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While many articles on the web discuss the various means to lose weight, the potential need for healthy ways to gain weight is often overlooked. Whether you are generally underweight or recovering from an extended illness, there are a number of things you can do—and several things to avoid—to gain a few pounds without putting your overall well-being at risk!

Do:

  1. Gradually begin to consume an extra 500-1000 calories per day in healthy foods
  2. Add protein sources and extra toppings to salads and other dishes
  3. Snack on items like nuts and yogurt between meals
  4. Eat more healthy fats, such as avocado and salmon
  5. Consider eating five or six small meals a day instead of three larger ones
  6. Opt for smoothies or protein shakes to correct vitamin deficiencies and help transition back to solid foods after illness
  7. Choose lean protein and carbohydrates in order to build or regain muscle mass

Don’t:

  1. Ignore calorie counts and fat content by eating anything and everything
  2. Consume empty calories through sweets or carbonated soft drinks
  3. Overeat as a means of speeding up the process of gaining weight, because this behavior will only upset your gut!

Smoothies are a good option following weight loss due to illness.

Image source: Ezra Bailey

If a recent physical and/or mental illness makes eating difficult, foods that are bland and easy to digest may help combat appetite loss. Some examples include plain rice, pasta, saltine crackers, mashed potatoes, and toast. Chilled foods may also help minimize any feelings of nausea due to less potent flavors and smells. Nutritious liquid calories like pure fruit juice and fortified milk are also acceptable replacements if solid foods are hard to swallow, literally or figuratively.

No matter the reason, gaining weight can be a tricky process. Generally speaking, the key is to add healthy calories over time rather than making a sudden drastic change to your eating habits. If your goal of weight gain is associated with an extended illness, a nutritionist should be able to offer a more detailed diet plan tailored to any specific needs.

Feature Image Source: 145.2 by daniel

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