While being overweight and obesity are more common in Americans, being underweight can also be a huge health concern. A BMI (body mass index) of 18.5 or less can lead to fragile bones, anemia, lethargy, and a weakened immune system. Anybody feeling that they are underweight should consult with their doctor to assess what the consequences can be, and discuss the different ways to appropriately pack on some pounds.
Much like being overweight, there are numerous factors that can contribute to being underweight - things like medication, genetics, recovering from an illness or injury, and fast metabolism are a few. If you’re looking for ways to healthily gain weight, we have some ideas for you!
Eat More Calories From Healthy Sources
Aiming to add one pound (or half a pound) a week is generally considered healthy. Adding around 500 calories to your diet a day will usually do the trick - this is an average, people with higher metabolism or facing different factors may vary from the norm.
Now a diet of Twinkies and beer will surely cause you to gain weight, but the health problems associated with refined sugars, alcohol, and a complete lack of anything nutritious are not worth the risk. The best way to gain weight is by eating healthy foods. Some great ideas are bananas, raisins, black beans, avocados, nuts - these are all great ways to pack on calories while also getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Drinking your calories is another great way to add to your weight-gaining routine. But avoid soda, alcohol, and other empty calories and instead reach for a glass of whole milk, or a protein-rich smoothie (peanut butter, banana, yum!), or 100% fruit juice.
Eat More Small Meals Throughout the Day
If eating big meals is out of the question - maybe they make you feel tired, or you just can’t stomach so much at once - eat many small meals throughout the day. Pack each meal with high-protein/high-calorie nutritious foods and count your calories.
Packing on muscle is a great way to stay healthy and gain weight at the same time. As long as you avoid cardio workouts like running and swimming (instead go for slow-paced walks, which are still good for building strength but will not burn so many calories) you can gain weight while keeping yourself fit.
Yes, indulge in full-fat dairy like cheese. It’s a high-calorie food that contains many of the vitamins and nutrients your body needs. You can put it on a burger, a salad, a sandwich, a potato - the options are really endless. It’s also DELICIOUS!
Add Protein Powder
Add it to your smoothie, add it to your glass of whole milk, just add it. Protein is an absolute necessity when building muscle, and if it is taken in coordination with strength-training it ensures that the extra calories you’re adding to your diet are being used to build muscles instead of unnecessary fat. Consider options like JBN’s Growtein™ Lean Mass Gainer, and Whey Superior™ to add a healthy amount of protein to your diet.
Gaining weight in a healthy way can be just as hard as losing weight for some people. We hope these tips help you reach your goals. And please consult with a medical professional before deciding on your approach - being underweight can be hazardous to your health, and you need to be sure you are undergoing the right treatment to deal with it.