High-calorie, high-protein snacks: Making the most of every bite

In this part of our series on Making the Most of Every Bite – a cookbook of high-calorie, high-protein recipes aimed at treating unintentional weight-loss – we look at how snacks can help to increase calories and protein in your diet.

If you have a reduced appetite, try to eat little and often. Aim to eat small meals and snacks every 2-3 hours.

Conditions such as advanced dementia or bowel disease can lead to reduced appetite, unintentional weight loss and malnutrition. Having two-three nourishing snacks between meals each day can help to increase protein and energy in the diet.

A preference for sweet food is often seen in advanced dementia and dessert recipes like chocolate avocado mousse and frozen yogurt are included in the new cookbook.

Finger foods such as slices of banana bread are helpful if using cutlery is difficult for the person. Simple protein-rich snacks containing about 200 calories each include:

– 2 tbsp of cream cheese on two whole-wheat crackers.
– 20g breadsticks with 3 tbsp of hummus.
– Half a small tin of beans (100g) on one slice of toast.
– 150g pot of yogurt (custard style, Greek style, or high-protein yogurt).

Skimmed milk powder is useful for adding extra energy and protein. Use it to fortify milk or add two level teaspoons to milky drinks, sauces or smoothies.

Fortified milk

Use this nourishing milk in drinks and cereals, soups and milk puddings.

1. In a jug, mix a small amount of whole milk (taken from 500ml) with 60g (4 heaped tablespoons) of skimmed milk powder to form a smooth paste.
2. Add remaining milk and stir for at least 20 seconds.
3. Refrigerate and use within 24 hours.

Treacle bread

450g self-raising flour, sieved
3 tbsp black treacle
200ml full fat milk
2 eggs
2 tbsp sugar
1 tsp mixed spice
1 tsp ginger
125g raisins

1. Mix together the flour, sugar, mixed spice, ginger and raisins in a large bowl.
2. Mix the treacle, milk and eggs together and add to the dry ingredients.
3. Place mixture into a greased 2lb loaf tin. Bake for about 40 minutes at 180°C. Test the centre of the loaf with a clean knife, if still too moist, continue cooking for a further 10 minutes.
4. Serve with butter.

Nutritional value per serving
Energy: 314kcal
Fat: 3g
Carbohydrate: 61g
Protein: 8g
Salt: 0.1g
Fibre: 3.2g

Making the Most of Every Bite (Dr A Ryan and colleagues), is a cookbook of high-calorie, high-protein recipes and advice for people who are malnourished – for use under the guidance of a healthcare professional. It is a partnership project between the HSE and UCC. See hse.ie/nutritionsupports.

Making the most of every bite
1 - Main meals
2 - Soup
3 - Snacks
4 - Light meals