Recently I had an encounter with a friend who complained of being unable to gain weight no matter how much he ate. Notice it’s mostly guys who face have it in their genes? I know of at least 3 who are facing the same “problem”.
Here are some healthy ways to gain weight when you’re underweight:
- Eat more frequently. When you’re underweight, you may feel full faster. Eat five to six smaller meals during the day rather than two or three large meals.
- Choose nutrient-rich foods. As part of an overall healthy diet, choose whole-grain breads, pastas and cereals; fruits and vegetables; low-fat dairy products; lean protein sources; and nuts and seeds.
- Try smoothies and shakes. Don’t fill up on diet soda, coffee and other drinks with few calories and little nutritional value. Instead, drink smoothies or healthy shakes made with low-fat milk and fresh or frozen juice, and sprinkle in some ground flaxseed. In some cases a liquid meal replacement beverage may be recommended. Drink fluids either 30 minutes before or after a meal, not with it, to avoid becoming full before you eat.
- Add in calorie-dense snacks. Snack on nuts, peanut butter, cheese, dried fruits and avocados. Have a bedtime snack, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a wrap sandwich with avocado, sliced vegetables, and lean meat or cheese.
- Top it off. Add extras to your dishes for more calories — such as cheese in casseroles, soups and scrambled eggs, and nonfat dried milk in stews.
- Have a healthy treat. Even when you’re underweight, be mindful of excess sugar and fat. Have healthy treats that also provide nutrients, such as bran muffins, yogurt, fruit pies and granola bars.
- Exercise. Exercise, especially strength training, can help you gain weight by building up your muscles. Exercise may also stimulate your appetite.