Healthy principles for weight gain – Part 1

Gaining weight may strengthen your immunity system and increase your energy level. So what can you do?

Whether it’s been a life-long struggle to keep weight on or you’ve recently had a surgery or health concern leading to weight loss, you may find yourself or a loved one struggling to reach an optimum weight.

Michigan State University Extension says that first and foremost, consulting a physician and registered dietitian about your weight concerns and overall health is necessary.

Increasing your weight to an optimal level may have important health benefits, such as boosting your immune system and your energy level. So, how do you gain healthy weight?

Increasing calories with key nutrients as opposed to filling up on sugary, salty or processed snacks can be an effective weight gain practice. Calorie consumption recommendations based on gender, age and activity level range from 1,600 calories a day for inactive senior women, to 2,400 calories a day for active senior men. ChooseMyPlate.gov has resources and tools for individual calculations.

Women’s Health says that, the “bottom line is that you need to eat more calories than your body needs. However, it’s still important to do so by opting for whole, minimally processed foods that are naturally high in calories. Avoid trying to gain weight by overdoing the highly processed, high-energy, nutrient-poor foods like chips, cookies, pastries and sweets.”

Switch two percent or whole milk, and/or non-fat dry milk powder for your current liquids, soups, gravies and smoothies. Including high protein cottage cheese, yogurt and cheese for snacks will help you reach your daily recommendations for dairy and protein. Milk items pair nicely with fruits and vegetables, which may help you eat or drink more.

Choose weight bearing exercise. Even in small increments (10 minutes) several times a week, you will be building muscle, which weighs more than fat.

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