Spice Up Your Dinner Menu

Warmer temperatures call for an update to your winter-weary dinner routine. In my house, I please even the pickiest eaters by incorporating a few Mexican-themed dishes into the weeknight mix, like my Fun Taco Boats. Everyone, from my husband to my four children, enjoys the "boats" – even my two-year-old with cystic fibrosis (CF)!

As a parent, it can be difficult to find inspiration for meals that will work for everyone in my family. Toddlers with CF need more calories, vitamins and salt than toddlers who do not have CF. Fortunately, with Mexican food there are plenty of ways that you can add a few extra calories and nutrients to your CF child's meals.

Try some of these tips when preparing your next festive meal:

  • Cook with margarine or butter, especially when sautéing vegetables and meat
  • Don't skimp on the cheese – sprinkle extra in tacos and burritos
  • Add avocado – this common Mexican food ingredient is high in calories and healthy fats
  • Incorporate whole grains whenever possible – when the recipe calls for tortillas, use whole grain
  • Spoon sour cream over side dishes like rice and beans
  • Fresh fruit is another side dish option – serve with whole milk yogurt
  • Use margarine, butter or salad dressing for dipping vegetables
  • Serve whole milk at every meal – for extra calories, add cream to the milk

With all the time I spend making sure that my two-year-old with CF is getting the proper nutrition, it's nice to have a simple, easily adaptable meal on hand during the busy weeknights. Mexican food is flexible enough that I can easily change the portion sizes and add or subtract ingredients without having to spend too much time in the kitchen.

Discover if Mexican food will be a hit with your family! Try adding a few of these CF-friendly, family-tested recipes from the CFChef Online Cookbook to your weekly dinnertime rotation:

For even more advice on adapting to the challenge of cooking for family members with various dietary needs, visit the Making a CF Diet Work for Everyone page.

Happy cooking!
Erin B.