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How To Gain Weight While Eating Healthy

Posted Oct 22 2008 4:37pm
Obesity problems are always in the news. What about the people who want or need to gain weight? Gaining weight while eating healthy is a challenge - just like losing weight while eating healthy.

There are a few reasons why someone might be trying to gain weight.

Some people are naturally thin and would like to be larger.

Physical illnesses can result in excessive weight loss.

Eating disorders can result in massive weight loss and can, in fact, result in death from the lack of nutrition.

Many elderly people have trouble preparing foods and are prone to excess weight loss as well.

Whatever your reason for wanting to gain weight, you need to do so in a healthy manner. The foods you eat must supply you with much needed calories and give you all of the nutrients and phytochemicals that your body may have been missing for a while.

In order to gain weight, you need to consume more calories than you are currently taking in every day.

Choosing Healthy Foods to Gain Weight
Remember that you need to choose healthy foods to really be healthy. This is especially important if you are recovering from an illness or have been under-nourished for a long time. You want to gain weight and you want to improve your health as well.

Tips for Increasing Calories While Keeping a Healthy Diet

· Add cheese, nuts and dressings made with olive, walnut or canola oil to salads.
· Eat starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn more often.
· Go for dried fruits or fruit juices as healthy higher calorie snacks.
· Add cream or cheese sauces to fish and baked chicken breast.
· Choose herbs and spices to increase the flavors of your food rather than relying on salt.
· Add powdered milk to soups and sauces to offer calories and protein.
· Spread Peanut butter on whole grain bread, apples or celery sticks to get a great source of protein and calories.
· Stick with healthy desserts, such as a bowl of berries with whipped topping and lot of chopped nuts.
· Spoon healthy salad dressings on sandwiches and as a dip for vegetables.
· Dip whole grain bread into olive oil, walnut oil or flax seed oil. If you don't care for much meat, add legumes such as black beans, kidney beans and pinto beans as protein sources.
· Pick dark chocolate as a treat. Dark chocolate has antioxidants that other sweets don't have.

The foods that you choose to eat are important for more than just the amount of calories they contain. The foods you eat also have to give you the nutrients you need. Keep your high-calorie foods healthy; don't add non-nutritious junk foods to your diet. Junk foods may have lots of sugar and unhealthy fats that add the calories you may want, but they don't have much to offer nutritionally. Make sure you eat foods that have good nutritional value along with those extra calories.

Carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are the best fuel for your body, although your body can use fats and proteins for energy if necessary. Your best sources of carbohydrates are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Vegetables and fruits should be the cornerstone of any healthy diet. You don't want to avoid healthy green vegetables like green beans and asparagus just because they are low in calories. Green vegetables have a lot of nutritional value. You can add healthy calories to those vegetables by topping them with nutritious foods like olive oil, almonds and shredded cheese.

Fruits are packed with vitamins and phytochemicals that will boost your health. Snack on fresh fruits any time of day to increase your calorie intake.
Another large source of carbohydrates are the grains and cereals. The USDA suggests that you eat six to 11 servings of foods from the bread and cereal group. At least three of those servings should be from 100 percent whole grain products. Whole grains are a great source of fiber and nutrients.

Fats and Oils
Healthy fats include polyunsaturated fats such as omega 3 essential fatty acids and omega 6 essential fatty acids. You can only get these fat from your diet and they are important for healthy hair, skin, neurological function and help to reduce inflammation. Monounsaturated fats like olive oil are also very healthy fats that will help keep your cardiovascular system healthy. You want to add healthy fats to your diet by eating lots of fish, nuts, and seeds.
Avoid fried foods. Fried foods such as French fries, donuts and fried fish or chicken are sources of trans fats and not a healthy way to get the calories you need.

Proteins
The protein sources you choose are important too. Your body needs protein for muscle and organ structure and for normal immune system function.
Healthy protein sources include poultry, fish, legumes, nuts and seeds. Red meat is OK once or twice each week, but more red meat contains a lot of saturated fat. A diet high in saturated fat has been linked to cardiovascular disease. Processed meats like hot dogs, sausages, bologna and other lunch meats are high in calories, but also associated with higher risks of cancer.

Dietary Supplements
Using a whole food multivitamin can be beneficial.

Portions Sizes and Meals
You can either add more calories to you diet by eating more meals per day, by adding snacks and by increasing your portion sizes. If a large meal makes you feel stuffed and uncomfortable, eat small portions, but eat more often. You can add healthy snacks through out the day.

Exercise to Gain Weight
Exercise is very important for good health and the right type of exercise can help you gain muscle, which will give you more body mass. Weight lifting exercises that are designed to build muscle should be included with your weight gaining diet and perhaps aerobic exercise should be cut back a bit.
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