Both healthy weight loss and healthy weight gain are difficult to accomplish. It's one thing to perform them in a healthy manner, but another entirely to take the unhealthy route. When trying to gain weight, the goal is generally to pack on quality muscle mass. Many people use gaining weight as an excuse to eat anything they please, focusing on quantity while ignoring quality. Although this might pack a few pounds on quickly, there are better alternatives.
To effectively gain weight, you must first have a basic understanding of macro-nutrients and their functions. Protein is the building block of muscle, encouraging not only muscle growth but also muscle repair. Healthy fat provides the body with a number of disease-fighting benefits and can be used as a secondary energy source; carbohydrates are the body's primary energy source.
When putting on weight, protein is extremely important. Assuming the goal is to gain quality muscle mass, high amounts of protein are required. Although lean protein is usually the best bet, a little bit of fatty meat will your weight-gaining mission--but certain meats are high in saturated fat and should be limited. Quality protein sources include beef, pork, chicken, fish, natural peanut butter, eggs and milk. Natural peanut butter is easily the most calorically dense option. Smucker's Chunky Natural peanut butter contains 210 calories per serving size of two tablespoons.
Fat contains nine calories per gram. Because of this high calorie count, fat can be an important asset when gaining weight. Healthy mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fat should be embraced, while potentially damaging saturated and trans fat should be limited. Nuts and various vegetable oils are great sources of healthy fat. Natural peanut butter and eggs are also good high calorie options. Avocados present another fat alternative, containing an average of 322 calories.
Although all macro-nutrients should be utilized for healthy weight gain, carbs have the potential to be your greatest weapon. Carb-loaded foods are the most readily available and often the cheapest. If possible, stick to whole wheat carb options--the nutritional value is often much higher than their white counterparts. Bread, pasta, rice and potatoes are all great high-carb, high-calorie foods to put on weight. Milk is also an excellent high calorie option. Two percent reduced fat milk averages 122 calories per eight ounces.
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