Ways to Maintain Weight (High Calorie Diet)


Ways to Maintain Weight (High Calorie Diet)


A calorie is a unit of measure used for food energy. To maintain your weight you must take in enough calories to meet your body’s energy needs.  If your doctor and/or Registered Dietitian have advised you to maintain your weight, but you are struggling to do this, you may benefit from creative ways to increase the calories you consume each day.  Here are some suggestions:


  • Do not skip meals.
  • Add snacks between your meals and at bedtime.
  • Keep foods & snacks that are easy to access around the house or on the go.
  • Set an alarm on your stove or phone for every 2 – 3 hrs as a reminder to eat
  • Plan meals around your energy level. If you are most energetic in the morning, make breakfast as your biggest meal.
  • Consider cooking extra batches of favorite foods on weekends.
  • Try liquid supplements or make your own high-calorie shakes.


Note:  We do not recommend specific brands or sources.  Examples are listed below. 


Beverage Ideas – Drinking extra calories can sometimes be easier than eating. 

  • Use high calorie drinks instead of water. Drink fruit juices (apple, orange, cranberry or others), apple cider, sports drinks, fruit punch, lemonade, Kool-Aid®, chocolate milk.
  • If you have medications to take, take them with beverages that have calories in them such as milk, juice, or sweet tea (unless directed otherwise).
  • If you like milk, drink whole milk instead of low fat or skim.
  • Supplements such as Ensure®, Boost®, Carnation® Instant Breakfast™, or others.  The regular versions generally contain 250 calories per serving. The “Plus” versions of these products contain about 100 more calories per serving.  Adding ice cream will boost the calories more. Most stores also carry their own brand, which can save you money!
  • Add ice cream, Instant Breakfast, protein powder, dry milk powder, or other flavored powders or syrups to whole milk or nutrition supplements. 

Ways to Add Calories to Every Bite

Change to full fat dairy.

  • For drinking and preparing cream soups,   custards, puddings, and milkshakes, use whole milk or evaporated milk instead   of low-fat or non-fat milk. Half and half can also be used, but won’t pack as   much protein. 
  • Use whole milk yogurt or kefir instead of the   low- or non-fat kind. Flavored or fruited varieties have even more calories.
  • Use whole milk/full fat versions of cottage   cheese and sour cream.

Use butter often.

  • On vegetables, rice, potatoes, noodles, and   breads. Noodles and rice are good fried.
  • In hot cereals
  • On sandwiches and crackers
  • Cook meats, fish, poultry, or eggs in oil or   butter.

Fortify your breakfast.

  • Use lots of butter, maple syrup, honey, and   nut butters (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.) on toast, hot cereals, pancakes,   waffles, and French toast.
  •  Prepare hot cereals with whole milk or   cream. Mix in coconut oil or coconut cream for extra flavor and calories.
  • Add nuts (especially good when toasted) and   dried fruits to hot cereals and muffins.
  • Add cream or half and half and cheese to   scrambled eggs and cook with butter.

Dress up your bread.

  • Add jam, jellies, Nutella®, and   honey to bread, toast, or rolls.
  • Use mayonnaise whenever possible – put it on   both sides of your bread for sandwiches.    Whole fat cream cheese makes a great mayonnaise substitute also.
  • Use liberal amounts of peanut butter, whole   milk cheeses, cottage cheese, or cream cheese. Add them to breads, bagels, or   rolls.
  • Avocado is a great addition to any sandwich.

Add protein to everything.

  • Add hard cooked eggs to vegetables and   casseroles.
  • Nuts and sunflower seeds provide calories and protein; eat as a snack   or add them to salads, cookies, muffins, hot cereal, yogurt or ice cream.
  • Fortify milk by adding dry milk powder: 1 cup   powder to each quart of milk.  This can   be used to make soups, gravy, cereals, shakes, etc

Garnish with gusto.

  • Enhance meats, pasta, and vegetables with   gravies (especially if protein-fortified), cream sauces (example: alfredo) or   cheese sauces.
  • Add avocados to sandwiches, tacos, and   salads, or smash them to make guacamole. They are also good on their own as a   high calorie snack or side.
  • Add shredded or grated cheese, cream cheese   or sour cream to your favorite foods
  • Dried fruits like raisins, dates, cherries,   apricots, and pineapples are delicious alone or added to salads, cookies,   muffins, and hot cereal. Use with nuts and chocolate chips to make trail mix.

Don’t skip dessert.

  • Make custards and puddings with eggs or egg   substitute.
  • For ice cream, add chocolate or caramel   sauce, cookie pieces, candy, or chopped nuts, or sprinkle Ovaltine on top.