It costs 3500 calories to gain one pound. That means, in order to gain one pound a week, you have to consume 500 extra calories every day. Here are some tips for getting those extra calories into your daily meal plan.
• Eat frequently! — Make time for 3 large meals and 2-3 hefty snacks every day.
• Eat larger than normal portions at meals!
• Eat higher calorie foods! — Choose dried fruit, starchy vegetables, dense whole grain breads and cereals, hearty bean soups, nuts…
• Add lots of “extras” to food! — Don’t eat anything plain.
• Add healthy unsaturated fats: olive and canola oil, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, avocados.
• Add healthy carbs and protein: honey, jam, dried fruit, wheat germ, nonfat dried milk powder, soy protein powder.
• Make beverages count! — Drink shakes, milk, juice, etc. instead of water, coffee, tea, and diet sodas.
• Do resistance exercises! — Weight training helps convert the extra calories into muscle rather than lab. Aim for 2-3 times per week.
TRY THESE QUICK-N-EASY BREAKFAST IDEAS:
⇒ Whip together 2 cups fruit juice, 1 cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit, 1 cup
yogurt, 1/4 cup dried nonfat milk powder, and 1/4 cup wheat germ or oat bran
for a high energy liquid meal to go.
⇒ Spread peanut butter, honey, or jam on large bagels, muffins, hearty whole
wheat bread/toast, graham crackers or stoned wheat crackers. Grab an extra
large banana and wash it down with a tall glass of milk
⇒ Fill a plastic bag with raisins and nuts (trail mix) or your favorite dry cereal.
Grab an 8 oz container of fruit yogurt and a couple cans/boxes of fruit juice.
⇒ Nontraditional ideas:
* Heat up leftover pizza, pasta, or Chinese food from last night’s dinner.
* Make a peanut butter and honey, grilled cheese, tuna, or turkey sandwich.
* Pop a baked potato in the microwave for 5-10 minutes; top with chopped
veggies (frozen ones are quickest) and melted cheese, canned chili, or
hearty bean soup.
* Wrap vegetarian refried beans, shredded low fat cheddar cheese, and
tomato salsa in a couple of flour tortillas.
TRY THESE QUICK-N-EASY SNACK IDEAS:
⇒ Dry cereal: Wheat Chex, Shredded Wheat, Cheerios, Oat Squares, granola.
NOTE: Add raisins or other dried fruits to boost the calories and carbs.
⇒ Pretzels: Naturally fat free. Look for reduced salt or salt-free varieties if you
are watching your salt intake.
⇒ Crackers: Stoned wheat, sesame, bran, RyKrisp, or other low fat or fat free
brands NOTE: Spread with peanut butter or add slices of cheese to boost the
calories and protein.
⇒ Bagels: The bigger the better. Look for whole wheat, pumpernickel, rye, or
ones with seeds to get the most nutrients. NOTE: Spread with peanut butter,
honey, jam, or low fat cream cheese to boost the calories.
⇒ Fruits: Bananas, apples, oranges, grapes, or other fresh fruits. NOTE: Dried
fruits (like raisins, apricots, and dates) are especially easy to pack and very
⇒ Nuts and seeds: Peanuts, pistachios, almonds, sunflower seeds and other nuts/
seeds are high in calories and good sources of protein, healthy
monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and several other vitamins and minerals.
⇒ Sports bars, breakfast bars, and low fat granola bars: Prewrapped, very
portable, and very tasty.
Foods to Choose When You Need More Calories
Choose hearty, dense breads such as whole wheat, oat bran, pumpernickel, or
rye (as opposed to fluffy white breads). The bigger and more thickly sliced the
better! Spread generously with peanut butter, jam, honey, hummus, or low fat
Choose dense cold cereals such as granola, muesli, Grape-Nuts, Cracklin Oat
Bran, Shredded Wheat n Bran or Wheat Chex (instead of flaked or puffed
cereals). When making oatmeal and other hot cereals, use low fat milk instead
of water. Add extra nuts and dried fruits for flavor.
Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, peas, corn, carrots, winter squash, and
beets have more calories than watery veggies like broccoli, cauliflower,
zucchini, green beans, and cucumbers.
Bananas, pears, apples, pineapple, and all dried fruits (raisins, dates, dried
apricots, etc.) have more calories than watery fruits such as oranges, peaches,
plums, berries, and watermelon. Buy canned fruit packed in heavy syrup,
instead of its own juice, for extra calories.
Select hearty black bean, lentil, split pea, chili with beans, barley, or
minestrone soups. These soups have more calories and carbohydrates than
brothy chicken, beef, and vegetable types.
NOTE: Creamed soups and chowders are also high-calorie choices, but they
are very high in saturated fat and should be eaten in moderation.
Rather than filling up on watery lettuce, pile on the garbanzo and kidney beans,
green peas and corn, chopped vegetables, sunflower seeds and chopped
walnuts, raisins, cottage cheese, lean meats, tuna fish, and croutons. Top with
a liberal amount of vinegar and oil type dressing.
NOTE: Creamy dressings are high in calories, but also high in saturated fat.
Quench your thirst with fruit juices and nectars, low fat milk, shakes, fruit
smoothies, and regular soft drinks. Avoid filling your stomach up with non
caloric beverages like water, coffee, tea, and diet soft drinks.