Having Trouble Eating Enough? Use These Calorie-Boosting Tips

It may sound strange for us to provide tips to boost calories, 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.

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 five to six 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 one quart of milk and 1 cup of instant non-fat dry milk powder. Stir for about five minutes or until the dry milk is dissolved. Store this beverage in your refrigerator and use it just as you would regular milk.

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 and 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.

Good Things Come in Small Packages

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 and 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.

Drink Up

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.
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Member Comments

Good article. Report
I add a splash of lemon juice or lime juice to my water Report
Disappoint in the fact that SP encourages us to eat more calories to maintain 1200 calories/day minimum, but all the suggestions in their articles add major carbohydrates or fat to our nutrients. I need to increase calories, but maintain carbs to 45 grams/meal, but can't find much help on SP on how to do that & not add fat, which is already close or over limit. Report
Great advice and tips! Thank you for sharing this. Report
✔️ Report
thanks Report
Great Advice! Thanks for sharing!!!!! Report
Thanks Report
Thanks for a great article. I have yet to meet my calories after a month of trying. I didn't know that for years my normal diet rangef between 500 - 800 calories a day. You'd think I'd be thin but I've actually gained to the point I joined SparkPeople. Here I'm watching calories for the first time. I'm trying to reach at least 1500 but haven't done it yet. I will, tho! Thanks, again! Report
This is when more is better, SparkFriends. Who doesn't want more?!?!?! Report
My Dr. told me to lose more weight, even tho I only weigh 155, to ward off diabetics. I find it hard to lose weight even staying within the range of 1200 a day like she asked me to do. Report
Thanks for the great article! :) Report

About The Author

Becky Hand
Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.