Healthy principles for weight gain – Part 2

Gaining weight may have healthy benefits, so how do you add healthy pounds?

In part one of Healthy principles for weight gain, it was noted that gaining healthy weight may strengthen your immune system and overall energy level. For some people, healthy weight gain is a life-long struggle, for others they may have recently underwent a surgery or have another health concern leading to weight loss, or it could be a loved one struggling to reach an optimum weight.

First and foremost Michigan State University Extension says it’s necessary to consult your physician and registered dietitian about your weight concerns and overall health.

Create routines to make meal-time a focus. You or a loved one will be less tempted to skip meals if you plan specific places (outdoors picnic area, senior center, dining table) or a brown bag lunch with family or friends. When you mindfully think about food as opposed to being distracted or preoccupied you will become more aware of your hunger cues. Eat with your family and friends or make a social experience out of meal-time. You may even try to snack between meals on protein and calorie rich snacks such as nuts, yogurt, peanut butter and guacamole.

Stock up on favorites. If you have items on hand that you like you will likely “feel” like eating. Try low preparation foods such as sweet potatoes or spaghetti squash that you can bake in the microwave. Canned tuna or salmon, beans and canned tomatoes can be added easily to create salads, chili or sauces. Making your favorite recipes will inspire a stronger appetite. Smells and interaction with food during preparation will trigger your hunger cues.

Try to pair your favorite foods with other foods that are high in nutrients. Salsas, sauces or vegetables (for example, baked sweet potatoes) may encourage you to eat portions of lean proteins.

Appearance is everything—when it comes to food anyway. Whether in a five star restaurant or your home dining table, the more colorful and visually stimulating, the more likely you will be to try it and eat more of it.

Limit your consumption of liquids during meals and focus on nutrient-rich beverages between meals, such as milk, juice, smoothies or even meal replacement shakes (if directed by your physician or registered dietician).

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