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, your health professional may tell you to eat foods high in energy and protein.

You may also need to eat high energy and high protein foods if you have a poor appetite or are finding it hard to eat enough.

Eating foods that are high in energy and protein can help you to build your strength, and regain any weight that you have lost.

Foods high in protein

  • All meats, including fish, chicken, lamb and beef. Eggs are also high in protein.
  • Nuts and seeds – including peanut butter.
  • Dairy products like milk, yoghurt, cheese and milk powder.

Foods high in energy

Foods high in energy are often labelled 'sometimes foods' and you may have been told in the past to limit these. However, it is OK to eat them more regularly when trying to gain weight or you have a poor appetite. These include:

  • foods high in fat, like margarine, oil, avocado, cream and butter
  • foods high in sugar, like sweet drinks, biscuits and chocolate.

How to add these foods

If you have a poor appetite then it might be easier for you to eat these in small, regular meals and snacks spread over the day.

Meat ideas
  • Crumb and fry meats in oil.
  • Add a creamy sauce or gravy to meats and vegetables.
  • Try to include meat, eggs or fish at your lunch and evening meals.
Dairy ideas
  • Use full-cream dairy products.
  • Have a milkshake or smoothie (add yoghurt or ice cream or two tablespoons of milk powder).
  • Try cheese and crackers as a snack.
  • Add grated cheese or a cheese sauce to vegetables.
  • Have a milk-based drink such as Milo®, hot chocolate or a milky coffee.
Vegetable ideas
  • Add extra butter or margarine to cooked vegetables.
  • Add cheese, cheesy sauces or gravy to vegetables.
  • Add plenty of cream, butter and margarine to mashed potatoes.
  • Add cream to vegetable-based soups.
Fruit ideas
  • Try fresh, tinned or stewed fruit with yoghurt, custard or ice cream.
  • Drink fruit juice.
  • Have a handful of dried fruit as a handy snack.
Bread and Cereal ideas
  • Make porridge with full cream milk or cream.
  • Add pasta or barley to soups. Have a buttered roll or slice of toast with soup.
  • Use plenty of margarine or butter on bread, or spread with avocado or peanut butter.
  • Snack on a crumpet or English muffin with margarine, butter or peanut butter.

This general advice was accurate at the time of publication (April 2015). For more information about high protein,
high energy foods and your individual needs, see your GP, or an accredited practising dietitian.