Revitalizing With Nutritious PEM Diet Plan (Protein Energy Malnutrition)

Sonali Khatu

Written by Sonali Khatu

PEM Diet Plan

Table of content

Riya: You know what I feel so tired these days. I don’t know why? I think I should find out the reason; don’t you think I should Maya?
Maya: Hey, have you heard of the PEM Diet plan(Protein-Energy Malnutrition)?
Riya: What the heck is that Maya?
Maya: Hey relax I will tell you what it is. 

This is a health issue that appears when a person’s diet lacks enough protein and calories. It may cause immune system weakness, decreased growth, and a higher risk of infection.

Eating a nutritious meal with appropriate protein, fat, and carbohydrates is one of the most important aspects. It’s crucial to make sure we get enough protein from foods like meat, fish, eggs, and lentils. 

Fats and carbohydrates do generate energy, but we have to be sure we are obtaining them via nutritious sources ranging as vegetables, fruits, as well whole grains according to the PEM diet chart.

If you do not treat PEM, it may be fatal. However, this is treatable with optimal nutrition, such as a PEM meal plan.

 With a healthy diet and a proper pem diet chart we can cure it in serious instances too, with medical intervention. Early detection and quick medical care are essential.

What Is PEM And How Does It Work?

Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) is a condition where a person’s diet is insufficient in both protein and energy. Numerous health issues, such as stunted growth, a weakened immune system, and greater susceptibility to infections, might result from

PEM can affect kids as well as adults, although it is more prevalent in developing nations where there may not be enough food to go around. PEM comes in two basic varieties: Kwashiorkor and Marasmus.

Marasmus: This extreme form of malnutrition results from a significant lack of calories and protein in the diet. 

Children who have been weaned from breast milk and low-calorie, and low-protein meals tend to get PEM early.

This is a condition in which the body wastes its own tissue, and muscle mass for energy, particularly the muscles and fat reserves.

In children causes extreme underweight and a lack of subcutaneous fat. They could have sunken eyes, wrinkly skin, and a fragile appearance.

Kwashiorkor: It is a kind of malnutrition that happens even when calorie intake is adequate because of a significant lack of protein in a person’s diet.

Children between the ages of 1 and 3 who have been weaned from breast milk and given a diet low in protein are most commonly affected by this type of PEM.

This is characterized by a significant protein deficit in the body. 

Which manifests as a variety of symptoms including fluid retention in the abdomen, skin rashes, and hair loss.

Toddlers with these diseases can appear to possess a round, enlarged face and may have an abdomen that is bloated from fluid retention.

When properly nourished, including with a balanced PEM meal plan for a diet. 

Which contains protein, carbs, and fats, both kinds of PEM can be prevented and managed. 

If left untreated, both types of PEM have the potential to be fatal.

Take Your First Step In Understanding Protein Energy Malnutrition With Our Diet Plan 

With a lack of protein and calories too,
PEM can creep up and cause harm to you.
But don’t you worry…
Awareness is key, to preventing this plight,
eating a balanced diet, day and night.
Let’s spread the word, to young and old,
for health is wealth, worth more than gold.
So, come one, come all, and heed the call,
But don’t you worry…
Together, let’s prevent PEM for all.

So here is a free diet plan for protein-energy malnutrition by the best dietitians of Fitelo.

A meal plan for protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) must seek to supply sufficient levels of protein, energy, and other crucial nutrients to aid in the restoration of normal physiological function and to encourage growth and development. Here is a sample meal plan for a vegetarian and non-vegetarian customer with PEM:

BreakfastVeg: Poha (flattened rice) with peanuts and vegetables or Upma (semolina porridge) with vegetables.
Non-veg: Egg omelet or boiled eggs with whole-grain bread.
Mid-morning snackVeg: Fruit salad or yogurt with fruits and nuts.
Non-veg: Chicken or fish salad with vegetables.
Lunch Veg: Dal (lentil soup) or paneer (cottage cheese) with whole-grain bread or rice and vegetables.
Non-veg: Chicken or fish curry with whole-grain bread or rice and vegetables.
Afternoon snackVeg: Sprouts salad or vegetable soup.
Non-veg: Chicken or fish soup.
DinnerVeg: Tofu or lentil soup with whole-grain bread or rice and vegetables.
Non-veg: Grilled or baked chicken or fish with whole-grain bread or rice and vegetables.
Before bedVeg: Milk or almond milk with a small handful of nuts.
Non-veg: Grilled or baked chicken or fish with a small side of vegetables.

What Foods To Intake And What Must Be Avoided

Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM) is managed in large part by diet. The main factor, however, is nutritional intervention. So, make sure your diet for PEM has the below nutrients.

  • Energy: 

Your body needs energy to treat PEM, which is primarily provided by carbohydrates.

As the main sources of energy, cereals and starchy foods like oats, rice, wheat flour, etc.

These should be included in a diet that provides enough calories.

To boost calorie density, choose malted cereal. The number of calories you need, however, be increased by sources of natural sugar like stevia.

