Making the most of every bite: main meals

Food and eating are about more than nourishment. The act of preparing and eating a meal brings a sense of normality that is sometimes lost during serious illness or treatment.

If you are caring for someone who has a poor appetite, it can be hard to think of meals that are simple and nourishing. The cookbook Making the Most of Every Bite helps with meal planning and is full of ideas for high-calorie, high-protein meals and snacks.

The nourishing recipes are intended to help avoid or reverse the effects of malnutrition. Many of the meals may be frozen in smaller portions, on hand for when they are needed.

If you are ill, try to reach out to friends and family for help preparing meals or shopping – this helps you and can also help them to feel they are doing something practical to help at this difficult time.

Chicken and broccoli bake
Serves 4.
Preparation: 10 minutes.
Cooking: 20 minutes

- 450g broccoli florets
- 100g mushrooms
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 4 small (400g) chicken breast fillets (skinless, boneless), chopped
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 2 tbsp cream cheese
- 170ml full-fat milk
- 100ml cream
- 100g grated Parmesan cheese
- 150g dried breadcrumbs

- Heat the oil in a pan, add the chicken and onions. Cook until the meat juices run clear and chicken is white throughout.
- Cook the broccoli in boiling water for three minutes.
- Whisk the cream cheese, milk and cream in a bowl, until smooth. Add this sauce and the mushrooms to the chicken. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to simmer for five minutes. Toss in the broccoli.
- Pour the mix into a casserole dish. Turn on the grill to a medium-high heat.
- Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and Parmesan over the casserole and heat under the grill until cheese melts and breadcrumbs are golden brown.
- Serve with creamed potatoes, rice, pasta or crusty bread.

Nutritional value per serving
- Energy: 530 kcal
- Fat: 26.5g
- Carbohydrate: 31.6g
- Protein: 39.7g
- Salt: 1.4g
- Fibre: 2.8g

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. A partnership project between the HSE and UCC, see (Public section) for more

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