All people need calories and protein to fuel their bodies for everyday life. Calories provide energy to keep the body functioning. Protein is used to build, maintain and repair body tissues. It is also very important to make sure you are eating a balanced diet to prevent any vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies; these are needed to help build and maintain new tissues.

When someone has a wound and/or an infection they will need extra protein, calories and nutrients. Below are some helpful tips on ways to increase calories, protein, vitamins and minerals in your diet to meet your increased needs.

What should I eat?

GrainsChoose whole grains for higher protein content.

5 servings daily

For example: 1 slice bread, 1/2 cup cooked cereal, 1/2 cup rice or pasta, 3/4 cup dry cereal

VegetablesAdd to fruit smoothies for an extra boost without a bitter taste.

2 servings daily

For example: 1 cup raw vege- tables, 2 cups raw leafy green vegetables, 1/2 cup cooked

FruitUse as toppings for cooked cereals, yogurt, and ice cream. Choose fruit for dessert.

3 servings daily

For example: 1/4 cup dried fruit, 1 piece whole fresh fruit, 1 cup melon, berries, grapes, 1/2 cup canned fruit or 100% fruit juice

ProteinEat the protein portion of your meals first in case you become too full.

5-8 servings daily

For example: 1 oz. meat, fish, or poultry, 1/4 cup cooked beans, 1 egg, 1 Tbsp. peanut butter, 1/2 oz nuts, 2 oz. firm tofu

DairySubstitute milk for water in recipes; add powdered milk or yogurt to shakes, smoothies, and cooked cereals. Top soups with cheese or Greek yogurt.

3 servings daily

For example: 1 cup milk or yogurt, 1.5-2.0 oz. cheese (dairy or soy)

Check your weight twice weekly. If your weight is stable you are eating enough calories. If your weight decreases each time, you need to add more calories.

To increase calories, add snacks, calorie-containing beverages, or high-calorie condiments to foods such as butter, cream, cream cheese, olive oil, nut butters, nuts, seeds, hummus, syrup, sugar, jam, and/or jelly.

If you are unable to meet your needs through your diet alone try the following:

  • Oral nutrition supplements: Many varieties are available that provide extra calories, protein, vitamins and minerals in both flavored and unflavored options. Try several to find one you enjoy as a base for shakes and smoothies.
  • Take a daily vitamin with minerals if you are unable to eat the standard suggested minimum servings as listed on the first page. Always check with your doctor before taking a new vitamin.
  • Make an appointment with a registered dietitian if your appetite remains poor, your wound is not healing well, or you are losing weight.


Fortified Yogurt ParfaitCaloriesProtein
1 cup Greek yogurt20016g
1/2 cup mixed fresh or frozen berries50--
1/4 cup granola with nuts2007g
1 Tbsp. honey50--

Protein Packed SandwichCaloriesProtein
2 slices double protein bread22014g
3 oz. firm tofu (or turkey breast)60 (90)7g (15g)
1/2 avocado1602g

Meal in a SmoothieCaloriesProtein
1 envelope vanilla-flavored breakfast drink1305g
1 cup milk (or soy milk)140 (110)6-8g
1/4 cup crushed pineapple3515-20g
1 scoop protein powder10025g

Protein PitaCaloriesProtein
1 lg whole wheat pita bread1706g
1/4 cup hummus1005g
2oz tuna5711g
1/4 cup raw spinach leaves----

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/30/2017.


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