• 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
    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
    Trail Mix
    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

    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 (eg, Boost, Ensure, Resource, Carnation Instant Breakfast).
    • Talk to a registered dietitian. He can help you develop an individualized eating plan.


    American Dietetic Association http://www.eatright.org/

    Nutrition.gov http://www.nutrition.org/


    Canada's Food Guide http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/

    Dietitians of Canada http://www.dietitians.ca/


    High-calorie, high-protein diet. Dietitians of Canada website. Available at: http://www.dieteticsatwork.com/client%5Feducation/sample%5Fhigh%5Fcalorie%5Fhigh%5Fprotein%5Fdiet%5Ffinal.pdf . Accessed February 15, 2006.

    High-calorie/high-protein diet. Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford website. Available at: http://www.lpch.org/DiseaseHealthInfo/HealthLibrary/oncology/hchpd.html . Accessed February 15, 2006.

    My Food-A-Pedia. MyPyramid.gov website. Available at: http://www.myfoodapedia.gov/Default.aspx . Accessed January 3, 2010.

    Nutrition care manual. American Dietetic Association website. Available at: http://nutritioncaremanual.org/auth.cfm?p=%2Findex.cfm%3F . 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: http://patienteducation.upmc.com/Pdf/IncreasingProtein.pdf . Accessed February 15. 2006.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.