How to Gain Weight After an Illness

traditional caesar salad
Gaining weight after an illness isn't a dietary free-for-all. (Image: Olga Nayashkova/iStock/Getty Images)

Being ill can wreak havoc on your entire body and cause you to lose a lot of weight rapidly. Once you're on the mend, it's important to put that weight back on since being underweight can slow down your recovery, according to the McKinley Health Center. But gaining weight after an illness is not as simple as eating anything and everything. You have to be smart about your food choices and increase your caloric intake without filling up on empty calories and saturated fats.

Step 1

Eat more calories than you normally would. Between 500 and 1,000 calories extra a day should be sufficient to help you gain weight.

Step 2

Eat larger meals. If having tacos, add more healthy toppings like low-fat sour cream, cheese, tomatoes and avocado to ramp up the caloric content without sacrificing health. Add chicken to your salads, along with hard-boiled eggs.

Step 3

Eat snacks between meals to add to your calorie intake. But don't reach for the chips. Make healthy choices like yogurt, fruit, nuts, low-fat cheese and crackers.

Step 4

Eat more foods with healthy fats, such as avocado and salmon. These fats will help bulk you up without adding bad cholesterol or saturated fats to your diet.

Step 5

Review the nutrition labels on all the foods you eat. Add up the values for the total number of calories, carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat. You should be getting about 70 percent of your calories from carbs, 15 percent from protein and the rest from good fats.

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