Having Trouble Eating Enough? Use These Calorie-Boosting TipsTips to Meet Your Requirements and Get Results
-- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian
It may sound strange for us to provide tips to boost calories when many members are trying to cut back. But some people have difficulty meeting even the minimum calories in their recommended ranges, whether because of lack of hunger, loss of appetite, or just out of habit of eating too little. Eating within your calorie range is important for your body to work properly. In addition, you need to eat enough calories to meet nutritional needs, maintain a healthy metabolic rate, and stay energized. Eating too little will actually hurt your weight loss efforts. Many people make the mistake of "the less I eat, the more I'll lose," but that's not necessarily true. (Read more about how eating more will help you lose weight.)
The following tips and food suggestions can help. By applying one or two each day, you may find that you are back on track and in-control of a healthy caloric intake.
Tips to Meet Your Calorie Recommendations
- Eat small, frequent meals 5-6 times daily.
- Drink high-calorie, nutritious liquids if you are not hungry for food.
- Limit diet, low calorie, low-fat products.
- Have ready-to-eat snacks available to munch on when you feel hungry. Easy snacks include trail mix, pretzels with dip, nuts, dried fruit, crackers with cheese, frozen yogurt or ice cream, pudding, and fruit smoothies.
- When you drink beverages, make certain they are nutrient-rich. Limit diet drinks, tea and coffee.
- Enjoy Super-Strength Milk for extra calories and protein. Simply mix together 1 quart of milk and 1 cup of instant non-fat dry milk powder. Stir for about 5 minutes or until the dry milk is dissolved. Store this beverage in your refrigerator and use it just as you would regular milk. (Makes 1 quart)
To Increase Calories…
- Mix dry powdered milk to mashed potatoes, ground meats, cream soups, pudding, casseroles, hot cereal, and milk.
- Add an additional egg (or egg white) to casseroles and ground meat before cooking.
- Top vegetables, potatoes, casseroles, soups, sandwiches and salads with cheese.
- Using milk instead of water when preparing hot cereals, cream soups, hot chocolate, and gravy.
- Spread peanut butter on crackers, apples, bananas, pears, and celery.
- Snack on eggs, meat salads, cheese, nuts, nut butters, and cottage cheese.
- Add extra butter, margarine, oil, regular salad dressing, or mayonnaise to foods such as potatoes, vegetables, bread & rolls, hot cereal, salad, pasta, rice, noodles, and sandwiches.
- Top vegetables and meats with sauce, gravy, or cheese.
- Add extra sugar or honey to cereals and beverages.
- Add sour cream, cream cheese or whipped cream to your favorite recipes, potatoes, and bagels.
- Toss nuts and seeds into vegetables, salad, trail mix and cereal.
- Snack on a piece of fruit.
These foods are small in size but big on calories and nutrients. Adding these to your diet can help you boost your caloric intake even when you don't have a big appetite:
- Eggs: deviled, hardboiled
- Nuts: peanut & nut butters on crackers, mixed nuts, trail mix, seeds
- Dairy: yogurt, pudding, custard, frozen yogurt, cheese cubes, string cheese
- Grains: cereal with milk, whole grain bagel with cream cheese, granola bars
- Fruit: Add fruit to your meals and snacks to boost your calories.
These beverages are high in both protein and calories:
- Dairy-based drinks: yogurt smoothies, milkshakes, whole chocolate milk, commercial eggnog
- Drink mixes: hot chocolate, instant breakfast drinks
- Nutritional supplement drinks: Check with your physician to determine if you need a supplement drink to meet your needs.