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Some illnesses or treatments can lower your appetite or increase how many calories and how much protein you need. But it can be hard to get enough calories and protein when you’re not feeling well.
Use the tips in this handout if you need more protein and calories and your appetite or energy is low. The tips can also help if you are losing weight without meaning to. Even a small amount more of calories and protein every day can help you to maintain or gain weight and strength.
It’s important to eat foods that taste good to you. And there are many ways to add extra calories and protein to foods that you already enjoy. For a full list of foods and tips, download: Adding calories and protein to your diet (PDF) .
A nutrition supplement helps when you can’t meet your nutrient needs through food alone. Choose high-calorie and high-protein versions.
Milk and dairy alternatives
Meat and plant-based protein foods (like beans, lentils, and nuts)
Condiments, fats, and oils
Desserts, sweets, and sugars
For a full list of higher calorie and protein foods and drinks, download: Adding calories and protein to your diet (PDF).
To see this information online and learn more, visit MyHealth.Alberta.ca/health/aftercareinformation/pages/conditions.aspx?hwid=custom.ab_diet_protein_calories_tips_adult.
For 24/7 nurse advice and general health information call Health Link at 811.
Current as of: August 18, 2023
Author: Clinical Diabetes, Obesity, and Nutrition SCN, Alberta Health Services
This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an "as is", "where is" basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use.