  • Protein:

A large dose of dietary protein should be administered to treat PEM because it involves ongoing tissue catabolism. 

To treat malnutrition, you can add protein rich foods to your diet, that are made up of animal and plant proteins.

You should consume milk or dairy products, seafood, lean meat, eggs, and pulses. 

The formulation should be changed to incorporate Buttermilk or Dal-based formulations in the event of Milk Intolerance.

  • Vitamin A: 

Vitamin A insufficiency, which causes vision impairment and growth retardation, is a common occurrence in PEM. 

Egg yolk, milk, curd, butter, fortified foods, as well as fruits.

You can, therefore, include vegetables that are green, deep yellow, or orange in the diet.

  • Vitamin C: 

Vitamin C-rich foods like Amla, Oranges, Tomatoes, Lemon, etc. 

They will provide a stronger immune response while preventing infections.

As it is necessary for the formation of collagen, a major structural protein of connective tissues, and it is an excellent antioxidant that can assist in infections and improves immunity.

  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine):

Pyridoxine, often known as vitamin B6, is a coenzyme that is involved in the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.

Since child growth appears to be negatively impacted by vitamin B6 deficiency.

Diets should include vitamin B6-rich foods including lean meat, pulses, wheat, and other cereals.

Other Important Nutrients In PEM Diet Plan

So, apart from being rich in vitamins, the PEM diet plan should also, be rich in the below nutrients.

  • Folic acid:

Foods are high in folic acids, such as liver, egg yolk, legumes, soy products, nuts, leafy vegetables, and fruits. You should also give these to infants and children because the DNA for developing new cells depends on folic acid throughout times of cell division and growth.

  • Iron:

In PEM, anemia is particularly common. To treat anemia, a diet high in iron-rich foods such as leafy greens (such as spinach), liver, meat or poultry, pulses, whole grains, jaggery, etc. should be a part of your diet.

  • Calcium:

Foods high in calcium, such as dairy products, egg white, vegetables and fruits, and nuts. Even in

Seafood should be a part of a diet to support bone health.

  • Zinc:

Unmilled grains and legumes are excellent sources of zinc, which helps delay the appearance of PEM symptoms including sluggish growth, weakened immune system, and diarrhea.

  • Fluid: 

You will observe dehydration more frequently in PEM so, to restore the body’s electrolyte balance in such circumstances, drinking water is a must.
Fluids you should consume can be ORS solution, plain water, dal liquid, tender coconut water, etc.

The Foods Should Be Avoided When Following A Diet For Protein Energy Malnutrition:

  • Processed foods are laden with excessive fats, sugar, and salt.
  • You should avoid junk food items like cookies, chips, and candy.
  • Fast food, fried food, and other calorie-nutrient-dense foods.
  • Energy drinks, sodas, and other sweetened beverages.
  • Alcohol, and caffeine, can cause the body to become dehydrated and prevent nutrients from being absorbed.
  • Fiber rich foods can make you feel fuller and have less of an appetite for nutrient-dense foods.

Practical Tips For Preventing Protein Energy Malnutrition

Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) is a dangerous illness that develops when a person’s protein and/or calorie intake is insufficient to meet their body’s requirements. To prevent PEM, use these strategies:

  • You can eat a varied diet of foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean meats, and dairy products, to help ensure that you get sufficient protein and other critical elements
  • You must follow a diet chart for protein energy malnutrition.
  • Ensure that you are getting sufficient calories to fulfill your body’s requirements. Your age, gender, degree of activity, and other factors may affect this.
  • You must avoid restrictive diets. The trendy eating plans can result in insufficient intake of nutrients and raise the risk of PEM.
  • Infants should be breastfed because it is the greatest way to provide them with the nutrients they need to grow and thrive.
  • Treating any underlying health issues that have an impact on nutritional utilization or absorption will help prevent PEM.
  • You must seek medical assistance right away if you are having PEM symptoms, such as unintended weight loss, weakness, or exhaustion. 

Depending on the seriousness of the problem, treatment may entail dietary adjustments, nutritional supplements, or other measures.

Top Do’s And Don’ts For Managing Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM)

Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) is a significant illness that calls for both dietary change and medical care. 

These are some general management tips that you need to take care of while following a diet plan for PEM:


  • You must get medical help right once if you think you have PEM. A physician or nutritionist can evaluate the level of severity of your malnutrition and suggest the best course of action.
  • You can increase consumption of high-quality protein and foods high in energy is necessary for those with PEM. Meat, eggs, fish, beans, and nuts are all excellent sources of protein. Whole grain products, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil are foods that are high in energy.
  • If you are suffering from severe malnutrition you should consider starting with small quantities of food and gradually boost their consumption over time to prevent the digestive system from becoming overburdened.
  • If an underlying medical issue, such as digestive problems, is the cause of malnutrition, it is crucial to treat that illness as well.


