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
or infection. Eating a high-calorie, high-protein diet can help you:
- Have more energy
- Gain weight or stop losing weight
- Resist infection
- Recover faster from surgery or illness
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
- Salad dressing, mayonnaise
- Jam, jelly, syrup
- Honey, sugar
- Dried Fruit
- Cheese, cottage cheese
- Milk, soy milk, milk powder
- Nuts, seeds
- Peanut butter
- Tofu and other soy products
- Beans, peas, lentils
- Beef, poultry, pork, and other meats
- Fish and other seafood
Blend 8 ounces whole milk vanilla yogurt + ½ cup orange juice + 1 cup frozen berries
Egg and cheese English muffin
1 whole wheat English muffin + 2 teaspoons margarine spread or butter + 1 ounce cheese + 1 egg
Peanut butter and banana sandwich
2 slices of bread + 2 tablespoons peanut butter + 1 sliced banana
½ cup nuts, seeds, and dried fruit
Cereal, milk, and banana
1 cup presweetened wheat cereal + 8 ounces whole milk + 1 banana
Yogurt and granola
1 cup whole milk flavored yogurt + ½ cup low-fat granola
- 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 (eg, Boost, Ensure, Resource, Carnation Instant Breakfast).
- Talk to a registered dietitian. They can help you develop an individualized eating plan.
High-calorie, high-protein diet. Dietitians of Canada website. Available at:
. Accessed February 15, 2006.
High-calorie/high-protein diet. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford website. Available at:
. Accessed February 15, 2006.
My Food-A-Pedia. MyPyramid.gov website. Available at:
. Accessed January 3, 2010.
Nutrition care manual. American Dietetic Association website. Available at:
. Accessed January 3, 2009.
Shield J, Mullen MC.
Patient education materials.
Supplement to the Manual of Clinical Dietetics.
3rd ed. Chicago, IL: American Dietetic Association; 2001.
Tips for increasing protein in your diet. UPMC Health System website. Available at:
. Accessed February 15. 2006.
Last reviewed September 2013 by Dianne Scheinberg Rishikof MS, RD, LDN
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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