For more information, call: 573-331-3000

A-Z Health Topics


Return to Index
by Adams M

High-Calorie, High-Protein Diet

Why Follow a High-Calorie, High-Protein Diet?

A high-calorie, high-protein diet may be recommended if you have recently lost weight, have a poor appetite, or have an increased need for protein, such as with a burn or infection. Eating a high-calorie, high-protein diet can help you:
  • Have more energy
  • Gain weight or stop losing weight
  • Heal
  • Resist infection
  • Recover faster from surgery or illness

High-Calorie, High-Protein Diet Food Guide

Below is a list of foods that are high in calories and protein. Whenever possible, include foods from these lists in your snacks and meals:
High-Calorie Foods High-Protein Foods
  • Cheese, cream cheese
  • Whole milk, heavy cream, whipped cream
  • Sour cream
  • Butter, margarine, oil
  • Ice cream
  • Cake, cookies, chocolate
  • Gravy
  • Salad dressing, mayonnaise
  • Avocado
  • Jam, jelly, syrup
  • Honey, sugar
  • Dried Fruit
  • Cheese, cottage cheese
  • Milk, soy milk, milk powder
  • Eggs
  • Yogurt
  • Nuts, seeds
  • Peanut butter
  • Tofu and other soy products
  • Beans, peas, lentils
  • Beef, poultry, pork, and other meats
  • Fish and other seafood

Snack Suggestions

Snack Directions Calories
Fruit smoothie
Blend 8 ounces whole milk vanilla yogurt + ½ cup orange juice + 1 cup frozen berries
360
Egg and cheese English muffin
1 whole wheat English muffin + 2 teaspoons margarine spread or butter + 1 ounce cheese + 1 egg
365
Peanut butter and banana sandwich
2 slices of bread + 2 tablespoons peanut butter + 1 sliced banana
400
Trail Mix
½ cup nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
350
Cereal, milk, and banana
1 cup presweetened wheat cereal + 8 ounces whole milk + 1 banana
360
Yogurt and granola
1 cup whole milk flavored yogurt + ½ cup low-fat granola
440

Ten Tips for Increasing Calorie and Protein Intake

  • Eat small, frequent meals and snacks throughout the day.
  • Keep prepared, ready-to-eat snacks on hand while at home, at the office, and on the road.
  • Drink your calories. Choose high-calorie fluids, such as milk, blended coffee drinks, milk shakes, or juice.
  • Add protein powder or powdered milk to your beverages, smoothies, and foods, such as cream soups, scrambled eggs, gravy, and mashed potatoes.
  • Melt cheese onto sandwiches, bread, tortillas, eggs, meat, and vegetables.
  • Use milk in place of water when cooking and when preparing foods, such as hot cereal, cocoa, or pudding.
  • Load salads with hardboiled eggs, avocado, nuts, cheese, and dressing.
  • Use peanut butter or creamy salad dressings as a dip for raw veggies.
  • Try commercial supplements, such as Boost, Ensure, Resource, or Carnation Instant Breakfast.
  • Talk to a registered dietitian. They can help you develop an individualized eating plan.

RESOURCES

Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
http://www.eatright.org
US Department of Agriculture
http://www.nutrition.gov

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Dietitians of Canada
http://www.dietitians.ca
Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

References

High calorie, high protein diet. The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. Available at: https://patienteducation.osumc.edu/Documents/hig-cal.pdf. Updated August 5, 2014. Accessed August 6, 2015.
ILD nutrition manual: Sample menu: High-calorie, high-protein meals. UCSF Medical Center website. Available at: http://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/ild%5Fnutrition%5Fmanual/sample%5Fmenu%5Fhigh-calorie%5Fand%5Fhigh-protein%5Fmeals. Accessed August 6, 2015.
Shield J, Mullen MC. Patient education materials. Supplement to the Manual of Clinical Dietetics. 3rd ed. Chicago, IL: American Dietetic Association; 2001.

Revision Information