It may sound strange to provide tips to boost calories when many people are trying to cut back. But some people have difficulty meeting even the minimum calories in their recommended ranges, whether because of lack of hunger, loss of appetite, or just out of the habit of eating too little. Eating within your calorie range is important for your body to work properly. In addition, you need to eat enough calories to meet nutritional needs, maintain a healthy metabolic rate and stay energized. Eating too little will actually hurt your weight loss efforts. Many people make the mistake of "the less I eat, the more I'll lose," but that's not necessarily true.
Increasing your calorie intake helps you gain weight. To help you put on quality pounds in the form of lean muscle, make the calories come from healthy sources. If you're underweight because of injury, surgery or illness, adding nutrient-rich calories will help you heal. Even if you simply want to look healthier and feel more energetic, having a balanced meal plan, along with engaging in appropriate exercise, will help you reach your goals.
Here are 5 easy ways to increase your calorie intake:
1. Eat Several Meals Or Snacks
Instead of eating two or three meals a day, try to eat five or six smaller meals throughout the day. This can help you increase your caloric intake and prevent you from overeating at a single meal. You should also snack on high-calorie foods in between the meals. Good snack options include:
- Nut butter on toast or crackers
- Spreads like hummus or guacamole on crackers or toast
- Fresh and dried fruit
2. Drink High-Calorie Beverages
If you're too busy to snack or sit down to another small meal, consider drinking high-calorie drinks like protein shakes or smoothies. These should be healthy beverages that offer some nutritional benefit, not just caffeine and sugar.
- Try using coconut milk to make your drinks. Coconut milk has healthy fat with high calories. If you'd like fewer calories, you could use almond or hemp milk.
- For extra calories and protein, make super-strength milk. Mix 1 quart of milk and 1 cup of instant non-fat dry milk powder. Stir this for about five minutes and store it in your refrigerator. Use it just as you would regular milk.
3. Choose Higher Calorie, Nutrient-Dense Foods
Look for high-calorie foods that are also considered nutrient-dense. Many of these foods are good sources of protein, fiber, and healthy fat. Include these high-calorie foods in your diet:
- Whole grains: whole wheat or pumpernickel bread, bran cereals, granola, bran muffins, bagels, wheat germ and flaxseed
- Fruit: Bananas, pineapple, raisins and other dried fruit, fruit juices, avocados
- Vegetables: Peas, corn, potatoes, winter squash (acorn, spaghetti, butternut)
- Dairy: Cheeses (especially hard cheeses like cheddar), ice cream, yogurt, and full-fat or "whole" milk and milk products, like cottage cheese, sour cream, cream cheese.
- Meat/Plant proteins: Beef, pork, chicken, nut butter like peanut butter, beans, and seeds
4. Add Healthy Fats
Make small changes to your normal meals. Avoid using low-fat or low-calorie products. Add healthy fats, like olive oil, to veggies and other low-calorie meals. For example, steam broccoli and add a drizzle of olive oil at the end.
5. Avoid Empty Calories
While many processed foods are high in calories, they're not very high in nutrients which make them empty calories. This is especially true if the processed food is high in added sugar. This means the calories you consume should be nutritious (nutrient-dense) to help your body stay healthy and strong, instead of empty calories, which provide no nutritional benefits. For instance, an avocado is high in both calories and nutrients (such as fiber, B vitamins, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and more), while a donut is high in calories but offers few nutrients other than refined carbohydrates and sugar.
- You should also pay attention to empty calories when it comes to beverages. Sodas, alcohol, and milkshakes are all high in calories but offer a little health benefit.
- Instead of drinking soda or even diet drinks, drink milk, juice, and sports drinks for added calories and nutrients.
For people who want to gain weight are required to work out and have proper and healthy diet in a consistent manner. Practicing good exercise and healthy eating habits can help you gain weight. In this post, I shared with you 5 easy ways to increase your calorie intake.
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