There is a weight issue that causes embarrassment and health problems, but does not get talked about--being underweight. Many who are recovering from illness and seniors suffer from this problem and there is not a lot of information out there for those who need help solving it. They need to gain weight at a steady, reasonable pace while eating healthy foods. Adding 500 calories a day typically results in a weight gain of about a pound a week. The best way to do this is through a diet that is full of fruits and vegetables.
Fruits and Vegetables
The foundation of any good eating plan is fruits and vegetables. They provide most of the nutrients your body needs, as well as water and fiber. Some see them as only food for those who are trying to lose weight, but everyone should be eating five to nine servings a day.
High Calorie Produce
Focus on calorie dense produce, such as avocados, potatoes, yams, plantains and most fruits. By adding a serving or two of these to all your meals, you will be adding calories and nutrition to your diet. Avocados and olives are also sources of omega-3 fatty acids and polyphenols, which are good for your heart.
Drink fruit juice instead of sugary soft drinks. While they have as many calories as sodas, fruit juice contains vital antioxidants. Try to stay away from drinking just apple and grape juice, as they are not as nutrient packed as other choices. Try 100% juice blends for variety, or create some unique taste combinations of your own. Frozen juice cubes are a fun way to add some calories and nutrition to water, iced tea or plain juice.
Colorful Food Choices
Be sure to eat produce from all five color groups--red, orange, yellow, green, and blue/purple--to be sure to get balanced nutrition and variety. You will also be exposed to new flavors and textures, which can help keep you interested in food and a healthy diet. Try new spices, oils and vinegars as a way to dress up produce and increase the interest. You may find yourself looking forward to eating and cooking.
Eat calorie-dense dried fruit as a snack or garnish. Raisins, cranberries, apples, bananas, pineapple, mango, plums and nectarines are dried fruit that you can find in any supermarket. A cup of seedless grapes contains 110 calories, but a cup of raisins contains about 500! The chewiness of dried fruit makes it a great pairing partner with meats. Find inventive ways to add them to dishes to get a little boost of calories.