Most Americans feel “envious” when they come across people who need to gain weight. You will find that majority of the people are at other end of the scale, frantically trying to lose weight.
How Can I Gain Weight?
If you are trying to gain weight, you will find this article immensely useful. So, read it throughly. Although being slender can often be healthy, but being underweight can be a concern, if it’s result of a digestive problem, lack of appetite, poor nutrition, stress, illness or if you are pregnant or have other health concerns. Then there are pro-athletes who have tendency to lose weight over the course of a strenuous spell. In all of such cases, the aim should not only be to gain weight, but optimizing health at the same time, and there’s a science to it.
One way to gain weight is to down pints of ice cream, pasta, bread, cheeseburgers and donuts, sweets or cakes and other high-calorie junk foods full of saturated fat and sugar, but it’s not the right way. These foods can increase your body fat instead of lean body mass and result into many serious health issues.
Is Being Underweight Really A Problem?
Being a slight underweight is not necessarily a problem, says American Dietetic Association president-elect Sylvia Escott-Stump, RD.
Being skinny naturally is not a real health issue.
“If you are comfortable, able to function and exercise, weighing a little less than your ideal body weight is not a problem and studies show it is associated with good health outcomes,” Escott-Stump says.
However, if you desire or have to gain weight, do it the healthy way and that does not mean going for an all-you-can-eat buffet.
The old phrase, “You are what you eat” is undeniably true. Nutrients from food you eat are factually the resources that your body needs to build new cells. A diet comprising of junk food lacks nutrients and doesn’t provide your body with much to build upon. Consuming junk-food is similar to building a house with cardboard and tape instead of bricks and mortar. In other words, it’s not a matter of calories only.
Best Healthy Ways To Gain Weight Fast
If you are underweight, read on here for 11 best healthy ways and tips to gain weight and build muscles mass fast naturally and look younger:
1. Don’t Let Pass More Than Four Hours Without Eating – Healthy Way To Gain Weight: Your body requires an uninterrupted supply of energy, because it’s similar to an engine that’s constantly turned on (your heart keeps beating, blood is always circulating, and your brain and muscles continue working). When you miss meals, you deny providing fuel to your body that it requires to keep going. This causes a slump into your energy depository, which regrettably includes even loosing of muscle mass. The best way to preclude your body from losing any vital tissue is to have frequent meals, spread out about three to five hours apart and never skip meals. Actually, most experts advise that eating six mini-meals a day is better than eating three large ones. If you are aiming to acquire new muscle tissues, meal frequency becomes a crucial issue. Eat five to six mini meals a day, instead of three large meals. This can help you gain weight and also you will feel less bloated after each meal.
Dietitian Sasha Watkins says: “Those with a small appetite may really benefit from eating ‘little and often’ and by increasing the number of snacks they have throughout a day.”
Eat often and choose wisely. The key is to go for foods that are loaded with minerals, vitamins, nutrients and calories, so that every bite provides you wholesome nutrients.
2. Eat Variety Of Foods At Once – Foods That Make You Gain Weight: Always strive for having at least three food groups. Instead of simply eating a banana or handful of nuts, go for whole grain bread slices top with banana slices or peanut butter, along with a glass of skim milk (or a milk substitute like soy milk), smoothie or yogurt drink. A wider variety of foods offers your body with a comprehensive range of nutrients to work with all through the day and gain weight in a healthy way.
3. Eat Healthy And Nutrient-Dense Foods – Foods To Eat To Gain Weight: The best way to gain weight is to pack in extra nutrition without having to consume extra quantities of food. This you can do by avoiding empty calories and junk food, and instead focusing on foods that are packed with lots of protein, carbohydrates and fat into a small servings. One such example is dried fruit. With the water eliminated, the quantity shrinks by about 75 percent, thus a cup of grapes converts into a quarter-cup of raisins. But you need to ensure that the dried fruits you consume are without any added sugar or preservatives.
Look for high-protein meats, which can assist you to build muscles.
Also, consider nutritious carbohydrates like whole-grain breads, brown rice and whole-grain cereals.
Consider including in your diet lean protein sources, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and dairy products.
The aim is to ensure that your body receives as much nourishment as possible, even if you are constrained with a reduced appetite.
4. Drink Your Food: Liquids are less filling than solid foods, so they can provide you much more nutrition without causing you feel stuffed or bloated or ruining your appetite. However, make it sure to not to fill you up on diet soda, coffee or other drinks with little nutritional value or few calories.
Best picks include 100 percent fruit juices, organic skim milk or milk substitutes (organic soy or hemp, etc.), and smoothies. Smoothies are better options than milk shakes, as you can reinforce them with all sorts of beneficial goodies, such as ground flax seeds, wheat germ, protein powder, carrot juice, peanut and almond butter.
Consider drinking a glass of fresh or 100% orange juice in mornings along with your breakfast. It’s rich in calories, refreshing and full of nutrition.
Another drink recommended is a glass or two of milk during the day. It’s again high in calories and also will provide your body with essentially required hordes of calcium and protein – which is perfect for thinner people who are more susceptible to lower bone densities.
We also recommend protein shakes to gain muscle mass, especially if you are working out, on the other hand milkshakes are ideal for an occasional treat.
