Gaining weight after an illness may not be the easiest thing, but it's nearly always necessary. When we're sick, we don't eat as much as we normally would, and as a consequence drop the pounds. So what can you do if you need to regain those lost pounds? Here are some tips on gaining weight after an illness …
1. Healthy Eating Can Wait
When gaining weight after an illness is on the agenda, don't worry about meals being unhealthy. Healthy eating can wait until your weight has returned to normal. Eat everything that you can manage, and use high-calorie alternatives to your usual low-fat snacks. This is not the time to be worrying about how much fat or sugar your food has. Leave that until you're better.
2. Small Frequent Meals
After illness, your appetite may be smaller than normal, which makes it difficult to take in enough calories. If this is the case, small but frequent meals can be the answer. That way, you're taking in enough calories throughout the day, but not forcing yourself to eat more than your appetite will allow.
If you can manage three meals a day, do try to snack between meals as well. Try high-calorie snacks such as smoothies, cheese and crackers, or peanut butter on toast. Add as many calories as you can, by putting butter on and spreading the peanut butter thickly. Also try cakes, chocolate and cookies. Don't forget to have a snack before bedtime as well.
4. Sneak in Added Extras
In the same way that you try to sneak vegetables into your kids' food, add extra calories to your own meals. By adding things like ground nuts or powdered milk to sauces, you'll take in more calories without adding too much bulk to a meal. Smoothies are also a great way of downing a lot of calories in one - try adding foods like ice cream, oats, peanut butter or protein powder.
5. Cream & Butter
This is not the time to worry about your arteries - you need to get the weight back on and give your body enough calories to recover. So for a while, add cream and butter to everything. Also buy full-fat milk instead of skimmed or semi-skimmed. If you use soya or rice milk, try adding soy cream or powdered soy/rice milk to the liquid.
6. Drinks with Calories
Normally, water is the healthiest drink. But it isn't going to help you gain weight. So, try drinking alternatives with some calories. Milk is of course a good choice, especially if you add some extra powdered milk to it. If you like juices, grape juice is a good option as it is higher in calories than orange or apple juice. But any juice will give you more calories than water!
7. Extra Courses
Finally, try adding extra courses to your meal. If you normally only eat cereal for breakfast, add a slice or two of toast as well, spread with jam or peanut butter. Have dessert, even if you normally don't bother. And have a starter for lunch and dinner. Even a small starter will soon add up if you have one twice a day.
When you've been ill and need to put that weight back on, look for every opportunity for adding some extra calories. Hopefully you'll soon be back to normal. Do you have any tips for adding extra calories?