News and Views

Making the most of every bite

21 Mar 2018
Image shows L-R Dr Sharon Kennelly, HSE, Minister for Health, Mr Simon Harris TD, Dr Aoife Ryan, UCC and Dr Éadaoin Ní Bhuachalla, UCC.

The HSE and UCC have this week published a new cookbook aimed at providing high-calorie, high-protein recipes for the estimated 145,000 people in Ireland who are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition.

  • Contains practical, compassionate advice and 100 recipes to help with unintentional weight loss
  • Estimated 145,000 people in Ireland are malnourished or at risk of malnutrition
  • HSE healthcare professionals can order copies of the book for their patients at
  • *It is important to discuss with your nurse, doctor or dietitian if this cookbook is appropriate for you*

Created by dietitians and chefs, Making the Most of Every Bite contains easy to prepare and nourishing recipes, which have been enriched with extra energy and protein to help slow down or prevent weight-loss associated with illness. 

Rapid, unplanned weight-loss can be detrimental to health and is one of the most distressing symptoms patients can experience. Unfortunately, eating and maintaining a healthy weight can be difficult for people experiencing conditions, such as cancer, Crohn’s Disease or advanced dementia.  It can also be a factor for older people living alone, and for those who are undergoing treatment such as major surgery, chemotherapy or radiation. Maintaining a healthy weight is a main nutritional priority when fighting illness. 

Dr Sharon Kennelly, Registered Clinical Specialist Dietitian and Nutrition Project Lead, HSE Primary Care, notes the importance of identifying patients who are at risk of malnutrition and intervening quickly:

“Malnutrition is a serious healthcare issue in Ireland today, but healthcare professionals working in the community are well-placed to recognise the risk. This new toolkit is designed to support them in providing first-line defence. A food-based approach should always be part of the first steps in managing malnutrition and we are delighted to partner with dietetic colleagues in UCC to make this cookbook available to people who can benefit from it. We have piloted it with a small number of patients and family members who are supporting loved ones, and the feedback has been very positive.”

Dr Aoife Ryan, Lecturer in Nutritional Sciences at UCC and one of the authors of the cookbook said:

“It is important to make sure that the food you eat is as nourishing as possible when your appetite is poor or when you are finding it difficult to maintain your weight when ill. These recipes are easy to make, nutritious and give people new ideas at a time when lack of appetite can bring additional distress. The comfort and normality of eating at times of illness is something that cannot be underestimated.”

Making the Most of Every Bite also contains further information about problems which may affect eating, and practical advice and tips on how to combat them. For example: dealing with a change in appetite, persistent fatigue, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea or constipation, indigestion and reflux. It “easy to chew and swallow” recipes, which are ideal if you have a sore mouth, difficulty swallowing or if you are put off by the sight of a plate of food. All recipes use typical household ingredients and can be made in bulk and frozen for later use. 

The 'Making the Most of Every Bite' cookbook is part of an online toolkit aimed at assisting first-line management of malnutrition in adults. The toolkit is available to view at and the cookbook is available to view in the ‘Public’ section.

Please remember, it is important to discuss this cookbook with your nurse, doctor or dietitian to check whether it is appropriate for you. Your HSE healthcare professional can order a copy for you, if it is appropriate, free of charge. 


For more about courses and research at Food and Nutritional Sciences, UCC visit here

Media: For further information contact Ruth Mc Donnell, Head of Media and PR, Office of Marketing and Communications, UCC Mob: 086-0468950



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