Underweight? 5 Healthy Ways to Gain Weight

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Step on the scale or look in the mirror. Are you underweight?

In the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, researchers found that an estimated that an estimated 1.5 percent of adults over age 20 are underweight. That might not sound like a lot. But if you’re underweight, it’s time to take action.

With so much emphasis on “losing weight,” you might think being underweight isn’t a big deal. But being underweight puts your health at risk in different ways.

For example, if you’re underweight, your risk goes up for bone fractures, illness, anemia, hair loss, fertility issues, and delayed growth and development.

If you need to gain weight, is there a healthy way to do it? Yes. Here are five things you can do to achieve your goal weight:

  1. Eat more calories. Take a look at how many calories you’re eating per day. Chances are, it’s not enough. On average, adults need about 2,000 calories a day. Need more calories? Add nuts, seeds, and cheese to foods you already eat.
  2. Choose nutrient-dense foods. You could add more calories to your diet by eating cookies, ice cream, and candy. But these foods are low in nutrients, and they’re not healthy. Instead, eat more nutrient-dense foods like lean beef, fish, poultry, brown rice, and whole grains.
  3. Snack more. When you’re trying to gain weight, three small squares a day might not be enough to tip the scale in the right direction. The solution? Snack between meals. Try trail mix, granola bars, protein drinks, crackers, or peanut butter.
  4. Try mini-meals. Sometimes you might not feel hungry at all. Your mood, health, and even certain medications can have an impact on your appetite. But you still need to eat. Your body needs calories and nutrients for best health. If you don’t feel like eating a big meal, try mini-meals more frequently throughout the day like this single-serving pepperoni pizza.
  5. Strengthen your muscles. You can also gain weight by strengthening your muscles. Strength training activities like weight lifting, pilates, and yoga, can help build lean muscle tissue that will make you stronger and healthier.

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