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Dietary Advice

Dietary Advice To Optimise Oral Intake (also known as ‘food first’)

  • Everyday foods (e.g. cheese, full fat milk) added to the diet to increase energy and protein content without increasing volume of food consumed. Check with local dietitians or primary care commissioning group for local policy and guidance. For more information refer to Manual of Dietetic Practice13.
  • Small frequent meals and snacks, with food and fluids high in energy and protein.
  • Powdered nutritional supplements are available.
  • Overcome potential barriers to oral intake: physical (e.g. dentition, illness related loss of appetite), mechanical (e.g. need for modified texture diet/thickened fluids) and environmental (e.g. unable to prepare food)2. Consider referral to other healthcare professionals such as Dietitian, Occupational Therapist, Speech and Language Therapist
  • There is some evidence for managing malnutrition with dietary advice (food first) alone. However, data on clinical outcomes or cost is limited19.
  • Care should be taken when using food fortification to ensure that requirements for all nutrients including protein and micronutrients are met7. Consider a multi-vitamin and mineral supplement.
  • Acute and chronic disease may adversely affect appetite and the ability to source and prepare meals and drinks.
  • Dietary advice can only be effective if acceptable and feasible to the individual.

This section

Managing Malnutrition according to ‘MUST’ Dietary Advice Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS)
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