Healthy Ways to Increase Calories and Protein

If you have been instructed to increase the number of calories and the amount of protein in your diet, here are some tips that will help.

  • Add extra olive or canola oil when cooking lean meats, vegetables, stir-fry or soups.
  • Have 1/4 to 1/2 cup of nuts everyday.
  • Use natural peanut butter, the kind where the oil sits on the top, on sandwiches, with fruit or on crackers.
  • Add olives to pasta, pizza and salad, or just eat them plain.
  • Top hummus on pita bread or crackers.
  • Add guacamole to your Mexican food or sandwich.
  • Add avocado slices to your sandwich or salad.
  • Use olive oil-based vinaigrette dressings on salads, vegetables and pasta.
  • Dip bread in olive oil and vinegar.
  • Eat fatty fish, such as salmon, two to three times a week.
  • Sprinkle nuts or seeds into yogurt, cereal, oatmeal and stir fry.
  • Use nuts in muffin and bread recipes.
  • Add nonfat powdered milk to mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and casseroles.
  • Try other nut butters instead of natural peanut butter.
  • Add low-fat cheddar cheese to vegetarian chili.
  • Make nachos with baked tortillas chips, whole beans or fat-free refried beans, low-fat cheese, olives, guacamole and salsa.
  • Make an egg white omelet using olive oil, lots of veggies and low-fat cheese.
  • Blend a fruit smoothie of 1/2 banana, frozen berries, nonfat milk and 1 tablespoon nonfat powdered milk.
  • Make trail mix with whole wheat cereal, nuts, raisins and other dried fruit.
  • Use nonfat milk instead of water to make oatmeal or cream of wheat.
  • Add nonfat powdered milk to a glass of regular nonfat milk.
  • Carry snacks with you at all times so that you are prepared to eat every three to four hours.
  • Sprinkle any kind of nuts on ice cream.
  • Toss pasta with olive or canola oil before adding sauces.
  • Use trans-fat free margarines.
  • Drizzle olive oil onto freshly popped popcorn.
  • Limit low-calorie beverages, such as diet drinks, and replace with milk, smoothies or juice.


Reviewed by health care specialists at UCSF Medical Center.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or health care provider. We encourage you to discuss with your doctor any questions or concerns you may have.