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High calorie, no cholesterol foods? [moved from Home Cooking]

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My grandmother is trying to gain a little weight -- she is 83, very active and on a no-cholesterol diet due to heart disease in the family. Her doctor suggested drinking an energy drink called Boost but she would rather try to gain weight with regular food. Her normal diet consists of oatmeal, lots of fruit and vegetables, salmon, yogurt, etc. Beyond consuming larger quantities of what she normally eats, do you guys have any suggestions? The best thing I could think of was nuts (10 large walnuts have 300 calories!). She's not really into cooking much anymore, so the easier the better.


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  1. Dried fruits, avocados, tropical fruits (they have more sugar).

    You can also have her add skim milk powder to a lot of foods - baked goods, soups, smoothies, hot cereals. It adds calories but no fat, and has a lot of nutrients.

    1. Boost has all the vitamins that she would need, as well as the fat and calories to be healthy (most people use Boost as a diet drink, so as to have minimal calories yet it is a meal replacement, easy/fast/efficent to consume)(sales of it go up around New Years Resolution time; there are also a plethora of coupons for it then).... My dad had it when he was in the hospital. That way they knew if he didn't eat all of his meal, he still had the MDR of fuel in him.

      If anything, she could use it as her beverage when eating a regular meal...if it is too sweet for her, mix it with milk (although then she has more liquid to consume) or make it more like a milkshake in a blender with ice or fruit...the whole idea is to get her to have her calories efficiently...older people tend to 'get full' easier than us youngsters, and so don't eat as much.

      1. Boosting caloric intake without increasing fat or sugar consumption will require eating considerably more food. The best approach would be to add some plant-based foods or ingredients high in monounsaturated fats: walnuts, most other tree nuts, avocadoes, flax seed, canola oil or olive oil. Monounsaturated fats tend to raise HDL without contributing to LDL, which is exactly what somebody wants when controlling cholesterol.

          1. Peanut Butter, or any other nut butter. Please go for the "natural" PB that must be refrigerated instead of the stabilized kind. Plants have zero cholesterol so anything from them is fair game for this request. If you can find some high calorie plants and smother them with olive oil (plant-based, therefore zero cholesterol) you have another high calorie no cholesterol choice. Marble-sized new potatoes smothered in pesto sauce would work well.
            Good Luck.

            1. I am a strong supporter of using products like Ensure for elderly people who are losing weight (as opposed to marketing it as a meal replacement for younger people.) The issue with most elderly people (with heart disease) is that they cannot get sufficient calories in the small volume that they consume.

              Unlike many of the suggestions, these products provide a balanced nutritional content.

              1. My grandmother has low cholesterol, she eats: beans, meat occasionally, olive or canola oil in soups and salads. She has a thing for using Bisquick with vegetables to make vegetable loaves.
                Obviously starches like potatoes, sweet potatoes, pasta, and rice will add some calories to her diet. Pumpkin, squash, or any of the organge vegetables as well ast the aforementioned avocado and nuts.

                1. She is probably not going to want to eat a lot more volume, so the trick may be to get more good fats in her diet. Olive oil is a great way to boost caloric intake in a healthy way. Sauteed veggies rather than steamed ... or just use it as a condiment on veggies if she's just microwaving them. Use real OO and vinegar on salads instead of LF dressing.

                  Add extra olive oil to jarred pasta sauces if she is up to preparing pasta dinners. Also pasta salads with lots of veggies and some protein might be good to have in the fridge. Make with pesto or OO-based dressing.

                  I like the pesto suggestion mentioned in another post. Get a container of nice prepared pesto to use on sandwiches, mix into veggies, top lean meats, etc.

                  Consider more caloric, natural beverages, like natural, bottled fruit smoothies. Some even come with protein in them.

                  Avoid partially hydrogenated fats in many prepared foods. They elevate cholesterol levels.

                  1. I know! I know! ;-)

                    Well, at least I know what puts weight on me. I try to eat well, but the "healthy" food that fattens me up without question are trail mix and granola. I suppose it makes since that foods designed for keeping up your energy in the woods would have plenty of calories.

                    A few years ago I developed a fantastic granola recipe that only had a trace of oil and a little fat from nuts and coconut. It fattened me up but good and I had to stop making it. I can also say from experience that trail mix does the same thing. There is an inexpensive, GIANT bag of trail mix available at Walmart, I think it's called Mountain Mix or something. It contains peanuts, almonds, raisins and M&Ms (ok, not the healthiest thing). It's notable to me that the "gourmet" blend we used to pay $8/lb for at the grocery store had the same mix except the chocolate candies were off brand and tasted bad. The Walmart bag is better quality and cheaper. go figure.

                    I would also suggest buying some low-fat frozen yogurt and making peanut butter shakes out of it. it's shocking the amount of ice cream (or substitute) that you wind up putting in the blender to make what looks like a normal sized milkshake.