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Being a teen with CF is not always easy. School, friends, after-school activities, and the medical needs of CF keep you busy. It may feel like there isn't time for much else. To keep up with it all, you need to take care of yourself, or your busy schedule could leave you feeling tired and run down. No matter how hectic your schedule is, make time for snacks, meals, and pancreatic enzymes. Get a routine going and stick with it. This will help keep you on track and benefit your future health.1,2

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Teens with CF need between 3,000 and 5,000 calories a day—30% to 50% more than teens without CF.

As a teen, your body needs all the nutrients it can get. You will see a lot of growth and physical changes during this time. Good nutrition and exercise are important for keeping your lungs strong and helping your body fight infection. It's important to know what you're putting into your body. Eating a balanced, high-calorie diet with plenty of fats and proteins is best for teens with CF.

Help give your body energy. Make sure you get enough of these nutrients every day:

Protein: Generally, foods high in protein are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fat. About 600 to 1,000 of your calories should come from sources of protein. Foods rich in protein:

  • Meat or meat products
  • Milk or milk products
  • Fish and seafood
  • Soy products
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Nuts

Iron: Your body needs more iron during puberty when your muscle and blood volume increases. Foods rich in iron:

  • Meats
  • Fish and seafood
  • Spinach
  • Beans
  • Oatmeal
  • Raisins

Calcium: Your bones need calcium so they can grow strong. Less vitamin D may be absorbed when you have CF, so this means less calcium is absorbed. You may need 1,300 milligrams of calcium a day. Milk and milk products have a lot of calcium and vitamin D.

Zinc: Foods high in zinc help immune function, healing, and promote growth. Foods rich in zinc:

  • Meats
  • Fish and seafood
  • Beans
  • Nuts
  • Seeds

Salt: You lose high levels 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.

In addition, be sure to work foods into your diet that contain vitamins A, D, E, and K. Refer to this chart for a list of foods that are rich in these vitamins.

References: 1. Nutrition: for teens with cystic fibrosis. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation website. https://www.cff.org/PDF-Archive/Nutrition-for-Teens/. Accessed May 1, 2016. 2. Cystic fibrosis: diet and nutrition. Kidshealth website. http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/cf-diet.html. Accessed May 1, 2016.

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