What is the importance of calories in nutrition?
Maintaining a healthy calorie intake is crucial for overall well-being, but what if you or someone you know has a low appetite and needs to build up their calorie intake? One effective strategy is to add calories to their favourite foods. By making some simple adjustments, you can increase the calorie content of meals and snacks, making them more appealing and easier to consume. In this blog post, we’ll explore how adding calories to favourite foods can help individuals with a low appetite and provide some practical tips to achieve this.
Adding calories and nutrients to favourite foods.
If you have someone who needs ‘building up’ there are some great and really simple tricks.
Full-fat milk, yoghurts and double cream.
Older people should change their milk from skimmed or semi-skimmed milk straight away to FULL FAT!
All full-fat dairy products contain more fat-soluble vitamins than lower-fat alternatives. These include vitamins A, B6, B12, D, E and K. All these vitamins are absorbed better when consumed with fat rather than as a supplement with water or in lower-fat foods. Yoghurts (fermented dairy) are a particularly good source of vitamin K. Full-fat dairy products are also high in calcium, protein, iodine, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus and zinc.
You can simply change lower-fat milk and yoghurts to full-fat ones in your weekly shopping. You can also add cream to:
Add double cream when making puddings such as rice pudding, cheesecakes, ice cream and mousses and add a dollop on top too. You can also add double cream to anything from fruit salad to spotted dick!
Cheese has all the lovely health benefits of full-fat milk plus you can also add it to so many savoury things:
Mix in with mash
Top all tray bakes, pasta dishes and casseroles with some melted cheddar or stilton
Cheese straws are the easiest thing to bake (readymade pastry and grated cheese!!)
Cheese in soups can be delicious
Sprinkle it on vegetables
And if you are feeling a bit ‘Mary Berry’….bake scones or muffins with it.
Dried skimmed milk
Now I know I said ‘Full Fat is King’ but dried skimmed milk powder (Marvel to you and me) is a great way of adding protein and more vitamins and nutrients to food.
You can fortify milk with it by mixing in the powder. You can add it to anything where you would add milk and cheese. Adding some to ready-made yoghurts or puddings will give them more oomph.
West Suffolk NHS trust has a whole list of delicious smoothies and recipes using skimmed milk powder: https://www.wsh.nhs.uk/CMS-Documents/Services/Dietetics/Recipes-to-enhance-nutrition.pdf
Avocados were classed as a Super Food when we were allowed to use that term. They are hugely nutrition dense containing a long list of nutrients, micronutrients and vitamins as well as fibre and good monosaturated fat. Lots of healthy calories!
Avocados in salads, on toast, with eggs and on their own with a French dressing are all amazing and quick and easy to make.
You can even make the most delicious chocolate pudding with them…..recipe to download at the end of the article.
Eggs are amazing!
Although right now there is an issue with egg shortages they are an invaluable tool in feeding the elderly. They are reasonably cheap, quick to cook and n easily digestible source of high-quality protein, omega 3 and vitamin D. They also are one of the few sources of Choline for brain cell renewal.
Eggs are no longer restricted and there is evidence that they do not dangerously increase cholesterol.
The British Heart Foundation says:
“There is now no recommended limit on how many eggs people should eat, as long as you eat a varied diet”.
So scrambled eggs and avocado make a perfect breakfast, lunch or supper! Use whole milk and milk powder (double cream if you like) and maybe a bit of grated cheese to add calories.
Egg ‘wraps’ are wonderful. Whisk an egg, fry it (turning the pan to make it thin) like a fried egg and let it cool a little. Now put in some ham, cheese, avocado, tuna…..anything you like, and wrap the egg wrap around it. Much more nutritious than a wheat wrap or slice of bread!
Naturally, an omelette is awesome. Add milk/cream or cheese to increase the calorific content, a bit of healthy veg and meat if you want and “voila” you have a perfectly nutritional meal that’s not too filling or daunting but high in calories.
Roll out bread
I shall explain …… in a sandwich there is usually more bread than filling ….. making it ‘quite a mouthful’. If you roll the slice of bread first with a rolling pin you achieve a bigger filling-to-bread ratio. Making it more appealing, easier to eat and healthier. Win-win!
Oh, and you can download the recipe for AVOCADO CHOCOLATE MOUSSE here
If this doesn’t quite hit the mark (or your avocados are particularly flavoursome) you can whisk in cherries or other soft fruit (frozen are best) and/or add some almond extract.
Nuts, nut butter, dried fruit, oats and oils such as olive or walnut are amazingly nutrition-dense snacks and additions to recipes. You will also find these in all Grandbar Snacks.
These are just some of the ways you can boost someone’s calories and nutrients simply and cheaply.
Every mouthful matters when appetites are low. We want to keep our loved ones stronger for longer so adding a few nutrients to their favourite meals and being a little creative makes a big difference. Incorporating healthy fats, nutrient-dense ingredients, and energy-dense snacks can help increase calorie content without compromising nutritional value.
Remember, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian who can provide personalised advice based on individual needs, dietary restrictions, and health conditions. With these strategies, you can work towards achieving a well-balanced diet that supports overall health and well-being.