A high calorie, high protein, high fat diet with liberal vitamin intake is recommended. But before going into the diet the first step is to determine and eliminate the cause for under eating. Then a balanced diet should be planned based on the requirements.
Energy The calorie requirements vary depending upon the activities. For increasing weight the total calorie intake should be in excess of the energy requirement. An additional 500 k cal per day is recommended. The increase should be gradual over one or two weeks otherwise digestive disturbances may occur.
Proteins Instead of 1 g of protein, over 1.2g per kg is recommended for tissue building. Good quality protein is completely utilized by the body so as far as possible best protein sources must be liberally included in the initial stage.
Fats Even though fat content is increased easily digestible fats are to be included. Fried and fatty foods are not recommended as they may cause diarrhoea. Fatty food should not be taken at the beginning of a meal as they reduce appetite. High calorie fatty foods such as cream, butter, margarine and oils help to increase the weight.
Carbohydrates High carbohydrate sources must form the basis of the diet. Leafy vegetables should be restricted and preference to be given to potato and yam. Dried fruits, sweets, nuts, desserts, jam, jelly, cereals, cereal products and non vegetarian foods are rich source of energy and can be liberally included in the diet. The number of meals should be increased. Two feeds incorporating soups, juices or sweets in between major meals improve the nutritive value of the diet. Easily digestible foods should be given. Porridge, cutlets, desserts, potato chips, high protein drinks like milk, malted milk, and badam kheer can be included. Thick soups are easily digestible and highly nutritious.
Vitamins and minerals With a liberal diet there is no need for extra vitamin and mineral supplement.
Fluids Fluids should not be taken before or with a meal but only after a meal so that food intake is not reduced. Enough fluids must be taken so as to avoid constipation.