Healthy Weight Gain

Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD

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 is not burned off in exercise. Increasing daily caloric intake by 500 calories/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 get 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 & dried fruit)
• Cook your meat and vegetables with olive oil
• Drink low-fat (2-percent) 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 in 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 & 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, 1/4 cup granola, 20 nuts
• One pack Nature Valley Granola Bars, one fruit & two 2-percent string cheeses
• Quaker Oatmeal Square & 12 oz 2-percent milk
• Peanut butter & banana sandwich on wheat bread (2 Tbs. PB)
• One yogurt with 1/4 cup granola, 1/2 cup fruit & 15 nuts

600-Calorie Snacks
• Large whole wheat bagel with 3-4 slices ham, two slices 2-percent cheese & one serving wheat   crackers or pretzels
• 20 oz low-fat chocolate milk & peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread (1 Tbs. PB)
• 300-calorie energy bar, one banana & 16 oz 2-percent 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), one bag Baked Lays &   one fruit
• 2 cups cereal w/ 2-percent milk, sprinkle 3 Tbs. almonds in cereal ; plus one yogurt or 2-percent   string cheese

800-Calorie Snacks
• 2 cups high-calorie cereal (~200 calories/ serving) w/ 2-percent milk, one banana and two pieces of   wheat toast w/1 Tbs. peanut butter on each
• Homemade Shake: 2 cups 2-percent milk, one Yoplait Thick & Creamy vanilla yogurt, one scoop ice   cream, 1-2 Tbs. peanut butter
• Three Eggo whole-wheat waffles w/1 Tbs. peanut butter on each, one fruit & 16 oz low-fat chocolate   milk
• One whole wheat bagel w/ 2 Tbs. cream cheese
• One 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/ one scoop whey protein   mixed in & one banana
• 2 whole-grain Hot Pockets, one individual bag reduced-fat Sun Chips & 16 oz 2-percent or low-fat   chocolate milk

1000-Calorie Snacks
• One whole-wheat bagel w/ 2 Tbs. peanut butter, 1 cup high calorie cereal & 1 cup granola
  w/2-percent milk
• High-calorie energy bar (250-350 calories), one individual bottle (20 oz) 2-percent milk, one pack   peanut butter crackers & a banana
• Two Yoplait Whips or Thick & Creamy yogurts w/1 cup granola mixed in, two pieces of whole-wheat   toast w/1 Tbs. peanut butter on each & 16 oz 2-percent milk
• 2 Quaker Oatmeal Squares, one individual bottle (20 oz) low-fat chocolate milk & 1/2-cup nuts
• Subway 12” sandwich w/meat, cheese, sauce & veggies, one bag Sun Chips, one bag apples & one   individual bottled juice or 2-percent milk
• Two peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches on wheat bread (2 Tbs. PB & two jelly on each), 16 oz
  2-percent milk & one banana or chewy granola bar