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Nutrition and Cancer: High-Calorie Snacks

Calorie and protein guidelines during cancer treatment

Your calorie and protein needs will vary depending on things such as your age, gender, body weight, and activity level. The current recommended daily allowance for protein for most adults is 46 to 56 grams per day. It is important to discuss your own calorie and protein needs with your healthcare provider or registered dietitian. With some cancers, the metabolic processes can cause hypermetabolism. This condition affects how your body uses proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. With hypermetabolism, you may need to increase your calorie and protein intake. Discuss this with your healthcare provider or registered dietitian.

What foods are high in calories?

Listed below are some suggestions for adding calories and protein to your meals and snacks:

  • Add butter or margarine (30 calories per teaspoon) to puddings, casseroles, sandwiches, vegetables, cooked cereal, breads, and pasta.

  • Add wheat germ (25 calories and 2 grams protein per tablespoon) to:

    • Hot cereals

    • Meat dishes, cookie batter, and casseroles

  • Add mayonnaise or salad dressing (35 calories per teaspoon) liberally to sandwiches, salads, and as a dip for raw vegetables or sauce on cooked vegetables.

  • Add evaporated milk (25 calories and 1 gram protein per tablespoon) in place of whole milk in desserts, baked goods, meat dishes, and cooked cereal. This can be added to most foods without drastically changing their flavor. 

  • Add sour cream (26 calories per tablespoon) to:

    • Potatoes, casseroles, and dips

    • Sauces and baked goods

  • Add sweetened condensed milk (60 calories and 1 gram protein per tablespoon) to:

    • Pies, puddings, and milkshakes

    • 1 to 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, and spread on toast

  • Add gravies (20 calories per tablespoon) liberally on mashed potatoes, rice, noodles, and meats.

  • Ask your healthcare provider about adding nutritional supplement drinks between meals. 

The following snack ideas can be eaten as a meal or in addition to meals.

Meal or snack idea

Recipe

Calorie estimates per serving

Cheese toast

1 ounce cheese

1 slice toast

175

Peanut butter and jelly sandwich with milk

2 slices bread

2 tbsp peanut butter

1 tbsp jelly

8 ounces whole milk

555

Bagel with cream cheese, jelly, and juice

1 large bagel

1 ounce cream cheese

1 tbsp jelly

12 ounces apple juice

650

Cheese pizza

1 slice of cheese pizza

300

Egg and cheese on an English muffin

1 egg

1 ounce cheese

1 English muffin

320

Yogurt smoothie

8 ounces yogurt

1/2 cup half-and-half

1 cup frozen strawberries

390

Peanut butter and banana on toast

1 slice toast

2 tbsp peanut butter

1 banana

365

Chili cheese fries

1 cup French fries

3 1/2 ounces chili

2 1/2 ounces melted cheese

520

Nachos with beans and cheese

1 ounce tortilla chips

1/2 cup refried beans

2 1/2 ounces melted cheese

Salsa to taste

560

Trail mix

1 cup toasted corn cereal

12 almonds

2 tbsp peanuts

1/3 cup raisins

1/4 cup chocolate chips

650

Tuna salad on crackers

1/2 cup tuna salad

5 crackers

300

Granola bar and yogurt

8 ounces fruit-flavored yogurt

2 granola bars

430

Online Medical Reviewer: L Renee Watson MSN RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Rita Sather RN
Online Medical Reviewer: Todd Gersten MD
Date Last Reviewed: 12/1/2020
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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