CF Kids' Summer Party Favorites

As a child with cystic fibrosis (CF), I couldn't wait to have fun outside with my friends at BBQs and pool parties once school was out for the summer. However, while I looked forward to chowing down poolside, my parents always made sure that I was eating healthy snacks. Since I've always been more of a grazer than a full-meal eater, I've carried some of these tips into my adulthood. Here are some of my own tips for making a CF diet work for everyone and keeping all the kids happy at summer parties:

Bring on the fruits and veggies

Eating fruits and vegetables should be a staple in everyone's diet. However, when you have CF, getting enough vitamins and nutrients is even more important. Dipping fruit in whipped cream or covering celery with peanut butter always hits the spot. Your kids won't even realize they're eating something healthy!

Leave the junk food at the door

While kids with CF need to ingest more calories than those without CF, it does not mean that they should just eat junk food. Perhaps serve hummus and pita bread, air-popped popcorn, dried fruits or a trail mix full of nuts and even some chocolate. These snacks will satisfy even the pickiest of eaters while providing extra protein, fiber and other essential vitamins. Learn more about eating with CF here.

Adapt recipes for kids with CF

While making two versions of the same recipe can require more preparation time, it lends itself to yielding leftovers for your family later in the week. It's a good idea to keep non-fat and full-fat milks as well as yogurts, dressings and cheeses in the fridge to accommodate everyone's diet. Using syrup and peanut butter as dipping sauces provide extra calories for patients with CF and can encourage kids to eat foods they may not automatically reach for. One of my favorite snacks is my savory Meat Roll-ups. My secret weapon is using peanut butter as the binding agent, which adds extra protein and healthy fat to this delicious snack. They are a fun, yet healthy, finger food that my entire family enjoys – even those without CF!

Following these three simple tips will help keep your friends and family, both with and without CF, happy and healthy at the pool all summer long.

Stay cool and snack well!
Danielle M.