Boosting Your Calories

The trick to gaining weight is to eat larger-than-normal portions consistently for three meals per day and one or two snacks. If you have a busy schedule, finding the time to eat can be the biggest challenge to boosting your calories. You might need to pack a stash of portable snacks in your gym bag if you do most of your eating outside the home. To take in the extra calories needed to gain weight, you should eat frequently throughout the day, if that fits your lifestyle. Plan to have food on hand for every eating opportunity, or try these tips: eat an extra snack, such as a bedtime peanut butter sandwich with a glass of milk, and eat higher-calorie foods.

If you eat foods that are compact and dense (e.g., granola instead of puffed rice), more calories can fit into your stomach with less volume. Keith became an avid food-label reader; he learned that 8 ounces (240 ml) of orange juice has 110 calories, while 8 ounces of cran-apple juice has 160 calories; a cup of (canned) green beans has 40 calories, a cup of (canned) corn, 140; a cup of Bran Flakes, 200 calories; a cup of granola, 780. He then chose more calorie-dense foods.

When you make your food selections, keep in mind that fat is the most concentrated form of calories. One teaspoon of fat (butter, oil, margarine, or mayonnaise) has 36 calories; the same amount of carbohydrate or protein has only 16 calories. Most protein-rich foods contain fat (such as the cream in cheese, the grease in hamburgers, and the oil in peanut butter) and therefore tend to be calorie dense. But some of the forms of fat in such foods are bad for your health: the saturated fat in cheese, beef, butter, and bacon.

Try to limit your intake of bad fat and focus on healthful fat, such as peanut butter, walnuts, almonds, avocado, olive oil, and oily fish such as salmon and tuna. You should still eat a basic high-carbohydrate sports diet. Eating too much fatty food leaves your muscles underfueled.

These choices alone in one day will boost your calories by 890!

When food seems like a medicine fC^^i and every calorie counts, boost BRANr.e s—

yc and every calorie counts, boost BRANr.e s—

The following foods and beverages can help you healthfully boost your calorie intake:

Cold cereal. Choose dense cereals (as opposed to flaked and puffed types), such as granola, Grape-Nuts, and Wheat Chex. Top with nuts, sunflower seeds, ground flaxseed, raisins, bananas, or other fruits.

Hot cereal. Cooking with milk instead of water adds calories and nutritional value. Add still more calories with mix-ins such as powdered milk, margarine, peanut butter, walnuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, ground flaxseed, and dried fruit.

  1. Apple, cranberry, cran-apple, grape, pineapple, and most of the juice blends (such as mango-orange-banana) have more calories than do grapefruit, orange, or tomato juice. To increase the calorie value of orange juice, use frozen concentrate and add less water than the directions indicate—or simply drink a larger glassful.
  2. Bananas, pineapple, mangos, raisins, dates, dried apricots, and other dried fruits contain more calories than watery fruits such as grapefruit, plums, and peaches. Blend milk with fruit and enjoy fruit smoothies.
  3. To boost the calorie value of milk, add 1/4 cup (30 g) of powdered milk to 1 cup (240 ml) of 2-percent milk. Or try malt powder, Ovaltine, Carnation Instant Breakfast, Nesquik, and other flavorings. Mix these up by the quart so they are waiting for you in the refrigerator. You can also make blender drinks such as milk shakes and fruit smoothies. Fixing these kinds of drinks is far less expensive than buying canned liquid meal supplements, which are typically just milk-based formulas with added vitamins. Plus, your homemade drinks taste much better. See chapter 24 for recipes.
  4. Spread with generous amounts of peanut butter; soft, tub margarines (preferably made with canola oil); jam; or honey.
  5. Select hearty, dense breads (as opposed to fluffy types) such as sprouted wheat, honey bran, rye, and pumpernickel. The bigger and more thickly sliced, the better. Spread with a moderate amount of margarine or mayonnaise. Stuff with tuna, chicken, hummus, or other fillings. Peanut butter and jelly makes an inexpensive, healthful, and high-calorie choice.
  6. Hearty lentil, split-pea, minestrone, and barley soups have more calories than brothy chicken and beef types, unless the broth is chock-full of veggies and meat. To make canned soups (such as tomato or chowder) more substantial, add evaporated milk in place of water or regular milk, or add extra powdered milk. Garnish with margarine, parmesan cheese, and croutons. If you wish to reduce your sodium intake, be sure to choose the reduced-sodium soups or homemade varieties.
  7. Beef, pork, and lamb tend to have more calories than do chicken or fish, but they also tend to have more saturated fat. Eat them in moderation, and choose lean cuts. To boost calories, saute chicken or fish in canola or olive oil, and add wine sauces and bread-crumb toppings.

Beans, legumes. Lentils, split-pea soup, chili with beans, bean burritos, limas, and other dried beans are not only calorie dense but also packed with protein and carbohydrate. Hummus (made with chickpeas) is an easy snack, dip, or sandwich filling.

