With the majority of Australian’s being overweight or obese, normally there is a focus placed on weight loss. However, there are many individuals who have the opposite issue and who actually struggle to gain weight. These may be people who have a condition like hyperthyroidism, people who have a very high level of activity or individuals who simply have higher energy requirements than others possibly due to their height, gender, genetics etc.
For these people, weight gain can be a distressing and arduous task. Below are some suggestions to make weight gain easier.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently. Many people try to eat 3 really large main meals and they struggle to fit everything in. Sometimes eating smaller meals and snacks across the day can add up to much more than 3 larger main meals would.
- Choose energy dense foods to add to meals and to snack on. Trying to add some of the following foods in to most of your meals can substantially increase the energy content without you having to each a much larger quantity. Good options include:
- Nuts and seeds – snack on these and add to main meals, salads, yoghurt, porridge
- Avocado – this can really help to bump up the kilojoule content of a meal. Add to sandwiches, salads, toast and other main meals. It is energy dense and contains plenty of healthy fats!
- Full cream dairy products
- Add extra virgin olive oil to salads
- Rice, pasta, corn and potato
- Drink nutritious fluids like milk and smoothies as well as water. Skim milk powder can be added to bulk up the energy content even further.
- Don’t drink too much too close to meals – it can be easy to fill up on liquids.
- Make every mouthful count. Get creative with ways to increase the energy content of the foods you eat – can you add cheese to your pasta? Can you spread avocado on your sandwich? Can you add peanut butter to your Vita-Weats? Can you add honey to your porridge?
- Choose wholegrain products e.g. breads with lots of grains and seeds. This should increase their energy content.
- Make your meal times social – this can take the stress off eating and assist with intake.
- Stick with it. Eating more than you are used to can be difficult but it will get easier over time! Your stomach will expand which will allow you to comfortable eat a larger amount of food.
Whilst eating foods with added sugar and fat can be an easy approach to weight gain, it is best to try to achieve it with healthier options first e.g. salmon, nuts and avocado. These items are high in healthy fats and calories. This way you can work towards gaining weight whilst also reaping the health benefits.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practising Dietitian and Nutritionist. If you have questions about healthy eating, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today.