Important Facts for Your Toddler with CF

Toddler eating
  • A balanced diet, which includes optimal calories, vitamins and minerals, is key to good nutritional health for your toddler with EPI due to CF. Remember that your toddler with CF needs more calories, vitamins and salt than toddlers who do not have CF
  • Toddlers with EPI due to CF need to take supplemental pancreatic enzymes every time they eat or drink anything that contains fat or protein
  • Enzymes, vitamins and extra calories will help your toddler gain weight, grow and be healthy
  • Toddlers who have CF need extra calories. Ways to add extra calories and nutrients include:
    • Whole milk at every meal. For extra calories add cream to the milk
    • Whole milk dairy products, like cottage cheese, yogurt and puddings. Add cream to cereal
    • Using healthy margarine or butter on hot foods, breads and crackers. Extra cheese in casseroles, on pizza and in sandwiches adds more calories to the meal
    • Use whole grains and add fat such as margarine, butter, or cream cheese. Serve vegetables with margarine, butter, or salad dressing for dipping. Try ripe avocado as a treat. Dip fresh fruit in whole milk yogurt
    • Fat is the best source of calories for your toddler with CF. Each teaspoon of fat has 45 calories while protein and carbohydrates have 20 calories. So adding fats to all foods will increase the calories
    • Calcium is needed for healthy bones. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, a toddler needs about 700 mg of calcium daily, so including milk and other dairy products in your toddler’s diet is very important

Developing Positive Eating Habits in Toddlers with CF

  • Set regular times for meals and snacks, so your toddler knows when to eat and can become familiar with a routine for mealtimes. It is recommended that your toddler eat in the same place for each meal or snack to help develop a feeding routine
  • Limit drinks to meals and snacks. Drinking juice or milk from a sippy cup throughout the day can interfere with his or her appetite during snack or meal times. If your toddler is thirsty between snack and meals, offer water
  • Toddlers can often become antsy and may not want to sit long enough to eat a full meal. By setting a good example and eating with your toddler, you can help them become a better eater
  • When offering your toddler a drink or food, give him or her only healthy choices. For example, offer plain or chocolate milk or toast with cream cheese or butter. By doing this, your toddler can only make a good choice, yet feels he or she has some control over the choice
  • Create a reward system such as a star chart for eating certain foods or for finishing a meal
  • Let your toddler help with meal preparation. He or she can tear lettuce, rinse fruit or help to set the table

*These models are not cystic fibrosis patients.

The CFChef CF Nutrition Guide was developed with input from Registered Dietitian and CF Nutrition Specialist Suzanne Michel, MPH, RD, LDN, based on information and guidelines from the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is not affiliated with, and has not endorsed, the AbbVie CFChef program. The content on is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.