Feature Articles: Food, Fitness and Weight Control
Weight Gain can be Difficult for Some
Tammy Roberts, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist in Barton County, University of Missouri Extension
When we think about the topic of body weight, most people are thinking about overweight and obesity. However, there are people who would like to gain weight but struggle to.
Less than five percent of the adult population is classified as being underweight. People who deal with this issue are often hard pressed to find information on healthful weight gain because more than half the adult population is overweight and wishing to lose unwanted pounds.
If you are underweight, the first thing to do is see a physician to check for a medical reason for the inability to gain weight. Once the physician gives you a clean bill of health, there are things that you can do to help with weight gain. The goal is to eat more calories than you burn. It’s important to make sure that the calories you are consuming are from healthful foods.
Fat is very high in calories. Fat has nine calories per gram versus the four calories per gram that protein and carbohydrate provide. Choose your fats wisely. Limit saturated fats such as the fats in fatty meats and butter and choose more monounsaturated fats (olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil. Some high fat yet healthful foods you can add include walnuts, avocados, peanut butter, and part skim mozzarella cheese.
If you have a small appetite, eat five or six small meals a day making sure to get a wide variety of foods from all of the food groups. This can help assure you are getting all of the nutrients you need. If you have a small appetite, be sure to drink after the meal rather than with it so you’ll have more room for the food.
Fortify your food. If you are making mashed potatoes, add some unflavored yogurt or powdered milk for extra flavor and calories. You can also add powdered milk to soups and casseroles.
Snacks can add nutrients and calories to your diet. Try a yogurt, juice and fruit smoothie or sprinkle some dried fruit on cereal with milk for a healthful snack.
Stay active! You may be tempted to avoid activity because it burns calories. Being active can also stimulate your appetite.
Last update: Tuesday, May 05, 2009