High-calorie, high-protein soup: Making the most of every bite

Serious illness and treatment can cause loss of appetite and unintentional weight-loss, which can be upsetting for ourselves and our loved ones. It can also lead to malnutrition, where we do not take in enough nutrients to meet the demands of the body. This can have a serious impact, leading to poorer health and hospital admission, especially for older people.

Making the Most of Every Bite is a cookbook of high-calorie, high-protein recipes aimed at treating unintentional weight-loss. Developed by dietitians at University College Cork and the HSE, these classic recipes are enriched with ingredients like full-fat milk, double cream and nuts for added energy and protein.

Using these ingredients may seem to contradict usual healthy eating advice, but at times of illness, nourishing the body and maintaining a healthy weight is a priority.

Intended for people who are malnourished, the cookbook should be used under the guidance of a healthcare professional.


Week One – Soups

Homemade soups are helpful if you are ill or recovering from illness. Easy to prepare, they are ideal if a full plate of food is off-putting and are easier to take if you have a sore mouth. Freeze homemade soup for use on days when you are tired and do not feel like cooking.

Sweet potato and lentil soup

A warming soup, full of flavour. Makes 6 servings. Preparation: 10 minutes Cooking: 30 minutes

3 tbsp olive oil (45ml)
1 large onion, peeled and chopped (200g)
10g minced ginger
10g minced garlic
600g sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped
200g dried red lentils
400ml coconut milk
800ml vegetable stock
100ml double cream
120g skimmed milk powder


- Heat the oil in a pot. Gently fry onions, ginger and garlic for five minutes.
- Rinse and drain the lentils. Add the sweet potatoes, lentils, coconut milk and stock. Simmer for 30 minutes.
- Mix cream and skimmed milk powder, and add to the soup.
- Blend the soup until completely smooth.

Nutritional value per 350g serving
Energy: 541kcal
Fat: 28.8g
Carbohydrate: 55.7g
Protein: 18.1g
Salt: 1.2g
Fibre: 7.9g

Making the most of every bite
1 - Main meals
2 - Soup
3 - Snacks
4 - Light meals