How can I gain weight healthfully? My doctor said to drink milkshakes, but I'm afraid I'll just get fat.

I have had several patients share that their physician suggested shakes to gain weight. While milkshakes do have a lot of calories, they are also very high in fat and sugar. Instead of a “shake”, start your day with a breakfast smoothie. Mix 100% (Old Orchard) fruit juice, frozen or canned fruit, Greek yogurt, nonfat powdered milk, and wheat germ for a liquid meal to go. To healthfully gain weight, you will need to eat often. Try to do several smaller meals all throughout the day. Snack on 4-5 whole grain crackers topped with peanut butter or homemade trail mix (dried cranberries and raisins mixed with almonds, pecans, walnuts and sunflower seeds). Other nutrient dense snacks include: hummus, string cheese, Greek yogurt, and hard boiled eggs. For lunch, wrap nonfat refried beans, shredded cheese, tomato salsa and reduced fat sour cream in a whole-wheat tortilla or create a veggie and cheese filled quinoa salad. Another great lunch could be a sweet potato filled with cheese, sour cream, and steamed broccoli! If you are looking for a fast lunch, reheat the homemade pizza you made the night before. Choose a whole wheat crust and top it with a variety of cheeses, turkey bacon, and olives. Other dinner ideas include rich cheesy eggplant lasagna or a hearty veggie filled turkey chili!

You could also step outside of your comfort zone and try a new dish. I actually made vegetarian lettuce wraps the other day. Take firm tofu and pulse it in the food processor. Next, sauté the tofu in olive oil and add chili powder and stir until brown. Now in a separate pan sauté various veggies (I chose black beans and zucchini) along with garlic. Combine the tofu with the veggies and top with a little soy sauce. Now, I added this mixture to lettuce from my garden, but if you are looking to gain weight, fill the lettuce with the mixture but then place that inside a whole wheat wrap and top with cheese. Finally, for optimal weight gain, don’t forget to pair lunch and dinner with nutrient rich beverages like 100% fruit juice or milk (soy/almond milk will work, too).

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