Content Map Terms

COPD: Avoiding Weight Loss


To avoid losing weight and muscle mass when you have COPD, you generally need to eat more foods that have fat and protein. Talk with your doctor or a dietitian about what foods you need to gain or maintain your weight.

How can you avoid weight loss?

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

  • Eat high-calorie snacks.

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

    • Ice cream.
    • Pudding.
    • Cheese.
    • Granola bars.
    • Custard.
    • Avocado.
    • Eggs.
    • Crackers with peanut butter.
    • Cereal with half-and-half.
    • High-calorie drinks like whole milk, milkshakes, and nutritional supplements, such as nutrition shakes.
  • 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.

    Milk, milk products, and meats are high in protein. Try to eat more of these foods, or:

    • Add skim milk powder to milk, cold cereals, scrambled eggs, soups, and ground meat.
    • Add cheese or peanut butter to snacks.
    • Choose desserts that use eggs, such as sponge cake, egg custard, and rice pudding.
    • Use nutritional supplements high in protein, such as nutrition shakes.


Current as of: November 14, 2022

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Ken Y. Yoneda MD - Pulmonology