Healthy Weight Gain

Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD
Ben Hogan Sports Medicine Sports Dietitian

Gaining weight alone is not the only goal; the goal should be to gain lean muscle mass. In order to gain a pound a week, an athlete has to consume 3,500 extra calories that are not burned off in exercise. Increasing daily caloric intake by 500 calories a day for seven days should result in one pound of weight gain in a week.

The additional food should come from quality calories, which are nutrient-dense whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fat. If you add lots of unhealthy fat to your diet in order to gain calories (cream sauce, dressing, fried food, etc.), you will likely add unwanted fat to your body, too. So, the goal is to consume healthy calories often!

Examples of Adding Healthy Calories:
• Add peanut butter, butter and/or jelly to toast, bagels, whole grain waffles, etc.
• Add peanut butter, nuts and a banana to oatmeal
• Eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on thick wheat bread as dessert after meals
• Add 1 cup granola and dried fruit to your morning cereal or yogurt
• Add avocado to sandwiches, wraps and salads
• Snack on high-calorie trail mix (high calorie/whole grain cereal, granola, nuts and dried fruit)
• Cook your meat and vegetables with olive oil
• Drink low-fat (2%) milk or low-fat chocolate milk with meals
• Drink a shake with high-calorie powder (Muscle Milk Collegiate) and low-fat milk twice a day, once right before bed (can also mix peanut butter, honey a banana, etc., for more calories)

• Eat 6-7 meals a day; do not go longer than 2-3 hours without eating
• Do NOT skip breakfast
• Maximize each eating opportunity; make sure you have whole grains, lean protein and healthy fat; don’t settle for fried food or skipping a meal
• Be prepared; bring snacks from home so that you can eat between classes in addition to before and after practices
• Consume an energy bar or shake during your workout and drink a sports drink
• Eat immediately after a workout (4:1 carbohydrate to protein snack)
• Consistency is key! You will not be able to gain weight if you only try 4-5 days/week; you have to make it a priority and maximize eating seven days/week

400-Calorie Snacks
Large whole wheat bagel w/2 Tbs. peanut butter Homemade Trail Mix 1 cup dry cereal, ¼ cup granola, 20 nuts 1 pack Nature Valley Granola Bars, 1 fruit & 2-2% string cheese Quaker Oatmeal Square & 12 oz 2% milk Peanut butter & banana sandwich on wheat bread (2 Tbs. PB) 1 yogurt with ¼ cup granola, ½ cup fruit & 15 nuts

600-Calorie Snacks
Large whole wheat bagel with 3-4 slices ham, 2 slices 2% cheese & 1 serving wheat crackers or pretzels 20 oz low-fat chocolate milk & peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread (1 Tbs. PB) 300 calorie energy bar, 1 banana & 16 oz 2% milk 20 oz Smoothie King Smoothie with protein & 250-300 calorie energy bar Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread (2 Tbs. PB & 2 Tbs. jelly), 1 bag baked lays & 1 fruit 2 cups cereal w/2% milk, sprinkle 3 Tbs. almonds in cereal & 1 yogurt or 2% string cheese

800-Calorie Snacks
2 cups high calorie cereal (~200 calories/ serving) w/2% milk & 1 banana & 2 pieces wheat toast w/1 Tbs. peanut butter on each Homemade Shake 2 cups 2% milk, 1 Yoplait Thick & Creamy vanilla yogurt, 1 scoop ice cream, 1-2 Tbs. peanut butter 3 Eggo whole wheat waffles w/1 Tbs. peanut butter on each, 1 fruit & 16 oz low-fat chocolate milk 1 whole wheat bagel w/ 2 Tbs. cream cheese, 1 pack Nature Valley granola bars & 16 oz low-fat chocolate milk High calorie energy bar (250-350 calories), 16 oz low-fat chocolate milk w/1 scoop whey protein mixed in & 1 banana 2 Whole grain Hot Pockets, 1 individual bag reduced-fat Sun Chips & 16 oz 2% or low-fat chocolate milk

1,000-Calorie Snacks
1 whole wheat bagel w/ 2 Tbs. peanut butter, 1 cup high calorie cereal & 1 cup granola w/2% milk High calorie energy bar (250-350 calories), 1 individual bottle (20 oz) 2% milk, 1 pack peanut butter crackers & a banana 2 Yoplait Whips or Thick & Creamy yogurts w/1 cup granola mix in, 2 pieces whole wheat toast w/1 Tbs. peanut butter on each & 16 oz 2% milk 2 Quaker Oatmeal Squares, 1 individual bottle (20 oz) low-fat chocolate milk & ½ cup nuts Subway 12” sandwich w/meat, cheese, sauce, & veggies, 1 bag Sun Chips, 1 bag apples & 1 individual bottle juice or 2% milk 2 peanut butter & jelly sandwiches on wheat bread (2 Tbs. PB & 2 jelly on each), 16 oz 2% milk & 1 banana or chewy granola bar