What Can I Eat To Gain Weight? – The Healthy Way
The majority of people visit nutrition websites to find out how to lose weight. Well I am different. I realize the food does so much more. I have been studying nutrition and alternative medicine for 3 years. My husband has a high metabolism and my daughter has Marfans Syndrome so it takes quite a bit of food to get either of them to gain weight healthier, no processed or fast foods for us. The question at hand is, What can I eat to gain weight?. I am here to share foods that are healthy for you but will help you to gain weight. The goal is to increase your calories.
The Difference In The Type Of Food Matters
We already understand what makes us fat and what makes us skinny but is there a difference in the type of foods? YES! We don’t need to eat junk food because we are underweight or have a high metabolism. We need to figure what healthy foods will be calorie dense and allow us to put on healthy pounds. High calorie, omega 3 fats, protein rich foods will benefit and assist us. When you go food shopping, read nutrition facts food labels, bring the list, stick to the outer aisles. The meat market, produce, seafood, dairy, and the deli section is OK. Yes some cooking oils will be in another aisle but we want to avoid the boxed and processed food products that are masquerading as natural food.
Avocados are a great source of Omega 3 fats. They also provide our bodies with potassium, vitamins b, e, fiber. There are 3 main varieties of avocados, the Mexican, Guatemalan and the west Indian. They increase your healthy cholesterol by 11%. As a few suggestions, you can slice them up to add to a salad, spread on toast in luie of mayo, use as an oil to cook with or make homemade guacamole with tacos for dinner. If you have a latex allergy, avoid touch or eating avocados. One medium avocado is 234 calories.
Bananas are known for their potassium but also provide fiber, vitamin b6, vitamin c, riboflavin, magnesium, biotin and carbohydrates. A great health benefit is regulating blood pressure and replenishes the electrolytes in the body, great after a workout at the gym. Bananas also regulate your bowels. Men have a decreased risk of stroke if their diet has more potassium. A small banana has 89 calories. A medium banana has 105 calories. Bananas can cause an allergic reaction in those with a latex allergy.
Olives and Olive Oil
Olives are a super food in my opinion, great source of omega 9 fats and antioxidants. Olive oil is great to cook with and use in homemade personal products. Personally I love garlic stuffed olives myself. Olives contain oleic acid, mixed tocopherols, vitamin e, oleuroprein and flavonoids. The health benefits is reduced risk of chronic and degenerative conditions like atherosclerosis, diabetes, colon cancer, asthma and arthritis. The monounsaturated fats in olives makes it less likely to be oxidized in the body than some other fats. Your bad cholesterol count decreases with olive oil. It is highly recommended buying the organic, cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. 1 tbsp. of this olive oil is 120 calories.
Seafood is Good Food
Steamed clams is something that I grew up eating on occasion. I remember eating them raw with my dad in the kitchen as my mother shook her head wondering how we could do that and it was really good. Clams range in size depending on species and location. Although these are not super calorie dense, you can eat a lot of them and they are super good for you. Great source of vitamin b12, other b vitamins, iron, selenium, manganese, copper, zinc and potassium. Anyone looking to build more muscle will tell you that protein is the key and clams are a primary source. They lower bad cholesterol too which makes for a healthy heart. A 3.5 ounce serving of steamed clam has 148 calories. Be sure to purchase from a reputable market.
Wild caught salmon is an excellent source of omega-3’s, vitamin d, b12, selenium, vitamin b3, vitamin b5, vitamin b6, protein, phosphorus, potassium and biotin. My recommendation is wild caught over farmed due to the studies that have proven carcinogen levels are higher in farmed fish. A 3.5 oz serving has 116 calories.
Swordfish is my preferred fish when I want to eat clean. I’m sure you have noticed a theme by now with the omega-3 fats, all fish have this healthy fat and that is why fish oil capsules are popular among the vitamins. Speaking of vitamins, swordfish have vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, protein and potassium. A 3 oz serving has 146 calories.
