Q: “I have noticed that I have lost a lot of weight over the last 6 months without even trying. My doctor has told me I need to put on some weight, what can I do about it?"

Answer:

Maintaining a healthy weight is important for overall health and wellbeing. There are many reasons for weight loss and it is great to see that you have explored the potential causes for this with your doctor. The good news is that gaining weight is achievable and making simple changes to your daily meals and snacks can make a huge difference. Here are some tips to help you increase your weight:

  • Small, regular meals and nutritious snacks are recommended. If you have a small appetite, you may like to have 5-6 small meals a day rather than 3 larger meals.
  • Try to eat protein rich foods (meat, fish, chicken, eggs or dairy products) at 3 of your meals.
  • Eat plenty of foods that are high in energy. This means regularly using healthy fats such as avocado, canola or corn oil and full-fat dairy products. It also means adding some sugar to your meals – yes it’s OK to add some sugar in any form, as this will help with weight gain.
  • Make every mouthful count and this includes your liquid intake, try to substitute water, tea or coffee with high energy and high protein milk shakes and smoothies.
  • Treat yourself to desserts or puddings every day.
  • Eating can be a very social activity and you may enjoy a meal more if you eat with family and friends.
  • You may like to talk with a dietitian. They can provide more personalised advice on enriched food and fluids that will fit your needs and traditional eating pattern.

Many Thanks,

Kaye (NZ Registered Dietitian & Nutritionist)

Sources:

PEN database. Eating hints, before, during and after cancer treatment (2012)

https://www.cancer.gov/publications/patient-education/eatinghints.pdf

Ministry of Health. Eating for healthy older people. Available online from: https://www.healthed.govt.nz/resource/eating-healthy-older-peoplete-kai-t%C5%8Dtika-e-ora-ai-te-hunga-kaum%C4%81tua

 

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