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Increasing your Calories

Date issued: August 2022

Review date: August 2024

Ref: C-236/Dietetics/HS/Renal dietitian v6

PDF:  Increasing your calories final August 2022 v6.pdf[pdf] 117KB

When you have kidney failure you need more nourishment than normal, but you may have a poor appetite and find it more difficult to eat.

This booklet will help you to choose the best foods to eat to provide the nourishment you need if your appetite is poor and you are losing weight.

Do not worry that some of the advice is different to healthy eating guidelines.  Getting what your body needs is most important.

How to get started:

  • Aim to eat every couple of hours by having 5-6 small frequent meals, snacks, or nourishing drinks throughout the day rather than 1-2 larger meals.

  • If you cannot face a cooked meal, have a snack instead.

  • Make the most of the times when you do feel like eating.

  • Accept offers from friends and relatives to help with shopping and cooking or use convenience foods.

Fats (butter, spread and oils)

  • Spread butter / vegetable spreads generously on bread, crackers, fruit breads, etc.

  • Add butter or drizzle oil on potatoes, pasta,vegetables and salads.


  • Add grated cheese to soups, sauces, pasta, mashed or   jacket potatoes, baked beans, scrambled eggs, omelettes.

  • Treat yourself to your favourite cheese and have it as a snack with butter and crackers.

Desserts / milk puddings

  • Serve cream, custard, full fat yoghurt, ice-cream or evaporated milk with puddings and cakes

  • Try milk-based puddings - thick and creamy yoghurt, fromage frais, mousses, rice pudding, tapioca

Sugary foods (for non-diabetics)

  • Spread jam, honey, syrup or marmalade generously on   bread, toast, pancakes, crumpets, scones.

  • Add sugar or honey to drinks, cereals and puddings.

Other ideas

  • Nibble on crisps, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate or biscuits.

  • Eat more fried foods if you can tolerate them.

  • Avoid low fat / low calorie varieties.

  • Don’t fill up on bulky, low-calorie foods such as vegetables, fruit, soups or water-based drinks.

  • Add mayonnaise or salad cream to sandwiches.

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