We always hear weight loss stories but as a fitness trainer I get a lot of emails from people that struggle to gain weight. There’s a difference between just gaining weight and gaining healthy weight and you should always opt for healthy weight. You’re not trying to be ‘fat’ just bigger but still healthy.
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And you can achieve this by adding and subtracting from your current diet. Yes, you can eat Nigerian food and still be healthy. The formula to gaining weight is simple – Increase your daily calorie intake. So eat about 300-500 more calories than you do a day.
Here are some ways to gain healthy 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, dairy products, lean protein sources, 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 milk and fresh or frozen fruit and sprinkle in some ground flaxseed. In some cases, a liquid meal replacement may be recommended.
- Watch when you drink. Some people find that drinking fluids before meals blunts their appetite. In that case, it may be better to sip higher calorie beverages along with a meal or snack. For others, drinking 30 minutes after a meal, not with it, may work.
- Make every bite count. 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 and scrambled eggs, and fat-free dried milk in soups and stews.
- Have an occasional treat. Even when you’re underweight, be mindful of excess sugar and fat. An occasional slice of pie with ice cream is OK but most treats should be healthy and provide nutrients in addition to calories. Granola bars are good choices, fruits make great snacks!
- Exercise. Exercise, especially strength training, can help you gain weight by building up your muscles. Exercise may also stimulate your appetite.
This doesn’t mean go out and eat all the fast food and sweets you can get your hands on. Like I said earlier, your goal is to gain healthy weight and not fat.
Here are foods you should include in your next shopping list!
- Chicken breast – this is the leanest part of the chicken. It’s boneless and has a higher percentage of protein.
- Fish – Tilapia, Salmon, Tuna or sardines are very high in protein. Every meal you take in should have at least 20-25% protein content.
- Eggs – scramble your eggs instead of frying and if you must fry, use olive oil.
- Sweet potatoes
Veggies – Broccoli, cucumbers, spinach, Brussels sprouts etc. Your meals should contain 70% vegetable, 25% protein and carbs.
Hope this helps!
This article was written by Sandra Okeke; connect with her on IG here