DieteticsYou are here: Home ยป Dietetics

For information on Dietetics and referrals to this service please contact Neel Gahbri, Dietitian.

Tel: 020 8274 7101
Fax: 020 8274 7072


Your Healthcare CIC
Hollyfield House
22 Hollyfield Road

Has your appetite changed recently?

Are you missing meals or have you lost interest in food?

Do you feel you have lost weight involuntarily?

Have you had a recent injury, surgery or illness?

If you are eating less it is important to eat a more nourishing diet.

This diet sheet will give you some practical tips on improving your nutritional intake whilst in hospital and when you are at home.

Your family members or carers can benefit from reading this leaflet too, for tips on how to help you achieve a more fortified diet.

Guide to Eating well

For a balanced nourishing diet, try and include the following options through each day:

  • 3 small meals and 2-3 snacks or milky drinks.
  • One pint of full cream milk (silver top, sterilised or UHT), or equivalent e.g. the following contain the same amount of calcium as 1/3 pint of milk:
  • A small pot of yoghurt, matchbox size piece of cheese or 6-8 cups of tea/ coffee with milk a day.
  • 6-8 glasses of fluid a day. This can be tea, coffee, fruit juice/ squash, soups and milky drinks. 
  • Meat, chicken, fish, well cooked eggs, cheese, yoghurt, lentils, beans or nuts at least twice a day. Try to include two portions of fish a week, one of which should be an oily fish. Oily fish and eggs are rich in vitamin D. Red meat, liver, kidney and egg yolks are iron rich.
  • A serving of bread, potatoes, rice, pasta, cereal or chapattis with each meal. Fortified breakfast cereals are usually iron rich.
  • Fruit and vegetables daily. A glass of orange/ grapefruit juice, or squash fortified with vitamin C if little fruit is taken. Aim for a varied 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day because different colours contain their own combination of vitamins and minerals. One 5 a day portion of fruit or vegetables is about 80g or around one handful. They can be fresh, frozen, dried, canned or juiced.

Stimulating your appetite

  • Ensure you eat the most when your appetite is at its best in the day.
  • Use a little and often approach. Serve up a small, manageable portion in an attractive manner using a small plate.
  • Select and rely on foods you enjoy most.
  • Fresh air or a short walk may help stimulate your appetite.
  • If medically allowed, alcohol in small amounts can help stimulate appetite e.g. a glass of sherry, wine or brandy before meals (check this does not interfere with any of your medication).
  • Enjoy fluids after a meal rather than during your meal as they will fill you up.
  • Build up, Recovery or Complan drinks are nourishing drinks available from supermarkets/ chemist useful if you can not face a full meal or need to top up your intake between meals. Savoury flavours are available. The natural or unflavoured options can be added to puddings and soups.
  • Have a pudding once or twice a day e.g. ice cream, yoghurt, sponge pudding with cream, milk pudding, trifle, cake, fruit pie, custard or ready prepared desserts.

If you get full easily

  • Eat little and often and spread meals and snacks throughout the day.
  • Enjoy your food. Eat slowly. Rest a little between mouthfuls.
  • Take a variety of different foods.
  • If you can’t manage several courses e.g. have the main and save the pudding for later.
  • Avoid very fatty or greasy or rich foods.

Making meals easier.

  • Family, friends or neighbours are often happy to help out with shopping and cooking. It is ok to ask for, or accept help. 
  • Eating in company can increase enjoyment of food. Sharing a meal with family, friends or neighbours or why not join a local lunch club. Some pubs, cafes and pubs offer meals at special rates for older people. 
  • Convenience foods can be very useful for couple days a week. Supermarkets and some large stores have a range of frozen, chilled or packed ready meals, puddings, soups, canned or dried fruits and breakfast cereals. They may seem expensive but it saves you preparing the meal when you are not well, saving time, money, energy, food wastage and cooking fuel. 
  • You may be entitled to have Meals on Wheels or frozen meals delivered (a small contribution may be required)- contact Home Care Organiser in your local Social Care Services Department: 02085475005.
  • If you have dental problems, or dentures which don’t fit, contact your local dentist who may be able to visit you at home. 
  • If you feel more active at a particular time in the day, get planning e.g. prepare a sandwich and put in fridge to eat later.

How to fortify your food

  • Fortified milk (1 pint (600mls) of full fat milk), 4 tablespoons of milk powder (mix the milk powder to a paste with a little of the milk, then stir in the rest of the pint of full fat milk). This fortified milk can be used instead of ordinary milk or water to make up coffee, packet soups, sauces, jelly, milk pudding, porridge and on breakfast cereals. 
  • To tinned, packet or homemade soup add: dried milk powder, evaporated milk, grated cheese, cream, minced beef, lentils, beans, noodles or pasta.
  • To milk based sauced add: cream, evaporated milk or grated cheese.
  • To puddings add: cream, yoghurt, custard, margarine, butter, evaporated/ condensed milk, ice cream, jam, honey, syrup or dried fruit.
  • To breakfast cereals add: fortified milk, evaporated milk, yoghurt, syrup, honey, sugar, fresh or dried fruit.
  • To potato and vegetables add: margarine/ butter, cream, cheese sauce, grated cheese, salad cream, milk based sauces or fried onions.
  • Fats and sugars provide energy and help enhance the flavour of food. Use them generously e.g. add sugar in drinks and food. Add jam, syrup, honey to snacks such as bread, crumpets, scone and, tea cakes. Add butter, margarine or oil to vegetables, pasta, scrambled eggs and other meals.
  • Cakes, pastries, biscuits, chocolate, crisps, provide extra energy when eaten with meals. Take care they don’t spoil your appetite for more nourishing foods.

