The 2,000-calorie diet is used as a nutritional reference on product labels, and it is generally suitable for supplying nutrients adults need to survive. However, a 2,000-calorie diet might not produce weight gain, especially if you are active. If you want to put on weight or add muscle, you'll need to increase your daily calorie intake. You'll probably find that eating more than 2,000 calories a day is not a big challenge, but consult your doctor before doing so.
Eat more and track your calorie intake. You might find it difficult to judge exactly how much you're eating, and guess incorrectly. Keeping a food journal or tracking calories online will ensure accuracy so that you don't accidentally eat less and compromise your progress.
Switch from fat-free to full-fat dairy products. Although fat-free, or skim, products are helpful for dieting, they aren't optimal for weight gain. Cutting out the fat significantly reduces the calorie content; for example, a cup of skim milk contains just 80 calories, while a cup of whole milk provides 160. Besides more calories, you'll also consume more fat, a nutrient that aids in testosterone production, according to research from the December 1996 edition of "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition." Testosterone helps build muscle and boost weight.
Consume liquid snacks in addition to solid foods. While any snacking has the potential to aid in weight gain -- eating outside of meals helps increase the amount of calories you take in -- certain snacks are better choices than others. According to research from the July 2011 issue of "Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care," liquids are less filling than solid foods. Drinking calorie-dense liquids such as protein shakes and meal replacement drinks will not satisfy your appetite as much as solid foods, so you can eat more.
Cook with olive and other omega-3-rich oils. Instead of grilling or broiling foods, try searing them in olive oil or other omega-3-rich oils such as canola, soybean, flaxseed and walnut oil. High-calorie oils increase the calorie count of your foods and improve your overall health. Omega-3 fatty acids might help you control your cholesterol and blood pressure, reducing your risk of heart disease.
Track your energy expenditure. In addition to tracking the calories you consume, you should be aware of how many calories you burn during activities. If you're active, you can inhibit your weight gain by burning more calories than you eat. You might be surprised to find out how many calories certain activities burn. According to MayoClinic.com, rollerblading burns 913 calories per hour, using a stair treadmill burns 657 per hour and walking at 3.5 mph burns 277.
- LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate: Calories in Skim Milk
- LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate: Calories in Milk
- "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition"; Effects of Dietary Fat and Fiber on Plasma and Urine Androgens and Estrogens in Men: A Controlled Feeding Study; J.F. Dorgan, et al.; December 1996
- "Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care"; Effects of Carbohydrates on Satiety: Differences Between Liquid and Solid Food; A. Pan, F.B. Hu; July 2011
- University of Maryland Medical Center; Omega-3 Fatty Acids; June 2009
- Mayo Clinic; Exercise for Weight Loss: Calories Burned in 1 Hour; December 2009