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Need to gain weight rather than lose it? Here's how

Last updated on: September 1, 2010 18:34 IST

Need to gain weight rather than lose it? Here's how

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Are you underweight? Here's how to put some meat on those bones!

While most of us are obsessed with trying to shed some weight, there are many who are as keen to pack on a few pounds.

The fact of the matter is that if your body mass index (BMI) is less than 18.5, you are underweight. And to gain weight, you need to consume more calories every day from healthy foods and choose the right type of exercise.

Being underweight can occur due to a host of eating disorders and/or chronic diseases and it makes you more prone to heart failures, osteoporosis, fertility problems and cancers.

Here, we outline the right kind of foods to eat so you can gain weight the healthy way:

  • Go on a high-calorie, high-protein diet. Do not increase your intake of junk foods and greasy foods, these contain unhealthy fats.
  • Consume healthy fats like omega-3 essential fatty acids -- their sources include salmon and walnuts.
  • Protein-rich foods like lean meats, fish, poultry, egg-whites, nuts, seeds, pulses and legumes are good for you.
  • Make sure to include healthy carbohydrates like fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Eat five to six small balanced meals per day, rather than three large meals.
  • Protein powder and nutritional supplement drinks can be added on. You can mix the protein powder with milk or juices to improve the taste.

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Image: To gain weight, you need to consume more calories every day
Photographs: Bill Branson/Wiki Commons
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Accelerate your calorie intake

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  • Snack a lot. Consume a lot of high-calorie snacks (not junk foods) such as cheese sticks, milkshakes, muffins, dried fruits and yoghurt.
  • Drink a lot of fluids that supply nutrients and calories like milk, fresh fruit juice and energy drinks. Drink at least two glasses of milk daily and replace tea with milk.
  • Eat starchy vegetables like potatoes and corn more often.
  • Indulge in dark chocolates -- they contain antioxidants.
  • Include finger millet (ragi) in the diet -- it is a very rich source of iron and calcium.
  • Have eggs for breakfast.
  • Custard is good for putting on weight.
  • Eat bananas and two fresh figs (anjeer) daily. You can have banana or chikoo milkshakes.
  • Keep a record of your calorie intake each day. Try to increase it by checking the record and add on the calories until you gain weight.
  • Avoid caffeine and nicotine.

  • Image: Eggs are an energetic source of high calories
    Photographs: Paul Goyette/Wiki Commons
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    Exercise and food groups

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    Exercise is also important for healthy weight gain. Resistance-training exercises such as lifting weights will help to increase the muscle size and mass.

    Food groups

    You need to cover the following five food-groups:

    • Milk group: Milk, cheese, yoghurt, cottage cheese, ice cream
    • Meat group: Meat, fish, poultry, eggs
    • Vegetable group: Dried beans, peas, nuts, potatoes
    • Fruit group: Fruit juices and fruits like bananas, mango and chikoo
    • Grain group: Cereals, breads, rolls, pasta, pancakes, rice, muffins

    Image: Yoghurt, fruit and veggies cover three of the five essential food groups
    Photographs: Peggy Greb/Wiki Commons
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