Navigate Up

Tips for Increasing Protein in Your Diet

The following information gives tips for increasing protein in your diet.

If you have kidney disease or liver disease, or if you have been told to follow a low-protein or protein-restricted diet, this information may not be appropriate for you. Ask your doctor or dietitian if you are not sure.


 Food Uses

Hard or Semisoft Cheese (cheddar, Swiss, brick)

  • Melt on sandwiches, bread, muffins, tortillas, hamburgers, hot dogs, other meats or fish, vegetables, eggs, and desserts such as stewed fruit or pies
  • Grate and add to soups, sauces, casseroles, vegetable dishes, mashed potatoes, rice, noodles, or meat loaf.
Cottage Cheese or Ricotta Cheese
  • Mix with or use to stuff fruits and vegetables
  • Add to casseroles, spaghetti, noodles, and egg dishes such as omelets, scrambled eggs, and soufflés.
  • Use in gelatin, pudding-type desserts, cheesecake, and pancake butter.
  • Use to stuff crepes and pasta shells or manicotti.
  • Use milk in beverages and in cooking when possible.
  • Use in preparing food such as hot cereal, soups, cocoa, or pudding.
  • Add cream sauces to vegetables and other dishes.
  • Add a tablespoon of non-fat, dry powdered milk to each cup of regular milk, cream soups, and mashed potatoes.
 Powdered Milk
  • Add to regular milk and milk drinks such as pasteurized eggnog and milkshakes
  • Use in casseroles, meat loaf, breads, muffins, sauces, cream soups, puddings and custards, and milk-based desserts.
Nutritional Drink Mixes (Boost or Ensure)
  • Use nutritional drink mixes available in supermarkets and drug stores
  • Use instant breakfast powder in milk drinks and desserts
  • Mix with ice cream, milk, and fruit or flavorings for a high-protein milkshake.
Ice Cream, Yogurt, and Frozen Yogurt
  •  Add to carbonated drinks such as ginger ale and to milk drinks such as milkshakes.
  • Add to cereals, fruits, gelatin desserts, and pies; blend or whip with soft or cooked fruits
  • Sandwich ice cream or frozen yogurt between enriched cake slices, cookies or graham crackers.
  • Add chopped, hard-cooked eggs to salads and dressings, vegetables, casseroles, and creamed meats.
  • Beat eggs into mashed potatoes, vegetable purees, and sauces. Add extra yolks to quiches, scrambled eggs, custards, puddings, pancakes, French toast, batter, and milkshakes.
  • Make a rich custard with egg yolks, high protein milk, and sugar.
  • Add extra hard-cooked yolks to deviled egg filling and sandwich spreads.
Nuts, Seeds, and Wheat Germ
  • Add to casseroles, breads, muffins, pancakes, cookies, and waffles.
  • Sprinkle on fruit, cereal, ice cream, yogurt, vegetables, salads, and toast as a crunchy topping; use in place of bread crumbs.
  • Blend with parsley or spinach, herbs, and cream for a noodle, pasta, or vegetable sauce.
  • Roll a banana in chopped nuts.
Peanut Butter
  • Spread on sandwiches, toast, muffins, crackers, waffles, pancakes, and fruit slices.
  • Use as a dip for raw vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower, and celery.
  • Blend with milk drinks and other beverages.
  • Swirl through soft ice cream and yogurt.
Meat and Fish
  • Add chopped, cooked meat or fish to vegetables, salads, casseroles, soups, sauces, and biscuit dough.
  • Use in omelets, soufflés, quiches, sandwich fillings, and chicken and turkey stuffing.
  • Wrap in piecrust or biscuit dough to make turnovers
  • Add to stuffed baked potatoes.
  • Eat calf liver or chicken liver or heart; these are especially good sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Cook and use dried peas and beans and bean curd (tofu) in soups or add to casseroles, pastas, and grain dishes that also contain cheese or meat.

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences | Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA |