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Nutrition Articles  ›  Quick and Easy

Having Trouble Eating Enough? Use These Calorie-Boosting Tips

Tips to Meet Your Requirements and Get Results

-- By Becky Hand, Licensed & Registered Dietitian
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It may sound strange for us to provide tips to boost calories when many members are trying to cut back. But some people have difficulty meeting even the minimum calories in their recommended ranges, whether because of lack of hunger, loss of appetite, or just out of habit of eating too little. Eating within your calorie range is important for your body to work properly. In addition, you need to eat enough calories to meet nutritional needs, maintain a healthy metabolic rate, and stay energized. Eating too little will actually hurt your weight loss efforts.   Many people make the mistake of "the less I eat, the more I'll lose," but that's not necessarily true. (Read more about how eating more will help you lose weight.)

The following tips and food suggestions can help. By applying one or two each day, you may find that you are back on track and in-control of a healthy caloric intake.

Tips to Meet Your Calorie Recommendations
  • Eat small, frequent meals 5-6 times daily.
  • Drink high-calorie, nutritious liquids if you are not hungry for food.
  • Limit diet, low calorie, low-fat products.
  • Have ready-to-eat snacks available to munch on when you feel hungry. Easy snacks include trail mix, pretzels with dip, nuts, dried fruit, crackers with cheese, frozen yogurt or ice cream, pudding, and fruit smoothies.
  • When you drink beverages, make certain they are nutrient-rich. Limit diet drinks, tea and coffee.
  • Enjoy Super-Strength Milk for extra calories and protein. Simply mix together 1 quart of milk and 1 cup of instant non-fat dry milk powder. Stir for about 5 minutes or until the dry milk is dissolved. Store this beverage in your refrigerator and use it just as you would regular milk. (Makes 1 quart)
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About The Author

Becky Hand Becky Hand
Becky is a registered and licensed dietitian with almost 20 years of experience. A certified health coach through the Cooper Institute with a master's degree in health education, she makes nutrition principles practical, easy-to-apply and fun. See all of Becky's articles.

Member Comments

  • I am "fat" but I hardly ever meet my minimum calorie goals. This seems unbelievable to people. It's difficult for me to even get 1,500, and people are like.. "But.. you're big"

    I think these tips are great, and I am going to try them out! - 2/28/2014 10:38:13 PM
  • I too have had the same problem.....one of the main things I do is to add things to my everyday items that I eat. Take a tossed salad for instance, I will add a hard boiled egg, or a can of drained/rinsed black beans. That way you are adding calories and healthy protein. - 1/13/2014 3:34:50 PM
  • I find all these comments by people claiming to eat less than 1000 calories daily interesting. I have worked with many people claiming such low calorie counts, but when under supervision and with someone else counting, it is clear that some serious underestimating is going on. Calories burned, on the other hand, are normally overestimated. Yes, some people have slowed their metabolisms down, but it is still important to work with the correct numbers! - 10/6/2013 11:35:54 AM
  • TINAADKINS
    I never ate much before, now it seems like that's all I do. It makes since but it is very hard - 9/18/2013 7:26:56 PM
  • This article kinda makes me angry. I only WISH that I could lose my appetite when depressed! If I was one of those people, I would look like half of an Olesen Twin! But no, I'm like an alcoholic that has fallen off the wagon. I will cram every morsel of food I can find into my face, even if I don't like it very much. I've been like this ever since I can remember. It's hideous. - 9/15/2013 3:48:10 PM
  • Good article for those of us who are trying to maintain. I know I need to add calories now that I'm below my goal weight but my mind says NO! - 5/15/2013 9:29:28 PM
  • Eat more tips makes no sense to me while trying to lose weight--can someone please explain how adding dairy or snacks to daily nutrition can help me lose weight.... - 3/8/2013 4:33:15 PM
  • This article is just what I've been looking for. I too struggle to get more than 900 calories, and if you try telling anybody that someone of my size is undernourished they laugh at you! But it isn't funny. My weight has been stuck for months. I've been told that eating more is really a dream diet, but it just isn't that easy to eat more when you're already full!! Thank you so much for your advice. It's a great help! - 2/6/2013 10:18:23 AM
  • This is exactly what I needed today. I've been struggling to even get to 1000 calories a day! - 1/13/2013 10:30:58 PM
  • CATE1488
    Thank you for this article. I know most people use Spark People to lose weight, but there are people trying to gain weight and this article is helpful. - 12/2/2012 10:53:25 PM
  • NALZ1210
    wow what a great article.. thank you so much. read this a few days ago and have got my calories up. found out I was exercising to much and not eating enough. what a shock. feel so much better now. thanks... - 10/6/2012 10:55:53 PM
  • LITTLENEWT54
    Just a little p.s. I am increasing my calories with healthy foods, not empty calories like candy or carrot cake, which I really want, but am unable to control how many slices I eat... The hardest thing for me to increase is my fiber. I may bake some whole wheat banana bread using Splenda. It's something to look into. - 7/15/2012 1:00:42 AM
  • LITTLENEWT54
    I'm glad to see this article! I just rejoined SP. I found right away that I was not eating enough- not even above 1,000 calories! Eating 3 meals with 2 snacks is hard, but tracking my food is helping me get my calories up there. I am diabetic and have liver disease, so eating right is important. As soon as I began increasing my calories I lost several pounds that I don't think were water. Finally! I'm still trying to increase my intake (I need another meal per day) but I'm getting there and this is certainly helping! - 7/15/2012 12:50:36 AM
  • This article made a lot of sense. I agree with some of the comments readers have left about adding sugar etc...But it seems to be a choice 'Between the devil and the deep blue sea'?! I've never had much of an appetite, but I'm sure I was slimmer before I started eating only healthy foods.
    I've struggled for years with my weight and am always being told to 'eat less'. Even though my daily calories would rarely go over 800 I'm constantly looked at with disbelief when I mention it. I actually took my food and exercise diary to my GP, after reading through it she told me I must be forgetting about foods that I've eaten and overestimating the amount of exercise. Even though I don't want anyone else to go through what I do, it's refreshing to find that I'm not alone. It's a shame that society automatically regards anyone overweight as being 'greedy', There should be more public awareness to the problems of not eating enough!! - 7/13/2012 7:43:17 PM
  • Thank you! for this article!!! My husband is and has always been at least 10 pounds underweight and currently has a BMI of 17.7. He eats a lot of junk food and never gains weight. (lucky for now). But he's been searching for ways to gain healthy weight. As for me, I am in my healthy weight range but I rarely hit my DR calories or carbs. I think this is why I've been able to eat poorly and still stay thin- and the reason I signed up for Sparkpeople. I am looking for HEALTHY ways to maintain my weight. =] - 6/26/2012 12:37:07 PM