Quick and Nourishing Snack Ideas

Fill with cold meat, corned beef, bacon, tinned fish, cheese, hard boiled eggs, peanut butter.

  • Choose different types of bread and rolls for variety. 
  • Flavour with sauces, pickles and relishes. 

Light meals

  • Toast with pilchards, well cooked scrambled eggs or tinned spaghetti.
  • Jacket potato and butter with beans and cheese or ready coleslaw.
  • Tinned stew or casserole with instant potato.
  • Bacon, eggs with tomatoes, mushrooms and toast.
  • Cheesy pasta or cauliflower cheese with salad.
  • Sausages with baked beans and bread or tinned potatoes.
  • Oven ready fish fingers with oven chips and tinned peas.


  • Fortified soup or milk.
  • Meat, tinned fish, cheese, egg or beans on buttered toast or in a jacket potato.
  • Toasted crumpets, teacakes, fruit cake, malt loaf with cheese and glass of milk.
  • Biscuits, cake, muffins with hot chocolate or malt drink made with fortified milk.
  • Full fat yoghurt with fresh fruit e.g. maybe as a smoothie.
  • Toast with tinned sardine, mackerel, tuna, baked beans, cheese, ravioli or well cooked eggs.
  • Desserts e.g. custard pots, mousse, ice cream, custard, milky jelly, tinned fruit with evaporated milk or tinned cream.

Between meal drinks

  • Warm drinks can be comforting and keeping a filled flask at hand can be handy.
  • Add hot milk to cocoa, drinking chocolate, malted drinks, Horlicks, ovaltine, bournvita, instant soup, marmite and Bovril.
  • Cold milk can be added to: yoghurts, mashed fruit like banana, milk shake powders, C-Vit or blackcurrant juice e.g. Ribena. 
  • Smoothies are great if you have a blender to blend milk, fruit and yoghurt or ice creams.
  • Your Dietitian or doctor may be able organise prescription of food or drink supplements that can supplement your diet.

Store cupboard ideas

  • Basic foods useful to store in case you can’t get to the shops due to bad weather or illness:
  • Long-life dried or evaporated milk, tinned cream or milky puddings, meal replacement drinks, malted milk or cocoa.
  • Tinned corned beef, salmon, tuna, ham, sardines, mackerel or pilchards.
  • Tinned fruit in syrup or juice, tinned vegetables including a variety of beans or lentils, dried fruits and instant mash.
  • Breakfast cereal, cereal bas, crackers, crisp breads, pasta, rice, biscuits, oat cakes.
  • Tinned or dried soup, meat extracts (e.g. Bovril, Marmite or Vegemite) and stock cubes. 
  • Only buy what you will use. Store cupboard items can go out of date too. So replace them as you use them.

Freezer ideas
Ready meals, Fish fingers, fish portions, frozen vegetables, chips, meats, ice cream or gateaux.
Bread and rolls can be frozen and defrosted on the day of use.


Fortified Milk (600kcals, 40g protein)
1 pint (600ml)full cream milk
4 tablespoons dried milk powder
Mix powder with a little milk to form a smooth paste, and then stir in the rest of the pint of full fat milk whilst stirring slowly.

Fortified fruit juice (250kcals)
1/2pint (300kcals) fruit juice
1oz (30g) glucose
Mix together and serve chilled

Extra Rich Milk Shakes (900kclas, 20g protein)
½ pint (300mls) milk
1 sachet Complan/ Build –Up
1 oz. (30mls) double cream
2 scoops ice cream
Mix together and serve chilled.

Fruit Shake (500kcals, 20g protein)
1/2pint (300mls) ‘fortified’ milk
5-6 tablespoons fruit puree e.g. strawberries, peaches or banana
1-2 scoops ice cream
Mix together and serve chilled.

Sample Menu Options

-Fruit juice. Bread or toast with butter & marmalade or jam.
-Cereal or porridge with fortified milk and sugar or honey
or Boiled egg and buttered toast
or Cooked breakfast if desired
-Milky tea, milk or orange juice

Mid Morning
-Milky drinks with sandwiches or handful of nuts.
or Fortified soup with bread and butter or fortified pudding

-Macaroni and cheese with side salad with added dressing or fish, chips and mushy peas or beans on toast
-Pudding- fruit crumble and custard, milk pudding or ice cream and jelly
Mid Afternoon
-Cheese and crackers or a packet of crisps or dried fruit
Or peanut butter sandwich
-milk shake or milky tea

Evening meal
-Fish pie and vegetables with added butter or an omelette with potato and vegetables. Or fortified soup and toast.
-Vanilla sponge and custard, rice pudding or trifle.
Before Bed
-Slice of cake
-Hot malt drink, Bovril or plain hot milk and a biscuit.

For further assistance ask your doctor to refer you to a Dietitian.

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