While the majority of the clients I see are struggling with the challenges of weight loss, I occasionally encounter somebody who has the opposite predicament. Difficulty gaining weight can be frustrating, and the solution is not to merely eat more food. The types of foods you consume have a direct effect on mood, energy, and overall health, so be sure you are making wise choices. You want to enhance lean muscle mass, not your fat cells.
Increase Your Calories
You will need to up your calorie intake in order to put on weight, but you must use caution. Simply eating more high-calorie junk foods such as ice-cream, fried foods, and candies will only drain your energy and make you feel awful, not to mention contribute to heart disease and diabetes. The objective is to choose higher calorie foods with the most nutrients. Think: Avocados, raw nuts and seeds, nut-butters, dried fruits, and whole grains.
Try this: For breakfast, eat a large bowl of steel-cut oatmeal topped with walnuts and raisins. Add sliced avocado to your whole grain wrap at lunch. Snack on trail mix during the day. Have a large portion of brown rice or quinoa with dinner.
Bust Out Your Blender
If you are not in the mood for big meals or frequent feedings, creating drinks in the blender is the way to go. You can easily down several hundred calories in a few minutes while at the same time providing your body with a hefty dose of whole-food nutrients.
Try this: Frozen bananas, a few spoonfuls of peanut butter, a couple of medjool dates, and unsweetened vanilla soymilk. Or mix up frozen strawberries, fresh mangos, brazil nuts, medjool dates, and unsweetened almond milk. If you are craving extra protein, toss in some hemp protein powder.
If You Don't Already Exercise, Start Doing So
Physical activity can help induce hunger signals in your body, therefore encouraging you to eat more. After using energy for workouts, it only follows that you will need to replenish with food. Exercise is catabolic, meaning that tissue is being broken down. What builds it back up is the nutrition you put into your body. Think of your food as fuel. If you eat junk, your body will have difficulty using it to build and repair itself. If you eat wholesome, natural foods that are designed by nature rather than produced in factories, your body benefit significantly.
Attempting to put weight on can be just as tough as trying to lose it. Remember to make sure you are feeding your body high-quality foods with which to build itself. And no, you do not need massive amounts of meat or protein powders to put on muscle. That is an old nutrition myth that refuses to die. Consider some of the largest, strongest animals like elephants, horses, and cows, all of who subsist on vegetation. Stick to eating mostly whole plant foods, keep your body active, and you will look amazing, feel incredible, and achieve your goal weight.
Corinne Goff is a Registered Dietitian who is absolutely passionate about food, health, and nutrition. Corinne has a BA in Psychology from Salve Regina University and a BS in Nutrition from the University of Rhode Island. As a nutritionist, her objective is to help people reach their health goals by offering a personalized holistic approach to wellness that incorporates natural foods and lifestyle changes. She works together with her clients to develop daily improvements that they feel comfortable with and that are realistic. She believes that the focus on wholesome, nutrient-rich, real food, is the greatest possible way to become healthier, have more energy, decrease chances of chronic disease, and feel your best. For more information, please visit her website at RI Nutrition Housecalls.com.