A Liquid Diet and Weight Gain

Can with powdered milk
Add nonfat dried milk powder to your favorite milkshake to boost calories. (Image: DimaSobko/iStock/Getty Images)

Not everyone on a liquid diet wants to lose weight. If you've just had oral surgery, have to follow a liquid diet due to difficulty chewing or swallowing, or find it easier to drink your food rather than eat it, you may be having a hard time getting enough calories to maintain your weight. You may need a high-calorie liquid diet to help you gain weight.

Getting Enough Calories

To gain weight, you need to eat more calories than you burn. The number of calories you need to gain weight depends on your current intake, age, gender, body size and activity level. Tracking what you eat can give you a calorie starting point. In general, women need 1,600 calories to 2,400 calories a day to maintain their weight, and men need 2,000 calories to 3,000 calories a day. Adding 250 to 500 calories a day to what you eat now should promote a 1/2 pound to 1 pound weekly weight gain.

High-Calorie Liquids

Start with basic high-calorie drinks, such as whole milk, full-fat soy milk, fruit juice, nutrition shakes, milkshakes and smoothies. You can also blend any food into a liquid, according to the University of Virginia Digestive Health Center. For example, you can blend meat with vegetables and broth for a savory souplike drink, or blend oatmeal with whole milk and fruit for breakfast. The key to blending meals is making sure you use enough liquid to get the right consistency. If your blended meals have chunks, strain the blend before drinking.

Tips for Weight Gain

Aim to eat six to eight small meals a day. Boost calories in milk and milkshakes with nonfat dried milk powder, which contains 110 calories per 1/4-cup serving. Smooth peanut butter or avocados are good calorie boosters for fruit smoothies. Add oil to your savory blends for extra calories; each teaspoon contains 40 calories. If you don't have a blender, you can make savory liquid meals with strained baby food thinned with milk, broth or juice.

The Liquid Menu

Start your day with a banana and strawberry smoothie made with whole milk or full-fat soy milk and peanut butter. For your next meal, try blending cream of wheat with applesauce and enough milk to thin. For lunch, chicken blended with soft cooked noodles, carrots and broth with added oil makes a high-calorie option. Make a milkshake for your next meal using a nutritional supplement and your favorite flavor of ice cream; add nonfat dried milk powder for a calorie boost. At dinner, you might enjoy tender-cooked meat blended with potatoes, gravy and broth. Finish the day with another nutrient-rich, high-calorie smoothie made with kiwis, bananas, avocados and fruit juice.

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