especially when you're exercising or in hot weather. You may need to have additional salt in your diet, especially if you sweat a lot. This is even more important if you're exercising or in hot weather. Add extra salt to your meals and eat plenty of salty snacks, such as chips or pretzels.

Patient Introductions, Adults
Diet and Nutrition, Adults

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References: 1. Cystic fibrosis: our focus. Nutrition: A guide for adults with cystic fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis Trust website. https://www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk/life-with-cystic-fibrosis/publications/factsheets. Accessed May 1, 2016. 2. Grab n' go! Meal and snack ideas for people with CF on the run. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website. https://www.cff.org/Living-with-CF/Treatments-and-Therapies/Nutrition/Grab--N-Go-Meal-Ideas/. Accessed May 1, 2016. 3. This eating stuff is hard work. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website. https://www.cff.org/PDF-Archive/This-Eating-Stuff-is-Hard-Work!-Recipe-Book/. Accessed May 1, 2016.
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