Take a look at any magazine or online website and you’ll be inundated with information about how to lose weight. But for some people, being their healthiest self means gaining weight. This can be the case with athletes looking to gain weight to improve their performance, or someone who has lost weight due to illness, stress, or digestive issues. Being underweight can lead to a variety of healthy problems including a weakened immune system, hair loss, fragile bones, fatigue, fertility issues, and more. For some people, gaining weight is not as simple as it may seem. Try these five tips to gain weight in a healthy way.
Eat smaller meals, more frequently
To gain weight you need to eat more calories, but it can feel overwhelming to sit down to a large plate of food, especially if your appetite is low. Instead, aim to eat smaller meals every three to four hours.That way, you can get more calories in without feeling stuffed all the time.
Ditch low-calorie food products
Skip any foods that have the words “light”, “low-calorie”, “reduced-fat” or “low-fat” on the label. Instead, reach for the real, higher calorie versions instead. Pick full-fat yogurt, milk and cheese instead of 0% or low-fat and calorie-dense granola or muesli instead of regular grain-based cereals.
Drink your calories
Liquid meals or drinks aren’t as filling as solid food, so this is a great way to get in extra calories without feeling stuffed. Sip on 100% fruit juice, full fat milk or nondairy milks, or try making a calorie-dense smoothie. Use fruits, veggies, and at least one source of fat, like nuts, avocado, or seeds. You can also add whole grains like oatmeal or cooked quinoa and Greek yogurt, silken tofu, or cottage cheese for protein.
Pick calorie-dense foods
Eat more foods that pack a large amount of calories into a small portion. That way, you can increase your calorie intake without feeling like you have to eat a huge volume of food. Think nuts or nut butter, seeds, avocado, healthy oils, and starchy vegetables like potatoes, peas, and corn. Add nuts, nut butter or seeds to yogurt, oatmeal, salads, smoothies and soups. Bump up the calories of a veggie dish by adding a tablespoon or two of oil or butter. Avocado gives a calorie boost to sandwiches, salads, smoothies, or egg dishes.
Have a bedtime snack
Your body works to heal, regenerate, and build new muscle mass while we sleep. A bedtime snack works to help this process along by providing some calories (aka energy) right before bedtime. Try a bowl of granola with milk or yogurt or a few slices of whole wheat toast with peanut or almond butter.