It's no big deal, but you want to put on weight?


September 28, 1993|By Colleen Pierre, R.D. | Colleen Pierre, R.D.,Contributing Writer

It's hard to imagine, but some of you really want to gain weight. Surprisingly, it's tough to do. You may have a small appetite, or you may eat a lot and burn a lot.

To gain 1/2 pound per week, you'll have to eat 500 calories more each day than you do now, and add a little exercise. The weight you gain will be either muscle or fat. For most very thin people, a little of each is just fine.

To gain muscle, you'll need to exercise. But don't overdo it. About 30 minutes three times a week is enough for general conditioning. If you do too much, you'll use up all the extra calories you're eating.

Weight lifting will increase muscle size. Even for women, a little muscle is a good thing. And don't worry, you can't get big and bulky like the guys. You have different hormones.

Healthy choices are important to you, especially if you have a small appetite.

For breakfast, choose a dense cereal like granola, Grape-nuts or muesli that includes fruits and nuts.

Add nonfat dry milk to your skim milk to increase calories and nutrition without increasing saturated fat.

Have a side order of toast, an English muffin or a bagel topped with jam or all fruit spread.

For lunch, stack a club sandwich with three thick slices of whole grain bread stuffed with tuna, turkey or chicken salad.

Add a hearty soup like bean, split pea, chili with beans or lentil. Garnish with croutons and Parmesan cheese.

For dinner, stick with a 3-ounce portion of lean meat, chicken or fish. Then add lots of starchy vegetables like potatoes, yams, limas, corn, peas or winter squash. Garnish with liquid margarine, slivered almonds, grated cheese or a white sauce made with evaporated skim milk.

Finish with a high nutrition dessert like oatmeal-raisin cookies, pumpkin pie, rice pudding or carrot cake.

For between-meal snacks, have a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, raisins and sunflower seeds, yogurt and a banana, chocolate milk and a granola bar, almonds and apricots, or blend chocolate milk and banana milkshake.

Colleen Pierre, a registered dietitian, is the nutrition consultant to the Union Memorial Sports Medicine Center and Vanderhorst & Associates in Baltimore.

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