COPD: Avoiding Weight Loss

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If you have COPD and are losing weight without trying, it's important to get enough calories and protein to stay at a weight that's healthy for you. Your doctor and a dietitian can help you make a plan based on your health and what you prefer to eat.

How can you avoid weight loss?

Here are some ways to get more calories and protein to avoid weight loss when you have COPD.

Always talk with your doctor or a dietitian before you make changes in your diet.

  • Eat high-calorie snacks.

    Snack foods that can help you add calories to your diet include:

    • Ice cream.
    • Pudding.
    • Cheese.
    • Nuts.
    • Custard.
    • Avocado.
    • Eggs.
    • Crackers with peanut butter.
    • Cereal with half-and-half.
    • High-calorie drinks like whole milk and milkshakes.
    • Try a liquid meal replacement, such as Ensure, Boost, or instant breakfast drinks. These might be options if you have trouble eating solid foods. They will give you both calories and protein.
  • Add calories to a meal or snack.

    Making simple changes to the foods you already eat can help you add calories and protein to your diet.

    • Add an egg or egg yolk to meat loaf, macaroni and cheese, or similar foods. Be sure to cook the food after adding the egg.
    • Add powdered milk to creamed soups, scrambled eggs, pudding, potatoes, yogurt, and casseroles.
    • Add cheese to sandwiches, crackers, casseroles, soups, toast, and pasta.
    • Add extra vegetable oil or olive oil, mayonnaise, butter, or sour cream to sandwiches, bread, casseroles, soups, cooked cereals, pasta, potatoes, rice, or vegetables.
    • Grind up some nuts and sprinkle them on puddings, gravy, mashed potatoes, casseroles, salads, and yogurt.
  • Add protein to your diet.
    • High-protein foods include:
      • Meat, fish, and poultry.
      • Milk and milk products. Add powdered milk to other foods (such as pudding or soups) to boost the protein.
      • Eggs.
      • Cooked dried beans and peas.
      • Peanut butter, nuts, and seeds.
      • Tofu.
      • Cheeses.
      • Protein bars.


Current as of: August 6, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.