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Maybe You Need to Eat MORE

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There’s so much talk today about weight loss and programs to help you lose weight and eat less.  This post is for those of you who are looking to gain weight or needing help to maintain your weight.  There are cases where the answer to your health challenges is to eat MORE, not less.

Here are reasons you may need to add more calories to your daily intake. Add more calories if you are:

  1. Growing. Children need more calories to keep up with their growth and development.
  2. Growing a human. If you are pregnant, you are literally eating for two.
  3. Nursing a baby. Again, you are sharing all your food with your little one.
  4. Underweight. Of course the answer isn’t to overeat, but you likely need to consume more calories.
  5. Exercising intensely. Even if you’re wanting to lose weight, you don’t want too great of a caloric deficit if you’re exercising intensely.  The goal should be to lose no more than 2 lbs/week.  Beyond this, the kidneys get overly stressed and the weight loss is difficult to sustain and maintain.
  6. In some cases, trying to lose weight.  Yes, that’s right.  I have seen so many people who, in effort to lose weight quickly, start under-eating.  When you eat too little, your metabolism slows down to help you conserve energy.

For all of these, again, the answer isn’t to go crazy and overeat, which can leave you feeling tired and bloated.  Each situation is unique and, in some cases, you may only need to add 100 calories/day (a piece of fruit for example)… while in others, such as a person who is training for a marathon, you may need to add an extra 500-1000 calories/day.  

So the million dollar question is…

How can I add more calories without overeating, feeling stuffed or sacrificing health in any way? 

There are lots of ways to do this.  Listed below are several healthy meal options with several ways to increase the caloric content using nutrient-dense whole foods.

Salads are an excellent way to get lots of nutrition.  Most people, however, think of salads as a non-filling side dish.  Not the way I do it!

Add to salads:  

  • Chopped nuts or seeds- walnuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and hemp seeds are my favorites
  • Avocado or guacamole
  • Beans and lentils- you can add a full cup of beans or lentils to your salad to make it a game changing main dish!
  • Nut or avocado-based salad dressings
  • Hummus or bean dips

Smoothies, like salads often are thought of as being “light” meals … but they can easily be ramped up to any caloric amount that you need to get.  I have supported clients with green smoothies for almost any condition you can think of.  Smoothies are easy to customize and can be anywhere from 100-1000 calories depending on your goals.

Add to smoothies:

  • Nuts and/or seeds- walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds or hemp seeds are excellent
  • Protein powders (more important for heavy exercise)
  • You can also go a bit unconventional and add plain oatmeal or cooked lentils
  • Higher glycemic fruit
  • Lecithin powder

Oatmeal is another great way to get more calories. Add to oatmeal:

  • Nuts and/or seeds- walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds or hemp seeds are excellent
  • Dried fruit
  • Fresh fruit

Also, I love doing “super bowls”… these can be rich in calories and tons of other nutrients.  They are so easy to customize to whatever you like and have on hand.

Add to your super bowl:

  • A whole grain- rice, quinoa, buckwheat
  • Starchy vegetables- sweet potatoes, winter squash, cooked beets
  • Plant protein- lentils (red, green, French) or beans (kidney, black, pinto, chickpeas)
  • Chopped nuts or seeds- walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Avocado or guacamole 
  • Hummus or bean dips
  • Any other vegetables that you like

If what you are doing isn’t working, it’s time to try something new.  Perhaps you need to add more calories to your diet.  If you’re not getting the results that you want, I’d love to help you.  Feel free to reach out to the clinic at 269-204-6525.

Nothing said or implied in this post is intended to treat, cure, diagnose or prevent any disease.  It does not take the place of a health care practitioner.  It is for educational purposes only.