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Adding calories to a soft diet

Information about how to add calories to a soft diet.

If you need a soft diet you might sometimes find it hard to eat all the protein and calories that you 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

How to increase your calorie intake and improve your energy levels.

  • 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.
  • Porridge is a very nutritious breakfast - make it with whole or fortified milk, and add syrup or sugar and cream.
  • Mash vegetables with milk and add some grated cheese and egg.
  • 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 coffee, hot chocolate or Horlicks with full fat milk and enrich with a spoonful of cream. And dunk your favourite biscuits!
  • Make milkshakes with build up drinks, ice cream, yoghurt and fresh fruit - banana with chocolate Build Up is delicious!

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 dietitian may suggest that you try liquid supplements to boost your diet.

Last reviewed: 
03 Jan 2017
  • Symptom management in advanced cancer (4th edition)
    Twycross R, Wilcock A and Toller S
    Radcliffe Medical Press Ltd, 2009

  • Nutrition and Cancer
    Edited by Clare Shaw
    Wiley-Blackwell, 2011

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