August 21, 2011
Weight Gain Ideas for Student Athletes Part 2
By Jenna Stranzl
Pizza. Burgers. Candy bars.
Cheesesteaks. Whole milk. Have you ever tried any of these strategies
to gain weight? Some of you may want to
throw darts at this post because you would do anything to have this problem –
gaining weight. For many athletes or
even those with simply a furnace metabolism, this can truly be an aggravating
Thing is, gaining weight can be done two ways – by either
eating every thing in sight, or by eating higher calorie *smart* foods that
have been nutrient profiles than a, let’s say, pork roll sandwich. When people just eat to gain weight, they
often select fatty foods and those that lack any nutritional value. This makes an individual more likely to have
increased risk for things such as heart disease, hypertension, disturbed sleep,
lack of concentration, and especially with athletics – a decrease in
Just like losing weight, the same applies to weight gain –
patience and a healthy way of life.
Eating lean proteins, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and limiting
added fats, sugar, and sodium. Remember,
to gain one pound per week, one must eat an additional 500 calories per
day. This could be as simple as 2
tablespoons of peanut butter on your AM breakfast toast, an extra drizzle of
olive oil on your salad, and a large glass of low-fat or skim milk before
Here are 13 additional healthy suggestions:
the sodas as a means of added calories.
The sub? Make your own! Use 2 liters of seltzer water or club
soda PLUS one tub of 100% fruit juice concentrate. Mix and drink!
2% milk versus whole milk. Whole
milk just has additional saturated fats (a thumbs down for the heart). Get your calories elsewhere from healthy
calorie boosters like peanut butter, olive oils, dried fruits, etc. The protein content of all milks (skim,
low-fat, whole) are the exact same.
shakes are fine – just stick to those that are NSF approved. Meaning, they are approved for
sport. If you take a drug test, you
are knowing you are taking a protein supplement that has been tested and
safe for use. A lot of products out
there may create a positive drug test, simply because there are components
that fall into it during production or you do not know about. EAS Myoplex and Muscle Milk Collegiate
are GREAT options.
on dried fruits! Dried fruits come
in many types: peach rinds, apple slices, raisins, prunes (LOVE THEM!),
cranberries, etc. While there is
sugar added during the drying process, they still contain a fiber boost
and added calories. Toss in your
cereal, oatmeal, yogurt, ice cream, trail mix, and salads. Prunes for example are high in
antioxidants, which reduce free radical damage. This can ultimately reduce muscle
soreness after a workout.
creamy alfredo. Why? High in saturated fats and low in
nutrients. A simple substitution
with a matching calorie content?
Penne pasta with grilled chicken, sautéed vegetables (in olive
oil), and marinara sauce. See, it
is about the meal composition – selecting healthier options, with similar
- Chocolate? Dark chocolate! It packs a punch in terms of
antioxidants. Make sure to select
dark chocolates that offer over 65% cacao – meaning, the higher the
percentage, the better the antioxidant level in the chocolate.
on olives. Heart healthy and can
add calories without feeling like you ate a ton.
for lean meats or healthy fatty meats.
What is a healthy fatty meat?
Salmon, for example. Salmon
boosts more calories per ounce than tuna, but why? Simply because of its oils and we know
that fish oil does wonders for athletes.
Tuna is also a great choice though – because it boosts quality
protein. Select white meats versus
dark to lower fat content (turkey and chicken). Pork tenderloin is another great
low-fat, hearty protein option.
eggs? Boost calories by wrapping
those eggs into a whole-wheat tortilla!
Then add some cheese, peppers, onions, and mushrooms for an added
veggie and calcium boost!
on! Avoid creamy soups and select
hearty bean soups like turkey chili, vegetarian chili, or lentil
soups. These soups have a high
fiber, high protein profile with a similar amount of calories.
your bland salad. A salad can add
healthy calories quickly. How? Add some of the following: sunflower
seeds, dried cranberries, pecans or walnuts, feta cheese, soybeans, and
lean proteins like turkey, fish, or chicken.
on nuts! A small dose packs a heavy
calorie punch (20 almonds or 12-13 walnuts is a serving). Snack on these throughout the day to add
up your numbers.
room for your appetite. Don’t
always fill up on liquids – instead, focus on foods with a hearty nutrient
Most importantly, learn that weight gain is not an easy
process and takes time. Keep positive
and understand that in order to gain, you must acknowledge that you may need to
try foods you may not have thought to.
Step outside of the box and eventually, you will see these foods can
make you become better, stronger, and healthier.