New cookbook for families with sickle cell disease

Many of us are usually trying find recipes that cut calories, but famlies with sickle cell diseases need more calories to stay healthy.

Now these famlies have a new resource that can help -  the sickle cell team at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children led by dietitian Michell Fullmer recently developed a unique cookbook that offers appealing and healthy calorie-dense meals and snacks such as loaded oatmeal, smoothies, frittatas, and chili. The free cookbook is available online here.

Kids and teens with sickle cell disease break down red blood cells faster than other children do, their bodies use more energy and need more calories to maintain health, avoid complications, and keep pace with their peers. High calorie foods and extra snacks can be very helpful.

Sickle cell disease are are a group of inherited red blood cell disorders. Healthy red blood cells are round, and they move through small blood vessels to carry oxygen to all parts of the body. In someone who has SCD, the red blood cells become hard and sticky and look like a C-shaped farm tool called a “sickle”. The sickle cells die early, which causes a constant shortage of red blood cells, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sickle cell disease affects millions of people throughout the world and is particularly common among those whose ancestors came from sub-Saharan Africa; Spanish-speaking regions in the Western Hemisphere (South America, the Caribbean, and Central America); Saudi Arabia; India; and Mediterranean countries such as Turkey, Greece, and Italy. The CDC estimates that about 90,000 to 100,000 Americans are affected by the disease. It occurs among about 1 out of every 500 Black or African-American births.

“What we’ve done is add calories that offer strong nutritional value and taste really good,” said Fullmer in a written statement. “They’re not empty calories or foods that kids wouldn’t want to eat. We also made sure the recipes were a snap to prepare so the kids could help in the kitchen.”

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