Weight gain -- and healthy eating in general -- requires a significant time investment to plan your diet and cook healthy meals. Using meal replacement shakes and supplements like Boost can help make sure you get a nutrient-dense meal replacement when you're in a time crunch, so you don't feel tempted to hit the drive-thru. Like any food or supplement, though, you need to practice moderation; use Boost as part of a balanced diet for the best results. Consult your doctor before changing your lifestyle or adding a shake or supplement like Boost to your routine.
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Calories for Weight Gain
Boost shakes serve as a good source of calories, which will help you gain weight. Healthy weight gain involves eating slightly more calories than you need -- about 250 to 500 each day -- which allow you to put on weight at a safe rate of 0.5 to 1 pound each week. Slow weight gain from a balanced diet and exercise plan helps ensure your gain comes partially from healthful lean mass, such as muscle, instead of pure body fat.
Original Boost shakes and Boost High Protein shakes each contain 240 calories, so drinking either version will provide almost all the calories you need to gain a half-pound weekly, assuming you drink it in addition to a balanced meal plan that provides enough calories to maintain your weight. If you're going for a more aggressive 1-pound weekly weight gain, two Ensure shakes almost bring you to your calorie goals.
The Protein in Boost
Boost shakes provide essential protein, which can help you gain lean mass. Protein offers amino acids, which are the building blocks used to maintain healthy tissues. To gain muscle, you'll need enough amino acids for normal tissue maintenance, plus extra amino acids for muscle growth. That's why strength trainers need more protein than sedentary people: 0.8 grams for each pound of body weight, or double that needed for inactive people.
An original Boost shake supplies 10 grams of protein. If you weigh 150 pounds, that protein would provide 8 percent of the protein you need for the day. Boost High Protein, as the name suggests, provides more protein -- 15 grams per serving, or 13 percent of the daily needs for a 150-pound person.
Healthy Carbs and Vitamins for Fuel
Boost shakes are designed to be used as meal replacements, not purely protein shakes, so they supply carbohydrates and essential nutrients in addition to protein. Getting carbs is essential when you're trying to gain weight -- carbohydrates fuel your muscles, so including carbs can help you work hard during your gym sessions, whether you're doing cardio or lifting weights. The B-complex vitamins found in Boost shakes also help you stay active; this family of vitamins helps you metabolize fats, proteins and carbs, and they also support red blood cell production which helps provide your muscles with oxygen.
One original Boost shake supplies 41 grams of carbohydrates, while the high-protein version contains 33 grams. You'll also get between 25 and 35 percent of the daily value for all the B-complex vitamins, along with other essential vitamins and minerals.
Using Boost for Weight Gain
You'll get the best results by drinking Boost as part of a balanced diet that includes unprocessed, healthy foods. Following a well-rounded diet helps prevent boredom, so you won't feel deprived. Eating whole, nutritious foods allows you to develop cooking skills you'll need to stick to a healthy eating plan for life. Use Boost as a healthy snack to boost weight gain, as an add-on to meals or an occasional meal replacement, but make sure you're still eating healthy whole grains, lean proteins, dairy, produce and healthy fats, like nuts and olive oil.
Pair your diet with exercise designed for weight gain. That means a weight training program designed to increase muscle growth, with a progress-oriented plan so you can continue to see results after getting relatively easy "newbie gains," and a cardio program to keep you lean. The details of your program will depend on your starting physique, fitness and your workout goals. Consult a fitness professional for the most effective program for you.