Red snapper has a mild flavor to it. This fish is a great source of protein, potassium, selenium, and vitamin B12. The red snapper contains 128 calories per 3.5 ounces. The very first fish my daughter tried with me is Chilean Sea Bass. Absolutely delicious, especially prepared correctly, mine was at PF Chang restaurant. Chilean sea bass is white, large flakes and is so tender it can melt in your mouth. This delight has lots of protein but no iron. Chilean Sea Bass has magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, sodium, zinc, vitamin A, vitamin D, and calcium. A 6oz serving has 170 calories.
Remember the whole idea here is to find healthy foods that will help you gain the necessary weight without harming your health, which takes more than a higher calorie count. This is the opposite of dieting so when you think of portion sizes being the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand, that is restriction. I am recommending double the sizes given in the sections, so for example if you want salmon for lunch have 6 oz with starchy vegetables or rice. I am not opposed to the occasional pizza if that’s what you are craving, even I give into that once a month.
Meat and Dairy Included
Of course, you can disregard this if you are allergic. Whole milk has been marketed to us for a couple of decades as being healthy and it is very good for us especially for gaining weight. I drink it as often as I can, I cannot tolerate low fat or skim milk. Skim and low fat removes the essential vitamin A and has to be now added. Cow’s milk protein is 80% casein and 20% whey. Both of these are proteins but they have different physical characteristics. Whole milk has 3.25% milk fat. Look for organic milk, it comes from cows that are grass fed and raised without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, antibiotic and growth hormones.
Milk also gives us a complete protein called whey that is high in glutamine. Whey is not only given to body builders but to anyone recovering from surgery, afflicted with AIDS and recovering from Cancer. The high level of protein prevents wasting syndrome.
Have you ever wondered why your mom would suggest a glass of warm milk before bed to help you sleep? Part of the whey protein is called alpha-lactalbumin. This has a high amount of the sleepy amino acid known as tryptophan. Milk also contains carbohydrates, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, and a small amount of vitamin E and K.
Do you drink coffee? Half and Half is exactly what is sounds like, half milk, half cream with between 10.5% and 18% milk fat. I like my coffee with heavy cream, primarily because I can’t stand too much coffee taste. If you choose heavy cream, that has a minimum of 36% milk fat, also great for soups, cheese sauces, and other baking dishes. If you follow the wild diet then you would put a touch of butter or ghee in your coffee, I have yet to try this.
I can’t go through every cheese on the planet or this would become a book. So I will cover a very commonly used and personal favorite, Cheddar Cheese. Cheese is another staple of American life so much so that the government used to give out large blocks of cheese to welfare recipients, processed cheese, it’s a food product. Cheddar cheese has higher amounts of calcium, phosphorus, sodium and vitamin A than magnesium, potassium, and selenium. Cheddar has very little copper, iron, manganese, zinc, niacin, pantothenic acid, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin E and K.
There’s no need to skimp on the beef. Grass-fed cattle are much healthier than their grain fed counterparts. Commercial farmers not only feed their cows with grain but with ground up animal parts, and GMO crops like corn. They are also shot up with antibiotics and growth hormones in order to gain a profit quicker. This is bad news for us. Grass-fed cows are allowed to graze in large pastures relaxed and happy. So what does this mean to us? Delicious flavor, leaner meat, 4x higher vitamin E, fewer calories and more healthy omega-3’s from the grass they consume which lowers cancer risks and lower cholesterol. A 4oz serving of grass fed beef has 240 calories. The average person eats at least a 10oz steak so that is 600 calories minus any onions, garlic, butter, or mushrooms on top.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it’s also a great time to have your steak and eggs. Eggs are great source of omega-3’s and have been known to lower your bad cholesterol. Eggs and bacon is a traditional choice for breakfast as well, so the point I’m driving is to have your me and your eggs so that you have protein to get your day started. And yes you can buy organic bacon. The first time I had it I was in heaven, it was divinely good and so much better than your store bought packaged bacon that has nitrates and fillers. When a nitrate turns into a nitrite in your mouth and is absorbed into the body it can turn into cancerous cells. This is why it is very important to learn about the differences what’s in our food. Most deli products have nitrates in them so limiting the consumption is beneficial to your health. If you were to cook up one slice of Applegate’s thick cut bacon it has 50 cal, most of us have two slices or more. I’ve had their brand and they are good, I also get their hot dogs.