  • You must restrict food intake is not advised for those with PEM, including those who are trying to reduce weight.
  • Limiting food intake might make malnutrition worse and cause further health issues.
  • You must not intake foods with little nutritional value, such as candy, soda, and fried foods, which should be avoided or limited. 
  • These foods are also heavy in sugar and saturated fat.
  • People having PEM should avoid attempting to eat a lot of food at once.

As doing so can overwhelm their systems of digestion and cause discomfort and other issues. 

It’s crucial to gradually raise food consumption over time while following a healthcare professional’s instructions.

Exercise For People With Protein Energy Malnutrition (PEM)  

Protein-energy malnutrition (PEM) is a condition when a person’s muscles are weak, and their levels of physical activity are low. 

This can result in muscular wasting and subsequent malnutrition.

 As a result, it’s crucial to progressively include exercise in their everyday lives in order to support the maintenance or growth of muscle mass, enhance strength, and support general health.

It’s important to remember that exercise cannot cure PEM and that the main goal of treatment should continue to be healthy eating.

The individual’s general well-being, degree of fitness, and nutritional state will all influence the kind and intensity of activity. 

Recommendations For Exercise To Do Along With The PEM Diet Plan

Read below to know the exercises that you have to do if you are suffering from PEM.

  • Exercise of low to average intensity should be the first choice for those with PEM. Examples include strolling, easy yoga poses, or moderate resistance training. Without subjecting the body to undue strain, these exercises can help increase strength and stamina.
  • Gradual progression must be followed to prevent overexertion, which can exacerbate PEM, exercise duration and frequency should be increased gradually. The best way to create a safe and efficient exercise regimen is to engage with a healthcare expert or a certified fitness trainer.
  • Weightlifting or resistance training can increase muscle strength and mass. Which is advantageous for those with PEM. To prevent damage, it’s crucial, to begin with small weights and advance gradually.
  • Rest and recuperation are a must for people with PEM who need longer time to rest and recover than other people. It’s crucial to pay attention to your health and refrain from overworking yourself because this can exacerbate malnutrition.
  • Hydration is a must for those with PEM, being properly hydrated is crucial, especially when exercising. To avoid dehydration, ensure to drink plenty of water prior to, during, and following exercise.

Always remember to speak with a doctor before beginning an exercise regimen, particularly if you have acute PEM or other chronic medical concerns.

Summary On PEM DIET Plan

In order to encourage weight loss and enhance body composition, the PEM diet plan places an emphasis on high protein consumption, consistent meal scheduling, and calorie restriction.
A diet high in lean proteins, seafood, eggs, and dairy products, as well as fruits and vegetables, and whole grains, is recommended as part of the healthy PEM diet plan.
Additionally, it involves avoiding packaged goods and consuming fewer carbohydrates and fats. Additionally, to control appetites while preserving stable blood sugar levels, the PEM diet promotes eating frequent and small meals throughout the day.
The PEM diet’s overarching goal is to support weight loss that is beneficial while maintaining muscle mass and enhancing general health.

Fun Fact

Who doesn’t like aloo ka paratha with garam garam chai? Surely, it is the favorite of all Punjabi correct? In many regions of India, paratha and tea are common breakfast pairings, but they are additionally a dangerous combination for weight gain. What? Surprised! But it is true, and to know why, click here.

Weight Loss Transformation

Are you looking for some inspiration in your life to get fit? Well, then put a full stop here, and watch the below weight loss success story.
This will not only motivate you to get slimmer but also, start a healthy life.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Causes A PEM?

There are gastrointestinal tract problems that lead to secondary PEM. Infections, trauma, hyperthyroidism, and other major disorders are examples of secondary protein-energy deficiency causes, which result in decreased appetite and impaired food metabolism.

What Are 2 Types Of PEM?

There are two types of PEM, which are:

  • Kwashiorkor (protein malnutrition predominant)
  • Marasmus (deficiency in calorie intake)

What Are The Best Protein Energy Foods To Add To PEM Diet Plan?

All types of meat, including lamb, beef, fish, and poultry, eggs, nuts, seeds, and nut butter (like peanut butter), legumes like lentils and baked beans, milk, and dairy foods like yogurt, cheese, milk powder, and custard.

Watch this video by Dietitian Mac and know how you can fix your metabolism.

Contact Us Today

We’re never leaving you hanging with doubts, queries, as well as confusing questions. We understand how all this information gets really overwhelming as well as a little confusing on your way to a healthy lifestyle. Hence, you can always contact us at any time as our experts are here to guide you 24/7. Also, we will help you achieve your weight loss goals.


This blog post was written to help you to make healthy and better food choices altogether. So, be aware and take care. The important thing to consider is your own health before starting a diet that is restrictive. Always seek advice from a doctor/dietitian before starting if you have any concerns.

Eat Healthy, Live Healthy as well as Enjoy a long happy life

No Thoughts on Revitalizing With Nutritious PEM Diet Plan (Protein Energy Malnutrition)

Leave A Comment

The first step to a healthier you starts here. Talk to our experts now

Get access to 500+ healthy and tasty recipes, fitness tips and more. Subscribe to our newsletter