Being lean sounds great, but being underweight because of poor nutrition doesn’t sound healthy at all. Being underweight, you are more likely to pick up infections. Dearth of vitamins and minerals will hinder your growth if you are still in the growing stage and not consuming enough calcium will definitely affect your bones. With insufficient weight, you are highly vulnerable to develop osteoporosis, too. Anemia, a condition in which the body doesn’t produce sufficient numbers of healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to the body, is the most frequently encountered blood disorder by underweight individuals.
No worries, for there is always a healthy meal plan for a safe and effective weight gain just like a healthy weight loss plan.
An additional 200 calories a day will help your body respond well and support a gradual weight gain. Drinking mixed juices for additional calories will help improve your weight. For example, banana with peach, apple with berries, papaya with orange or lime or mango. They are rich in natural sugar and at the same time contain a combination of vitamins & minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Consume food with additional calories (from whole grains), vitamins & minerals, but not from high fat or sugar rich food.
Embrace the complex carbohydrate
Simple carbs like white bread and white rice will cause an insulin spike, whereas the complex carbohydrates are absorbed more slowly in the body. Whole grain breads, whole grain pastas, whole grain chappatis, brown rice, brown rice noodles, quinoa, oats, barley, corn, sweet potatoes, parsnips, peas and lentils, and soy beans are good sources of complex carbohydrates. Okra, carrots, yams, snow peas, radish, beans, apples, pears, cucumbers and prunes are also rich in complex carbohydrates.
Kick start your day with quinoa pan cakes or chicken barley vegetable soup. It sounds balanced with protein, calories, fibres, vitamins and minerals.
Why don’t you try brown rice with beef or chicken, black beans and bell pepper or grilled fish with whole grain pasta and beans for lunch?
Enjoy fat in moderation
Treat yourself twice a week with baked salmon or mackerel accompanied by mango salsa or Swiss chard that is colorful and rich in flavor. This dish is loaded with healthy omega fats and vitamins. Fatty fish at least twice a week will help improve the health of your heart.
Some underweight people have the feeling that they have a lower risk of diabetes and blood cholesterol. It is not true. A slim person can have high levels of visceral fat that plays a key role in developing diabetes. Slim person should also have their cholesterol checked regularly, for the liver naturally makes cholesterol and circulates in the blood. Higher the intake of saturated fats, higher the amount of cholesterol produced by the liver.
Stir fried, lean beef with red bell pepper, baby corn, bean sprouts, scallions served with rice or noodles is another option that sounds delicious for lunch. This meal is packed with protein, iron, vitamins and minerals that help body to gradually gain weight. Vegetarians could try cooked spinach and mixed dhal. Churning the mixture gives you a gravy texture that goes well with both bread and rice. Top up your salads with avocado, nuts, and olives to reap the benefits of omega fats.
Mackerel fish curry with okra and egg plant is rich in protein, fibre and vitamins and is perfect for dinner. Egg plants are rich in Vitamin K and bioflavonoids which strengthen the capillaries.
Snack between meals
Nuts, dried fruits, yogurt, jicama, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, avocado, green salads with egg, healthy milk shakes are good t’ween meals. Fruits with low-fat milk shake topped with nuts for mid-morning will give you adequate nutrients for muscle building. Quinoa with kidney beans and an egg salad is ample for a tea break.
Snacking on banana and milk before bedtime is awesome for serotonin formation which also aids good sleep.
Strength training exercises help gain weight by building up muscles. You just need to lift or push weights. Weights and resistance bands together will help achieve the strength. You don’t have to go out and buy weights for strength exercises. You just need to find something you can hold on to, easily. For example, you can hold a 500 ml water bottle in each arm and raise both the arms to your shoulder height for 5 secs and repeat 10-15 times. You can also hold a tennis ball or rubber ball and slowly squeeze as hard as you can and hold it for 3-5 secs, then squeeze slowly and repeat 10 times. That’s it.
Enjoy colorful meals with regular exercise, every day. You will gain weight, gradually!