Making the most of every bite: light meals

A series on high-calorie recipes to help stop weight loss in people suffering from illnesses

Creamy salmon sandwiches are packed full of calories and protein

Creamy salmon sandwiches are packed full of calories and protein


As part of our series on Making the Most of Every Bite, we look at the role of light meals in managing malnutrition.

Appetite sometimes decreases with age, as well as with illness, and it is important to discuss unintentional weight loss with your doctor or nurse. Making the most of your appetite when you are hungry is vital.

A free cookbook from the HSE, Making the Most of Every Bite, contains 100 high-calorie, high-protein recipes that are quick and easy to prepare, and can help prevent further weight loss. The recipes also contain important nutrients to help avoid or reverse malnutrition.

Some people have swallowing difficulties due to illness or disease and may need a liquidised diet or soft meal options. If this is the case for you or your loved one, talk to your speech and language therapist about which of the 60 easy-to-swallow recipes in the book are suitable for your particular needs. Ideas include light meals, main meals, snacks, desserts, and smoothies.

For anyone who is experiencing unintentional weight loss, eating three small meals each day along with two to three snacks can help to maintain muscle mass. This brings much-needed strength at a time when the body is weakened by illness or aging.

Light meals like salads, egg-based recipes and sandwiches with high-protein fillings are perfect if you are too tired to cook or are cooking for one. Ideas in the book include:

– a simple chicken and rice supper
– a basic omelette recipe made with an extra egg yolk and double cream for added protein and energy, and suggestions for tasty filling ideas
– tinned fish used to make cheesy melts and creamy sandwiches

Creamy salmon sandwich

1 small tin of pink or red salmon, drained (110g)
2 tbsp of full-fat cream cheese (30g)
Juice and zest of ½ lemon
1 tsp of chives (or preferred herb)
2 slices of buttered bread

1. Mash the salmon, cream cheese, lemon and herbs together with a fork.
2. Serve as an open sandwich on buttered brown bread.

Nutritional value per serving
Energy: 617kcal
Fat: 40.6g
Carbohydrate: 32.3g
Protein: 30g
Salt: 2.5g
Fibre: 2g

– Making the Most of Every Bite (Dr A Ryan & 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. A partnership project between the HSE and UCC, see for more.

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