Healthy Ways to Gain Weight

Healthy Ways to Gain Weight

We hear so much about the importance of weight loss to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. But for some of us, keeping weight on is a real problem. When your BMI drops below 18.5, you are at increased risk for health problems such as iron and other nutrient deficiencies, a suppressed immune system and possible eating disorders.

If your calculated BMI is below 18.5 and you'd like expert advice and a meal plan to help you gain weight healthfully, please call my office at 416-915-9100 to book an appointment. Through a comprehensive nutrition, health and lifestyle assessment, we can determine whether or not you are at risk. If you are not in the Toronto area, go to the Dietitians of Canada website at www.dietitians.ca to find a registered dietitian in your area.

Weight gain strategies

1. Eat 3 meals a day plus snacks. Make sure you are eating 3 regular meals a day plus at least 2 snacks -- one mid morning and one mid afternoon. A bedtime snack is also a good strategy for many people wanting to gain weight. Healthy snack choices:

  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Yogurt and fruit
  • Low fat muffin and unsweetened fruit juice
  • Energy bars and unsweetened fruit juice
  • Toast and peanut butter with a glass of milk
  • Bowl of granola with milk
  • Homemade smoothie with milk or soy milk, banana and nut butter

2. Add extra calories where you can. Have juice or milk with meals and snacks instead of water; use peanut butter on toast; add raisins or other dried fruit to breakfast cereal; add nuts and seeds to salads.

3. Select more calorie dense foods. For example:

  • Juice: cranberry, cranapple, pomegranate, grape, pineapple and apricot have more calories than apple, orange, grapefruit
  • Breakfast cereal: low fat granola, muesli, Grape Nuts, oatmeal
  • Soups: lentil soup, bean soups, minestrone, barley soups
  • Vegetables: peas, corn, winter squash, carrots have more calories than most green vegetables

4. Include regular exercise. This will help more of the extra calories be stored as muscle, rather than body fat. Strength training will help promote muscle growth and weight gain.