Gaining weight can be just as difficult as losing extra poundage for some people. Although adding pounds and eating everything without restrictions may seem a little bit more fun than going on a weight loss diet. Going on a weight gain meal plan is made out to add mass or muscle for those who are underweight and for bodybuilders looking to bulk up. The meal plan should be designed properly with calories that come from nutrition-rich food sources. This also means eating more calories more than what you usually burn in your regular day to day activities.
How a Weight Gain Meal Plan Works
A weight gain meal plan is actually a strategy to increase the number of calories an individual consumes a day. This can be achieved by eating foods that are high in calories or are energy-dense. Carbohydrates are what the body burns first as a source of energy. If you don’t eat enough calories to fuel your daily activities, your body uses reserved fat to burn for energy causing you to lose weight. The body requires enough sources of energy to burn and that means feeding the body with ample calories to do the job. Increasing carbohydrate consumption is the easiest way to do this but not all carbohydrates are good food sources.
Excess carbs also turn into sugar that can spike blood sugar levels in diabetics. Carb foods containing dietary fiber are the best choices such as whole-grain bread and cereals. You may also get extra calories from fruits and vegetables as well as from protein-rich food and healthy sources fats.
What’s on Your Plate?
Not all high-calorie foods are equal in nutrition. Some are just naturally more nutritious and can benefit your health and body more than foods with empty calories. Legumes or beans, nuts, and avocados are great choices for weight gain food. Junk food such as cake, chips, and soda are the easiest choices to pack on the calories but they are not as nutritious and don’t really have many vitamins and minerals or fiber.
An individual looking to go on a weight gain meal plan is advised to eat at least three meals a day each day with larger than usual portions. However, not everyone can gobble a big meal no matter how hungry they are. If this is you, then it is best to break down your meals into 6 half meals a day. This way, you are sure to finish your food and not feel too bloated contrary to how it feels after eating a big meal. Some people forget to eat as well and having a timer or setting an alarm on your phone or computer to remind you will be quite useful.
Sample Weight Gain Meal Plan
Having a proper daily meal plan set up for you does wonders to ensure that you are getting the right amount of calories and nutrition from the food you eat every day. The ideal calorie intake per day is 2500 calories. This alone should be able to show some weight gain in most people. However, as earlier stated — it all depends on the type of food you eat and your level of activity that will determine where and how your body will respond to the extra calories. 2,500 calories a day from starchy and sugary food can either all go to your belly or your hips and thighs if you don’t exercise. The same amount of calories can also give you tight muscles in your arms and legs if you engage in a daily moderate exercise routine.
- A cup of oatmeal with fruit and fresh milk
- 1 glass of orange juice
- 1 cup of coffee — no creamer and no sugar
- An apple or pear with ½ cup of almonds
- Soda water
- Turkey sandwich: using whole grain bread, 4 slices of turkey breast, tomatoes, lettuce, and dijonaise mustard
- Sweet potato, baked and served with butter
- fruit smoothie
- An energy bar
- Iced cucumber-infused water
- A garden salad with your salad dressing of choice
- Fillet of fish, salmon about 6 oz
- Butter Mashed potatoes with wilted spinach
- 1 dinner roll, whole wheat
- A glass of wine or fresh fruit juice
Late night snack
- Plain yogurt with ½ cup fresh or frozen berries
Those who are battling with low appetite may find it a bit tedious to encourage frequent meals as it can be quite difficult to want to eat when one does not feel hungry. However, small meals are better than none at all. In an opposite spectrum of the scale — the struggles and challenges of following a weight gain meal plan are equally the same as that of a healthy weight loss diet.
Both require nutrient-rich food and avoid foods with empty calories. The only big difference is the actual amount of calories one needs to consume a day. Each individual’s recommended daily calorie intake will depend on their current weight, age, gender, state of health and level of daily activities. The average daily calorie allowance is 2000. If one needs to lose weight, reducing the calorie allowance to 1500 is ideal and padding on an extra 500 calories a day to 2500 calories can help with a weight gain of about a pound a week.
Keeping in mind these points will certainly find you well on your way to a healthy weight gain:
Eat small but frequent meals
Five to six small meals a day is ideal compared to just two or three heavy meals a day
Mind fluid intake
Drinking water before meals will surely give you a feeling of fullness. Sip and do not guzzle beverages while eating. Drink after each meal not before or with.
Give a little extra
Top off your dishes with an extra splurge of calories like cheese or milk or eggs.
Occasional ice cream or pie is all good. If you’re a whiz with the oven and the mixer — bake your own muffins that include whole grains, churn your own fruit sorbet or bake a scrumptious squash brownie with chocolate avocado frosting.
Get into smoothies
They say the best and easiest way to fill up is with a smoothie. Healthy smoothies with your blend of fresh or frozen fruit are an awesome way to get calories, vitamins and ant oxidants into your system. Some even add flax seed and chia seeds for extra protein power.
Snack with a punch
Nuts, peanut butter, dried fruits, and cheese are great to grab and go snacks that pack a punch of energy and healthy nutrients. Vegetables and a healthy dip are great as well as some lean meat and rich cheese.