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Healthy Weight Gain

Gaining weight alone is not the only goal; the goal should be to gain lean muscle mass. In order to gain a pound a week, an athlete has to consume 3,500 extra calories that is not burned off in exercise. Increasing daily caloric intake by 500 calories/day for 7 days should result in one pound of weight gain in a week. The additional food should come from quality calories which are nutrient dense whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fat. If you add lots of unhealthy fat to your diet in order to get calories (cream sauce, dressing, fried food, etc), you will likely add unwanted fat to your body too. So, the goal is to consume healthy calories often!

Examples of Adding Healthy Calories: • Add peanut butter, butter, and/or jelly to toast, bagels, whole grain waffles, etc. • Add peanut butter, nuts, and a banana to oatmeal • Eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on thick wheat bread as dessert after meals • Add 1 cup granola and dried fruit to your morning cereal or yogurt • Add avocado to sandwiches, wraps, and salads • Snack on high calorie trail mix (high calorie/whole grain cereal, granola, nuts, & dried fruit) • Cook your meat and vegetables with olive oil • Drink low-fat (2%) milk or low-fat chocolate milk with meals • Drink a shake with high calorie powder (Muscle Milk Collegiate) and low-fat milk twice a day, once right before bed (can also mix peanut butter, honey, a banana, etc. for more calories)

Tips: • Eat 6-7 meals a day; do not go longer than 2-3 hours without eating • Do NOT skip breakfast • Maximize each eating opportunity; make sure you have whole grains, lean protein, & healthy fat; don’t settle for fried food or skipping a meal • Be prepared; bring snacks from home so that you can eat between classes in addition to before and after practices • Consume an energy bar or shake during your workout and drink a sports drink • Eat immediately after a workout (4:1 carbohydrate to protein snack) • Consistency is key! You will not be able to gain weight if you only try 4-5 days/week; you have to make it a priority and maximize eating 7 days/week

400 Calorie Snacks: (Each bullet point is a 400 Calorie Snack.)

  • Large whole wheat bagel with 2 Tbs. peanut butter

  • Homemade Trail Mix: 1 cup dry cereal, ¼ cup granola, 20 nuts

  • 1 pack Nature Valley Granola Bars, 1 fruit & 2-2% string cheese

  • Quaker Oatmeal Square & 12 oz 2% milk

  • Peanut butter & banana sandwich on wheat bread (2 Tbs. PB)

  • 1 yogurt with ¼ cup granola, ½ cup fruit & 15 nuts

600 Calorie Snacks: (Each bullet point is a 600 Calorie Snack.)

  • Large whole wheat bagel with 3-4 slices ham, 2 slices 2% cheese & 1 serving wheat crackers or pretzels

  • 20 oz low-fat chocolate milk & peanut butter sandwich on wheat bread (1 Tbs. PB)

  • 300 calorie energy bar, 1 banana & 16 oz 2% milk

  • 20 oz Smoothie King Smoothie with protein & 250-300 calorie energy bar

  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwich on wheat bread (2 Tbs. PB & 2 Tbs. jelly), 1 bag baked lays & 1 fruit

  • 2 cups cereal w/2% milk, sprinkle 3 Tbs. almonds in cereal & 1 yogurt or 2% string cheese

800 Calorie Snacks: (Each bullet point is an 800 Calorie Snack.)

  • 2 cups high calorie cereal (~200 calories/serving) with 2% milk & 1 banana & 2 pieces wheat toast with 1 Tbs. peanut butter on each

  • Homemade Shake - 2 cups 2% milk, 1 Yoplait Thick & Creamy vanilla yogurt, 1 scoop ice cream, 1-2 Tbs. peanut butter

  • 3 Eggo whole wheat waffles w/1 Tbs. peanut butter on each, 1 fruit & 16 oz low-fat chocolate milk

  • 1 whole wheat bagel w/ 2 Tbs. cream cheese, 1 pack Nature Valley granola bars & 16 oz low-fat chocolate milk

  • High calorie energy bar (250-350 calories), 16 oz low-fat chocolate milk w/1 scoop whey protein mixed in & 1 banana

  • 2 Whole grain Hot Pockets, 1 individual bag reduced-fat Sun Chips & 16 oz 2% or low-fat chocolate milk

1000 Calorie Snacks: (Each bullet point is a 1000 Calorie Snack.)

  • 1 whole wheat bagel with 2 Tbs. peanut butter, 1 cup high calorie cereal & 1 cup granola with 2% milk

  • High calorie energy bar (250-350 calories), 1 individual bottle (20 oz) 2% milk, 1 pack peanut butter crackers & a banana

  • 2 Yoplait Whips or Thick & Creamy yogurts with1 cup granola mix in, 2 pieces whole wheat toast with1 Tbs. peanut butter on each & 16 oz 2% milk

  • 2 Quaker Oatmeal Squares, 1 individual bottle (20 oz) low-fat chocolate milk & ½ cup nuts

  • Subway 12” sandwich with meat, cheese, sauce, & veggies, 1 bag Sun Chips, 1 bag apples & 1 individual bottle juice or 2% milk

  • 2 peanut butter & jelly sandwiches on wheat bread (2 Tbs. PB & 2 jelly on each), 16 oz 2% milk & 1 banana or chewy granola bar

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Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD

Amy Goodson, MS, RD, CSSDD, LD is a sports dietitian in the DFW area. She has worked with Texas Christian University Athletics, the Dallas Cowboys, Texas Rangers, FC Dallas Soccer, Jim McLean Golf School and many PGA Tour players as well as with many middle school, high school and endurance athletes. Amy speaks at a variety of nutrition, athletic training and coaching conferences. She is an ambassador/spokesperson for the National Dairy Council, a Dairy Max Health and Wellness Advisory Council member and on the Speakers Bureau for Gatorade Sports Science Institute. Amy is also the co-author of “Swim, Bike, Run – Eat,” a sports nutrition book for triathletes.

Amy received her Bachelor of Science in speech communications from Texas Christian University and Master of Science in exercise and sports nutrition from Texas Woman’s University. She is also a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics.

Contact Amy @



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