Friday,22 February, 2019
Current issue | Issue 1383, (1 - 7 March 2018)
Friday,22 February, 2019
Issue 1383, (1 - 7 March 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Gaining weight the healthy way


re you skinny? Struggling to gain some muscle? Don’t worry – gaining weight is totally possible if you commit to a healthy eating plan. Adding high-calorie foods to your diet can be very effective to meet your goal. 

To put on weight, you need to consume more calories than your body burns. For instance, if your body burns between 1,400 to 1,500 calories per day, then you have to consume at least 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day.

Being underweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. This is estimated as less than the body mass needed to sustain optimal health. Though being lean can often be healthy, being underweight can be a concern. Therefore, it’s important to find out first why your body is not able to gain weight.             

There may be various reasons: inadequate eating habits, prolonged meal time gaps, a poor selection of foods, improper amounts of calories in and calories out, malabsorption of food, various diseases or eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia.

Here are some healthy ways to gain weight when you’re underweight:

Eat more frequently: 

Don’t let more than four hours go by without eating. Eat five to six small, high-calorie meals during the day rather than two or three large meals. 

Eat nutrient-rich foods: 

As part of a healthy diet choose good carbs like whole-grain breads, pasta, potatoes and rice. Also add a lot of fruit and vegetables, dairy products, lean protein sources and nuts and seeds to your diet. 

Go for smoothies and shakes: 

Instead of drinking just water every day, include high-calorie beverages and whey protein smoothies in your diet. Blend a lot of fruit and make a smoothie for your breakfast. A healthy shake made with full-cream milk and fresh or frozen fruit is another good option.

Drink milk: 

Forget about skimmed milk and drink at least two to four cups of full-cream milk per day. To gain weight faster, try to drink a cup of milk with every meal.

Make every bite count: 

Add a good amount of healthy fats such as olive oil and a lot of natural sugar to your diet to increase your calorie intake per day. Snack on nuts, peanut butter, cheese, dried fruit and avocados.

Eat before bed: 

Since a lot of healing, repair and regeneration takes place while we sleep, eating a healthy snack right before bed ensures a fresh supply of nutrients available to go to work inside the body. Go for a small bowl of pasta salad with extra-virgin olive oil, chopped or shredded veggies, and lean protein such as beans, chopped chicken breast or melted cheese.

Have an occasional treat: 

Treats should be healthy and provide nutrients in addition to calories. Bran muffins, yoghurt and granola bars are good choices. An occasional slice of pie with ice cream is okay as well.

Add omega3 fatty acids: 

Studies say that these help to reset body chemistry, helping you to put on weight quicker. Try to consume food that is rich in omega3 fatty acids, such as fish, beans and leafy vegetables.


If you want to turn your extra weight into muscle, do strength training exercises like squats and lunges at least three or four times per week for a minimum of 30 minutes per session. Exercise may also stimulate your appetite. 


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