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Healthy Weight Center

Healthy Ways to Gain Weight

08/28/2009

Question:

I am 19 years old, about 5`10" and 120lbs. So I need help looking for a healthy way to gain weight. Can you help me?

Answer:

Thanks for your question. With the growing rate of obesity in this country, it is much easier to gain weight than it is to lose it.

That said, there are several ways to put on weight, but some are healthier than others. For example, you can adopt a diet of McDonalds three meals a day and sit on the couch for hours on end watching That 70's Show reruns. This will certainly help you gain weight, but most of it would be fat.

Here are 5 healthy tips for weight gain:

1. Replace water with 100% fruit juice. Juice is a great source of vitamins and minerals, and also calories. An 8 oz glass of orange juice can add 120 calories to every meal.

2. Include an 8 oz glass of skim or 1% milk at all meals. Milk is also very healthy, and most of us don't drink enough. Milk adds another 100 calories to each meal.

3. Snack on nuts. Nuts are an excellent source of protein, zinc, fiber and FAT. Fortunately, the fat is mostly monounsaturated-the type that helps lower cholesterol and protect your heart. There are 9 calories in one gram of fat (and about 14 grams of fat in a 1 oz handful of nuts).

4. Drink a smoothie between meals and before bed. Smoothies made with yogurt, juice, fruit and dried powdered milk are loaded with calcium, vitamin C and potassium. They're also very high in calories and low in fat. A strawberry X-treme smoothie from Smoothie King can rack up 370 calories. You can make smoothies at home as well with your favorite ingredients.

5. Lift weights. Cardio exercise (such as running, biking or swimming) is great for burning calories and losing weight. Lifting weights or using nautilus machines are excellent for building muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat, though it's more compact. As you increase your calorie intake and build muscle, you should succeed in gaining 'healthy' weight. Most experts suggest lifting weights only 2-3 times (every other day) to allow muscles to recover.

Best of luck to you!

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Response by:

Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD Lisa Cicciarello Andrews, MEd, RD, LD
Adjunct Faculty
University of Cincinnati