Weight Gain Strategies
Struggling to Keep Weight On?
While many are trying to lose weight, keeping weight on, or gaining weight can pose equal challenges. Being underweight can be detrimental to health. Common issues include hair loss, dry flaky skin, osteoporosis, vitamin, and mineral deficiencies, especially iron, irregular menstrual cycles, and poor immune function.
Weight Gain Strategies
1. Try to eat 3 meals and 2-3 snacks. Often people who are trying to gain weight get full quickly. Avoid limiting your food to 1-2 meals per day as you may not be able to consume enough calories. Instead, space out your meals and snacks by 2-3 hours. Try not to nibble or graze as this can lead to low appetite and never really feeling hungry.
2. Choose nutrient dense snacks for between meals.
- Dried fruit and nuts
- Yogurt, berries and hemp hearts or chia seeds
- Oatmeal or bran muffin with almond butter
- Avocado toast with sunflower or pumpkin seeds
- Granola and milk
- Smoothie with nut butter, milk, and banana
- Bagel with melted cheese
- Energy bar and juice
3. Add Extra calories where you can. Top a baked potato with cheese and sour cream, add grated cheddar cheese to broccoli or pasta, spread nut butter on toast, add skim milk powder to milk, cream soup, smoothies and oatmeal. Add nuts, avocado and cheese to salads.
4. Drink your calories. Try not to fill up on plain water, tea, coffee or diet pop. Instead, drink milk, juice, chocolate milk, smoothies and hot chocolate.
5. Select Energy Dense foods. Limit leafy greens and low-calorie vegetables as they can fill you up with fibre and fluid but not many calories. Choose starchy vegetables such as peas, corn, carrots, beets, squash and sweet potatoes. Hearty whole grains such as quinoa and faro and sprouted breads like Squirrely bread will offer more calories than a slice of white bread or plain white rice. Add beans and lentils to soups and stew.
6. Try to add an additional 500 calories per day to your regular intake.
7. Be active daily. Regular walking and light exercise helps increase appetite while strength training will help convert the extra calories consumed into muscle mass rather than just storing them as fat.
Most importantly, be kind to yourself and celebrate your success. Weight gain can be a slow process but the more consistent you are with your eating the faster it will go. Try not to skip your meals and snacks. Have a few back up meals in the freezer to reheat and easy snacks to grab for days when you do not feel like cooking or you just ran out of time.