BBQ pork ribs always remind me of summer and since my husband is from the south, he’s great at grilling. Any meats that you buy should be organic, grass fed and purchased from the farmer directly if it’s available in your area. I already talked about the importance of organic vs commercial so we won’t go there again. Different cuts of pork will yield different calories. For a 3oz portion of braised spare ribs, it contains 330 calories according to the USDA. Pork will have a certain amount of iron and if you prefer, lamb is delicious and has more iron in the meat. I’ve included the fact sheet below in the resources for the cuts of meat.
Why Does The Body Need Protein?
Anyone who has ever done weight training at the gym for exercise or competition understands that protein helps build and repair muscles. When we build our muscles, the fibers actually tear and expand. Do you remember getting muscle soreness after a good workout? That’s it right there! A little help for those sore muscles is pickles and olives, the electrolytes help the healing process which lessens the soreness. Protein rich foods also make us feel fuller longer, they take longer to break down in our system.
Proteins are the building blocks of amino acids that assist in our hormones, hair, skin, nails, tendons and ligaments. One of the problems with protein deficiency is weight loss. Look at most diets and they will tell you to cut down or cut out meats. They will also try to tell you that meats are linked to serious health conditions such as high cholesterol, heart attack, stroke, and cancer. What they don’t understand is the difference between commercial farming and organic, grass fed, pasture raised animals producing the healthy meat. The way you cook the meat matters too, overcooking aka well done, contains more carcinogens.
Back to why for this article, meats contain the necessary protein amounts to help you gain the weight you need and want. Seventy percent or more protein is supplied to us from animal products, plant based foods are indeed healthy and should be incorporated into your meals but not as the only resource.
What’s For Dessert?
Does anyone here love chocolate? Well dark chocolate is very healthy for you and I will be happy to explain why. The primary reason why they say that dark chocolate is good for us is the flavonoids in the cocoa bean. Chocolate is very good for our heart, flavonoids are antioxidants and may protect against damage to cholesterol and the lining of our arteries. They prevent excessive clotting, they don’t elevate your cholesterol levels and chocolate provides arc nine which is an amino acid that causes your blood vessels to dilate regulating the blood flow, inflammation and blood pressure. A 3 1/2 ounce serving of semisweet chocolate contains 479 cal. Chocolate also contains calcium, copper, iron copper manganese, phosphorous, potassium, selenium, sodium, zinc, vitamin A and vitamin E.
I think almost everybody has eaten peanut butter throughout their lives unless of course you’re allergic to peanuts. Peanut butter goes with many other foods including chocolate. There are several brands of organic peanut butter, and in my house we use it the brand full circle. The serving size is 2 tablespoons, it has 210 cal per serving and is a great source of potassium, vitamin E, and Folate. The calcium and iron is much lower peanut butter but it is there. You can even purchase powdered peanut butter and put it in your smoothies.
When I was growing up I was only aware of peanut butter but now they have quite a few nut butters to choose from. I’ve tried the sunflower nut butter which I like and the almond butter which is pretty good. I Have not tried the cashew butter, hazelnut, Macadamia, pecan, pistachio, or walnut butter. The calorie content of is relatively the same with a few variances. Again the calorie content will depend on the brand and serving size. It’s a tasty way of adding those additional calories that you need to help you maintain or gain weight.
These are but a few things that I have mentioned that will help you out. If you have any suggestions or want to learn more about a specific food leave me a comment below.
the encyclopedia of healing foods by Michael Murray n.d.