Adding calories to a soft diet | Cancer Research UK
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Adding calories to a soft diet

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This page tells you about how to add calories to a soft diet. There is information on


Adding energy to a soft diet

People who need a soft diet sometimes find it hard to eat all the protein and calories that they need. A soft diet means you often have to add water to food to soften it. This adds bulk and reduces the nutritional value and flavour of the food. But there are ways of increasing calories in a soft diet.


Tips for boosting energy

  • Mash vegetables with milk and add some grated cheese and egg
  • Porridge is a very nutritious breakfast - make it with whole or fortified milk, and add syrup or sugar and cream
  • Make up instant soups with milk instead of water, and top with grated cheese or cream
  • Add minced meat, lentils, beans, noodles or pasta shapes to soups
  • Add cheese and a little cream to an omelette
  • Dip cooked, soft vegetables in dips such as hummus or sour cream
  • Make instant coffee, hot chocolate or Horlicks with full fat milk and enrich with a spoonful of cream
  • Make milkshakes with build up drinks, ice cream, yoghurt and fresh fruit - banana with chocolate Build Up is delicious!
  • Dunk your favourite biscuits into tea and coffee
  • Use whole milk and not skimmed or semi-skimmed
  • Boost the protein content of whole milk by adding a couple of tablespoons of dried milk powder to a pint. Use this exactly as ordinary milk for drinking and cooking

Getting dietary advice

Everyone is different and one person may be able to eat certain foods that cause problems for another. Some people may not be able to manage high fibre foods such as vegetables and grains. People vary in the type of textures of different foods they like. As everyone is different, you may need some personalised advice from a professional dietician. 

Ask your doctor or nurse to refer you to a dietician at your local hospital. Your dietician may suggest that you try liquid supplements to boost your diet.


For more information

Find out about

Soft diet information

Liquid supplements

For general information and support

Contact the Cancer Research UK nurses on freephone 0808 800 4040 (Open 9am - 5pm, Monday to Friday)

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Updated: 25 February 2014