Tips for Increasing Calories and Protein

Autor: OncoLink Team
Contribuidor de contenido: Tracey Birnhak Nutritional Counseling Services
Fecha de la última revisión: 16 de marzo de 2020

It can be hard to meet your nutrient needs when receiving cancer treatment. Smaller meals and snacks are often easier to get in. These tips may help you get the most out of these “meals.”

  • Space out your meals throughout the day (every 2-3 hours) rather than three larger meals. This can make it easier to eat and digest. 
  • If you have heartburn/reflux, avoid eating 2-3 hours before you go to bed and sleep with your head elevated.
  • Eat what you like when you like it! Eat when you feel hungry, not because the clock tells you “its lunchtime.” 
  • Many folks have a better appetite in the morning since they haven’t eaten all night. If that’s you, try to get in more calories at this meal.
  • Breakfast foods are great at any time of day. Eggs are a great protein source.
  • Homemade or purchased nutrition bars, puddings, and liquid nutritional supplements can also help you meet your daily caloric needs.
  • Light physical activity helps maintain muscle and stimulates your appetite. Take a walk to the mailbox, around the neighborhood or at the mall to get out and get moving.
  • Fluids take up valuable space in the stomach; so, drink them between meals rather than with them. 

What should I eat? 

Ways to Increase Protein in Food

Milk/Dairy products

  • Add cheese to potatoes, vegetables, soups, noodles, meat, and fruits.
  • Try milk instead of water in oatmeal/cream soups. Try cream sauces over vegetables and pasta.
  • Add powdered milk to cream soup and mashed potatoes.

Eggs

  • Hard-boiled eggs are a great grab and go snack. Keep them ready in the refrigerator.
  • Have an egg salad sandwich for a meal or snack.
  • Be sure your eggs are fully cooked to avoid harmful bacteria.

Meats, poultry, fish

  • Use leftover meat to add protein to soups, casseroles, omelets, and salads.
  • Add sour cream and spices to shredded meats for a quick high protein dip.

Beans, legumes, nuts, and seeds

  • Seeds can add texture, taste, and protein to fruit, ice cream, pudding, and custard.
  • Seeds are also great on vegetables, salads, and pasta.
  • Nut butters on toast, fruits or in smoothies also pack a protein punch.
  • Add beans and peas to salads, soup, and vegetables.

 Ways to Add Calories to Food

Butter and Margarine

  • Melt over potatoes, pasta, rice, and vegetables.
  • Add to soups and casseroles
  • Spread on bread with nut butters

Milk/Dairy

  • Add whipped cream to desserts, waffles, pancakes, fruit, and hot cocoa.
  • Try sour cream on baked potatoes and vegetables.

Salad Dressing/Condiments

  • Use regular mayonnaise or salad dressings. 
  • Skip the low fat, reduced-calorie or diet condiments.

Sweets

  • Jellies, jams, and honey are a great way to add flavor and calories to bread, crackers, fruit, ice cream and cake.
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