5. Watch When You Drink: In case you find that drinking fluids before meals dampens your appetite then drink 30 minutes after your meals.
Try sipping a higher calorie beverage along with a snack or meal.
6. How To Gain Muscle Mass: It’s recommended that you continue to exercise while you are trying to gain weight in a healthy way. Whereas too much aerobic and cardio exercises will burn calories and eventually work against your weight gaining aim, strength training like weight lifting or yoga can help you gain weight at the right places by building up your muscle-mass. The bonus point is exercise can also fire up your appetite. Strength training includes working with weights and doing exercises, like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, chin-ups, leg curls, etc.
A word of caution is the more you exercise, the more calories you will require to consume to compensate for those that you lost while working out. This is where the protein-rich snacks, such as high protein energy bars, protein-shakes, low-fat chocolate milk taken immediately after weight training can help you to provide post-work-out fuel and bulk up your muscles as well.
Also the best foods to eat for building muscle mass are lean proteins like chicken and white fish.
7. Eat More Protein To Build Muscle Mass: Protein rich foods are the right choice when you are trying to gain healthy weight and build muscle mass. They work to build lean muscles, without adding much fat. Eating protein is also essential when you plan on doing strength gaining exercises.
(i) First class sources of protein include lean meat, fish and poultry, eggs, whole grains, legumes and dairy products. Incorporate a combination of these sources into your diet.
(ii) A convenient and easy way to boost up your protein intake is by drinking protein shakes, or mixing a protein supplement to smoothies, milk and juices.
8. Foods That Provide You Extra Healthy Punch – Healthy Foods To gain Weight: Foods best in calories and nutrients are those that are also high in fat, making them a great option for weight gain. Foods containing plant fats such as nuts, peanuts, seeds, almond butter, peanut butter, hummus, avocados, and oils should be your first option, as they are excellent sources of healthy fats and are also packed with nutrients & calories.
Although animal fats also offer the same quantity of calories as plant fats, but they contain saturated fats (the unhealthy kind) as well, which can elevate your LDL (bad cholesterol) also, so you should only eat them in moderation. “First choose plant fats and smaller amounts of lower-fat dairy and lean meat animal fats, so your weight gain efforts don’t increase risk of heart disease,” Bender says.
“If you have a normal cholesterol level, you can enjoy extra calories by choosing full-fat dairy products,” Escott-Stump says. For example, combine cheese with fruit and whole-grain crackers for boost up of protein, calorie, calcium and vitamin D.
An easy and tasty way is to go for meal replacement drinks and smoothies.
Dried fruits are concentrated with calories that can be sprinkled on or mixed with yogurts, deserts and cereals or eaten separately.
Potatoes are great choice for toppings or you can cook potatoes with added flavored oils, cheese, vegetables, and beans.
Eat handful of nuts or tossed them on top of deserts, cereals, salads and soups for fortifying them with more of protein, fiber, healthy fat and calories.
Another convenient option to augment calories is to trickle olive oil on vegetables, salads, soups, whole grains and stews.
An occasional indulgence in fried foods is fine, but stir-fried foods in healthy oils would work as a better option.
9. Fill The Gap With Snacks: Try to include more snacks into your daily routine that contain plenty of protein and healthy carbohydrates, as these can be a great way of supplementing more calories without having to eat too much. Snack on the options like trail mix, protein bars or drinks, nuts, peanut butter, crackers with hummus, cheese, dry fruits and avocados. Another option I do is eating a banana on my way to work. Make it sure to eat snacks that contain “good fat”, which are also essential for a healthy heart. For instance nuts and avocados.
10. Gaining Weight After Illness: Sipping smoothies or meal replacement drinks, eating egg dishes and mild foods is generally the right diet prescription while recovering back to a healthy diet. Such foods are packed with good nutrition, easy to prepare and digest as well.
In addition to having all the other vital nutrients, aim at eating sufficient protein, which is very crucial in recovery after illness. Also consider having legumes, lean meat, fish, or poultry and few servings of dairy, whole grains and eggs to ensure that you consume sufficient protein.
Until your weight recovers, opt for full fat milk, eat high calorie snacks between meals and as a thumb rule increase your calories intake but in healthy ways. Without drastically changing your diet, you can increase your calorie intake with each meal by adding nut or seed toppings, cheese and healthy side dishes. Consider almonds, fruit or whole-grain wheat breads/toast.
11. Tricks To Kindle Your Appetite: Follow these tips to pep up your appetite:
Strolling a little before taking meals is one of the many tricks to stimulate your appetite.
When you don’t feel like eating, picking your favorite foods can help.
Also try experimenting with spices and herbs to make your food more appealing or by making new dishes that you have never tried before to fire up your appetite.
Water or any liquid can fill you up, so avoid drinking liquids before or along with foods to make room for nourishing foods.
The pleasant taste of fruits can perk up your appetite, particularly when they are blended into a tasty or easy-to-tolerate smoothie.
(i) Being underweight may be due to an underlying health problem, which won’t be corrected by diet changes. If such is a case then consult your doctor before starting any major weight gain program.
(ii) Even if you are underweight, be watchful of excess sugar and fat. An occasional slice of pie with cream is ok. Even for an occasional treat, go for foods that are healthy and provide nutrients in addition to calories. Bran muffins, yogurt and granola bars are good options.