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A guide to increasing your protein intake

Date issued: November 2022

Review date: November 2024

Ref: C-317/dietetics/CC/How to increase your protein intake v4 

PDF:  A guide to increasing protein intake final November 2022 v4.pdf [pdf] 168KB

Protein is an essential nutrient which plays a vital role in the body.  It is needed for growth and repair of organs and muscles, and the immune system.  It is important to eat enough protein each day, especially when you are on dialysis as you will lose protein from your body during each session.

If you do not eat enough protein, you could lose weight, feel weak and tired, become unwell more easily and take longer to recover.

Good sources of protein include:

  • meat and poultry

  • fish

  • eggs

  • cheese

  • milk and milk products

  • beans and pulses

  • vegetarian alternatives to meat i.e., Quorn®, soya, tofu

How can I improve my protein intake?

Include a source of protein at each mealtime

Breakfast ideas


Breakfast ideas

Try a high protein cereal

Kelloggs Plant Protein Crunch®

Lizi’s High Protein Granola®

Eat Natural Protein Granola®

Weetabix Protein®

Quaker Oatso Simple Protein® porridge

Cooked breakfast


Aim to avoid processed meats as they are high in salt e.g., bacon, sausages

2-3 eggs and toast

Reduced salt baked beans on toast

Sardines on toast

Toast with nut butter

Spread peanut/almond/cashew nut butter thickly

Yoghurt, fruit, and seeds

150g high protein yoghurt

Light meal ideas


Light meal ideas



Use seeded breads instead of white/wholemeal, or try using high protein wraps or breads e.g., Warburtons Protein Thin Bagels®


Prawn or tuna and mayonnaise/salad cream, use at least ½ tin of tuna

Egg mayonnaise, use 2 eggs

2 slices cooked meat and cheese

2-3 slices of corned beef and tomato

1 medium chicken breast and salad

Falafel (x 3 balls) and hummus (1/4 tub) with salad



Avoid ready-made soups, they are high in salt and generally poor sources of protein

Choose/make a soup that contains meat, beans or lentils

Have alongside a sandwich



Use 2-3 eggs as a portion

Poached, boiled, fried, scrambled, omelette

Jacket potato

Reduced salt baked beans and cheese

150g prawns

Tinned tuna or salmon (at least ½ tin)

Crackers or crackerbread with cheese

50g hard cheese

70g soft cheese

100g cottage cheese


Main/cooked meal ideas

Base your cooked meals around a protein source

Main cooked meal ideas


  • Roast meat, 3 slices
  • 1 large chicken breast/turkey steak
  • 1-2 x pork/lamb chops
  • 1 x burger
  • 4-5 meatballs
  • 125g mince
  • 3 x sausages*


  • Whole tin of fish e.g., salmon, tuna, mackerel
  • 1x fresh fish fillet
  • 2 x frozen fish fillets (1 x frozen tuna steak)
  • 150g cooked prawns
  • 4 x fish fingers*

Vegetarian alternatives

  • 2-3 eggs
  • 140g tofu
  • 140g Quorn mince/pieces
  • ¾ tin (300g) of chickpeas/lentils/beans
  • 3 x vegetarian sausages*
  • 2 vegetarian burgers*

*Try to avoid protein sources that are processed as they are high in salt. If you are on a low phosphate diet, check the ingredients list for phosphate additives.


What if I have lost my appetite?

If your appetite is poor, often it is easier to eat little and often. Below are some suggestions of high protein snacks, puddings and drinks that you could include throughout the day to boost your protein intake.

Note: some of the suggestions below are processed and high in salt. However, if your appetite is poor and you are losing weight unintentionally, it is more important to ensure you are eating enough protein. If you are following a low phosphate diet, check ingredients lists for phosphate additives.

snacks for lost appetite

Meat-based snacks:

Scotch egg (large)

Mini pork pie x 2


Sausage roll 60g

Fridge Raiders® chicken bites

Cocktail sausages x 5

Vegetarian options:

Boiled egg

Mini houmous pot (70g)

Quorn® cocktail sausages x 4

Falafel x 3

Meat free goujons x 2-3

Quorn® sausage roll

Quorn® picnic eggs x 3

Handful of unsalted nuts or 15g nut butter

Fridge Raiders® meat free bites

¼ quiche



30g hard cheese or 60g soft cheese with crackers

Mini cheese portions, Mini Babybel®



HIPPEAS organic chickpea puffs®

Graze®  protein savoury snacks Popworks® Protein popped chips



Cereal bars:

Nature Valley Protein Bar®

Eat Natural Protein Bar®

Graze Protein® oat bites & flapjacks

Fibre One® 90 calorie protein

Grenade Carb Killa

KIND Protein® bars


High protein yoghurts:

Arla Protein yoghurt®

Arla Skyr®

Light & Free Skyr®

Lindahls Kvarg®



Rice pudding (1/2 tin)

Custard pot 150g


High protein drinks:

Horlicks/Ovaltine made with milk

Hot chocolate made with milk

200ml milk or milkshake

UFit® High Protein milkshake

200ml Alpro Plant Protein Soya drink

Fortified milk, add 4 tbsp skimmed milk powder to 1 pint milk


Nutritional supplements:

If you are really struggling to eat and drink, ask your dietitian about nutritional supplement drinks which can be prescribed


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