High energy and high protein foods

Appetite for Life

High energy and high protein foods

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If you have recently lost weight without trying, you may be encouraged to eat foods high in energy and protein.
Eating foods high in energy and protein can help you to build your strength and help you recover more quickly if you have been unwell.

High protein foods

Try to include at least one food high in protein with every meal. These are:

  • all meats including lamb, beef, fish and chicken
  • eggs
  • nuts, seeds and nut spreads (such as peanut butter)
  • legumes, such as lentils and baked beans
  • milk and dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, custard, cheese and milk powder.

High energy foods

Add any of these foods to your meal or snack for extra energy:

  • cream or sour cream
  • butter or margarine
  • oil or mayonnaise
  • avocado or dips
  • sugar or chocolate

High protein high energy meal and snack ideas

If you have a poor appetite it might be easier for you to eat five or six smaller meals or snacks across the day.

Meat and meat alternative ideas

  • Crumb and fry meats in oil.
  • Add creamy sauce or gravy to meats, chicken and fish.
  • Add lentils and beans to soup and casseroles.
  • Add nuts to desserts and cereals.
  • Add ham and cheese to egg dishes.

Dairy ideas

  • Use full cream dairy products.
  • Add cheese or yoghurt to soups, casseroles, pasta and sauces.
  • Add ice cream, custard or yoghurts to drinks, desserts and fruit.
  • Snack on cheese and crackers.
  • Make milkshakes with ice cream, yoghurt, honey/toppings, fruit and milk powder.
  • Look at the nourishing drinks page for more ideas.

Vegetable ideas

  • Add butter or margarine to cooked vegetables.
  • Add cream to vegetable soups.
  • Add cheese, cheese sauce or gravy to vegetables.
  • Roast vegetables with oil.
  • Add milk powder, cream and butter to mashed potatoes.
  • Top baked potato with baked beans, cheese or savory mince.

Fruit ideas

  • Try fresh, tinned or stewed fruit with yoghurt, custard or ice cream.
  • Have dried fruit as a snack or add to cereal or desserts.
  • Try fruit pies with custard or ice cream.
  • Drink fruit juice.
  • Make fruit smoothies using milk, ice cream or yoghurt.
  • Dip fruit in melted chocolate.

Bread and Cereal ideas

  • Make porridge with full cream milk or cream and add honey or sugar.
  • Add oil, cheese and creamy sauces to pasta and rice.
  • Snack on crumpets or English muffins with butter, margarine or peanut butter.
  • Use butter, peanut butter or avocado on toast and bread

This general advice was accurate at the time of publication (June 2020). For more information about nutrition and your individual needs, see your GP or an Accredited Practising Dietitian.