Plant-based diets can be modified for your particular goals whether that is losing weight or gaining weight. When I first switched to a mainly plant-based diet last year, I lost so much weight that I had retained since I was younger and also relatively quickly. I freaked out that in fact I was losing too much weight and introduced animal produce back into my diet. Yet, the problem was that I wasn’t paying enough attention to my food combinations. Now I understand how to maintain my weight on a mainly plant-based diet – it can actually help us to achieve our ideal weight!
How to gain weight on a plant-based diet is not a topic that is often seen. For those of you who are looking to put on weight without eating junk food, it can be a struggle at times, however, stay away from chips, burgers, sweets…there is a healthy way to gain weight! Eating more dense calorific foods will eventually lead to a steady and healthy weight gain in a more sustainable manner.
Listed below are some of the best food choices you can eat and the right combinations for a healthy weight gain:
High Quality Carbs & High Quality Fats
The key to gaining weight more quickly is to combine healthy fats with quality carbohydrates. The body can use both fat and carbs for energy, yet, if presented with both, it will automatically choose the carbs first. Only when carbs are not present, fats are used. Choose the right carbs and fats (not a cheese burger and chips).
Sweet potatoes are a great source of quality carbohydrates and perfect to pair with a high fat food such as almond butter. Butters made from nuts are a great source of protein, fat and fibre. On another note pairing these two foods together can help your body to absorb the vitamin A in the sweet potato optimally as it is a fat-soluble vitamin. Other options can include combining veggies, quinoa and avocado together or adding a tbsp of almond butter into your smoothies. All of which make a more dense and calorific meal!
Seek Out Foods Rich in Calories
Foods such as nuts and nut butters, avocados, chia and hemp seeds are great as we can take in more energy without eating more food than we can stomach. They are heavier forms of food so by adding almond butter to a protein smoothie or popping it on celery sticks we can essentially hold on to weight. Snacking on nuts is another great option, but remember to always opt for plain nuts, rather than those coated in salt. I often recommend only consuming half an avocado each day, however, if you are trying to gain weight then go for the whole.
Make Sure You Are Eating Enough Protein!
I definitely think this was where I was going wrong first time round – I lost fat and muscle (eek!). When you are on a mainly plant-based diet it is so essential to make sure you are getting enough of the right nutrients, particularly protein. I advise my clients, if they are not consuming animal produce, to try and incorporate plant-based protein sources such as lentils, chickpeas, edamame beans into most of their meals, ideally lunch and dinner. At this level you do not need to worry about deficiencies and will know that you are getting enough!
In order for us to hold on to weight, we need to clean out our system and get our gut back in balance. Probiotics are a great way to help us absorb more macro and micro nutrients, whether you are looking to gain, lose or maintain weight. Head to my page all about the benefits of probiotics to read more.
If you are looking to put on weight, then these tips will help you to get more energy and nutrition without the need of junk food or empty calories. Yet, if you making sure you are eating, veggies, legumes, grains, fruits, sea veggies and nuts/seeds in the right amounts, there should be no unwanted weight loss. Healthy weight gain can take time but effort and consistency will pay off with patience.
*If you have a significant amount of weight to put on then I would advise to talk to your doctor about how to go about it but in a healthy way.