  1. Peas, corn, carrots, winter squash, and beets have more calories than do green beans, broccoli, summer squash, and other watery veggies. Top with margarine, slivered almonds, and grated low-fat cheese. Add calories by stir-frying veggies in olive oil instead of steaming them.
  2. What may start out being low-calorie lettuce can quickly become a substantial meal by adding cottage cheese, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), sunflower seeds, assorted vegetables, chopped walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, tuna fish, lean meat, croutons, and a liberal dousing of salad dressing made with heart-healthy oil, preferably olive or canola.
  3. Add soft, tub margarine and extra powdered milk to mashed potatoes. Although you might be tempted to add lots of butter and gravy for extra calories, think again. You'd also be adding saturated fat, which is unhealthful for your heart. Reduced-fat sour cream and low-fat gravies would be better alternatives.
  4. By selecting desserts with nutritional value, you can enjoy treats as well as nourish your body. Try oatmeal raisin cookies, fig bars, chocolate pudding, strawberry shortcake, low-fat frozen yogurt, apple crisp, or other fruit desserts. Blueberry muffins, cornbread with honey, banana bread, and other sweet breads and muffins can double as dessert. See the recipes in chapter 17 for ideas.
  5. Instead of a small snack, think "second lunch" and "second dinner." A second lunch at 3:00 p.m. or second dinner at 10:00 p.m. is an excellent way to boost your calorie intake. Pack an extra sandwich. At dinner, cook enough for a second meal. If you don't feel hungry, just think of the food as the weight-gain medicine you need to take.

If you aren't interested in or able to eat a whole second meal, at least enjoy some snacks. Healthful snack choices include fruit yogurt, low-fat cheese and crackers, peanuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, granola, pretzels, English muffins, multigrain bagels (with low-fat cream cheese and jelly), bran muffins, pizza, peanut butter on crackers, milk shakes, instant breakfast drinks, hot cocoa, fruit smoothies, bananas, dried fruits, trail mix, and even sandwiches.

Alcohol. Moderate amounts of beer and wine can stimulate your appetite and add extra calories, particularly when consumed with snacks such as peanuts and popcorn. Because alcohol offers little nutritional value, do not substitute it for juices, milk, or other wholesome beverages. Do not drink if you are underage, and never drink alcohol shortly before an event. It has a dehydrating effect, to say nothing of its potential to blunt reflexes, create problems with hypoglycemia, and hurt performance.

The sample menus in table 14.1 implement some of these suggestions. You can see how smart choices can accumulate into a hefty, carbohydrate-rich calorie intake that can help you meet your weight goals.

Table 14.1 Sample Weight Gain Menus

Approximate

Approximate

Menu plan 1

calories Menu plan 2

calories

Breakfast

16 oz (480 ml) orange juice

200

16 oz (480 ml) pineapple juice

280

6 pancakes

600

1 cup granola

500

1/4 cup syrup

200

1/4 cup raisins

120

1 pat margarine

50

16 oz (480 ml) low-fat milk

200

8 oz (240 ml) low-fat milk

100

1 large banana

130

Total

1150

Total

1230

Lunch

4 slices hearty bread

400

1 7 in. (18 cm) pita pocket

240

6 oz (175 g) can tuna

200

6 oz (175 g) turkey breast

300

4 tbsp light mayo

200

2 tbsp light mayo

100

1 bowl lentil soup

250

16 oz (480 ml) apple juice

250

2 oatmeal cookies

100

1 medium muffin

300

16 oz (480 ml) low-fat milk

200

1 cup fruit yogurt

230

Total

1350

Total

1420

Second lunch

2 slices hearty bread

200

1 large NY-style bagel

450

2 tbsp peanut butter

200

3 oz (90 g) light cheese

250

3 tbsp jelly

150

16 oz (480 ml) cran-grape juice

350

12 oz (360 ml) low-fat milk

150

2 tbsp chocolate powder

100

Total

800

Total

1050

Dinner

1 medium cheese pizza

1,400

6 oz (170 g) chicken breast

300

16 oz (480 ml) lemonade

200

2 large potatoes

400

2 pats margarine

100

1 cup peas

100

2 biscuits

300

2 tbsp honey

100

16 oz (480 ml) low-fat milk

200

Total

1600

Total

1500

Total calories for day

4,900

Total calories for day

5,200

60% carbohydrate (745 g)

65% carbohydrate (832 g)

15% protein (193 g)

15% protein (180 g)

25% fat (121 g)

20% fat (123 g)

Gaining Weight 101

Gaining Weight 101

Find out why long exhausting workouts may do more harm than good. Most of the body-building workout and diet regimens out there are designed for the guys that gain muscle and fat easily. They focus on eating less and working out more in order to cut the excess fat from their bodies while adding needed muscle tone.

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