A. Judith C. Thalheimer, RD, LDN, managing editor of Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter, answers: “Gaining weight is all about adding calories, but that doesn’t mean you can eat all the junk food you want! To support your health and recovery, avoid or limit ‘empty-calorie’ foods like soft drinks, candy, and cake. To increase calories, instead of decreasing them, try these tips from experts:
- Eat five or six small meals a day
- Drink in between meals, instead of with them, to keep from filling up on fluids
- Drink milk or yogurt-based smoothies instead of low-calorie beverages
- Top your foods with high-calorie healthy choices like nuts, grated cheese, olives, and avocado
- Drizzle olive or other plant oils over veggies, salads, and other foods.
- Engage in physical activity (especially strength training) to help you put on muscle along with pounds so you can regain your strength
“Run these ideas by the healthcare professional who has been treating you to make sure none of them are contraindicated by your illness or medications. Make sure she or he is aware if your appetite is particularly low or if eating makes you feel unwell. If need be, a Registered Dietitian can help with an eating plan that works for you. All the best in your recovery!”