Calories come from all the foods and beverages we consume. It is the basic unit of energy that the body needs for all its vital functions. The number of calories that a person needs to maintain his basal metabolic rate depends on several factors. It includes a person’s age, gender, lifestyle and muscle mass.
When a person eats minimal calories for a prolonged time, it can lead to several health problems. For one, the person can become underweight according to BMI, and it can cause weakened immunity and even organ failure. On the other hand, eating too many calories can lead to being overweight or obese, increased risks of heart diseases, diabetes or cancer.
Some people wish to gain weight by building lean muscle mass. This can be done by consuming about 3000 calories per day to fuel strength, muscle training and exercise.
High-calorie ingredients and foods will help provide this increase in calorie requirement. If you want to gain weight healthily, you should consume more healthy high-calorie foods like avocados, whole grains, nuts, fish, milk and dairy.
Are Calories All the Same or are there Healthier Calorie Sources?
Your total calorie intake matters most if you are aiming to trim down and lose weight. Similarly, the number of calories you take also affects your muscle building and weight gain efforts. In essence, not all calories have the same effects on these two goals. There are healthy calories from nutritious food sources, and they are the best ones to help you.
For those aiming to lose weight, healthy calories will support you by providing fuel for your activities, keeps you feeling fuller longer and improve your overall well-being. Likewise, those who need to gain weight for muscle building must choose healthy high-calorie ingredients and food to provide you with stamina and fuel for your workout.
So what are healthy high-calorie foods that you need for your health goals? Professionals recommend the following food variety:
- Colourful Vegetables – go for leafy greens for your salads, crunchy carrots and bright peppers. You can experiment with flavours to find something that you enjoy.
- Lean Meats – go for lean white meats like fish and chicken. You can also have moderate amounts of lean red meat like pork and beef.
- Whole Grains – healthy whole grains will provide you with fibres that you need for you to feel fuller longer. Go for whole-grain pieces of bread or oatmeals.
- Whole Fruits – whether you are trying to gain or lose weight, always choose to have whole fruits instead of having prepared fruit juices and fruit-flavoured drinks.
- Healthy Fats – you can have small servings of healthy fats, and the best sources of these are nuts and seeds.
- More Water – it is always best to go for Water to sate your thirst. Avoid sports drinks, soda and sweetened teas.
In your health goals, you have to remember that empty or unhealthy calories will only leave you feeling hungry. Likewise, it will increase your cravings for unhealthy food choices. Empty calories are usually found in processed foods, sugary snacks, and other food products that contain excess fat and transfat.
Different Calorie Needs for Men and Women
Using a calorie calculator is very helpful in figuring out the number of calories that you need to consume each day. In calculating this, your gender is always taken into account along with your weight, age and activity level. It is because a man’s body needs more energy (or calories) even if it is the same size as a woman’s.
Men have more muscle mass compared to women, and these extra muscles need more energy. Likewise, men are commonly taller than women, and this extra height also means that men need more calories. But even if men and women hare of the same size, men will still need more calories. Men generally have a larger lung capacity, and they can work harder in physical activity and exercise. Thus, men need more calories to fuel proper functioning of their muscles.
A person’s specific calorie needs vary widely, and this is why calorie calculators are helpful. For instance, a 32-year-old male with an average height weighs around 160 pounds and has moderate physical activity will need approximately 2,600 calories each day for fuel. This calorie requirement will change if he intends to gain or lose weight.
High-Calorie Foods For Healthy Weight Gain
Most nutrition and diet articles are aimed at losing weight and become healthier. But for those who are too thin, losing weight is not an option. Unhealthy sweets and fatty food may only lead to health problems. Thus, instead of munching on unhealthy calories to gain weight, you need to choose healthy high-calorie foods. It is the best way to help you build muscles and provide you with energy that your body needs.
Find out how much calories you burn each day with the use of a calorie calculator. Then create a diet plan that exceeds this value. Generally, the 3,500 calories per pound are applied in most diets. It means that each pound is equivalent to 3,500 calories of fat. Therefore, if you reduce or increase your calorie intake by around 500 calories, you will have a pound of fat loss or gain every week. Still, these are rough estimates, and it is not accurate for either weight loss or gain goals.
Adding around 500 healthy high-calorie ingredients and food each day can give you extra calories for weight gain. To ensure that this diet works, you have to plan to eat smaller and frequent meals throughout your day. You can use toppings like chopped nuts, dressings and gravy to add calories without the bulk.
Thus, whether you are aiming to lose or gain weight, it pays to source your calories from nutritious and healthy high-calorie foods. Some suggestions are:
Bread and cereals are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. This food contains starch and fibre, which gives your body energy to function. Complex carbohydrates are metabolized slower than simple carbs. Bagels are more calorie-dense compared with regular bread. A slice of white bread may contain 70 calories, while a small bagel can have more than 180 calories. Extra-large bagels from your favourite coffee shops can have as much as 300 calories. Top it with cream cheese and fruit jam for you to have a delicious, calorie-packed snack.
Another high-calorie source of carb is pasta. It is ideal for any meal. All you need is to add the sauce, and you are ready to go. Two cups of cooked pasta are equivalent to 400 calories. A cup of bolognese sauce gives it another 160 calories. And if you will top it up with grated parmesan, you have another 45 calories. With one pasta meal, you get more than 600 calories to fuel a healthy weight gain goals.
One or two servings of dried fruit can give you a quick calorie boost. It has less volume than fresh fruits, and you can eat more without feeling full. For instance, a cup of raisins provides 400 calories, while a cup of grapes only has 60 calories. Other dried fruits that you can try are apricots, cranberries, apples and tropical fruits.
Another healthy way of adding calories is by adding an extra dose of healthy fat to your diet. Go for olive oil which is a rich and healthy way of adding flavour to your bread pasta and vegetables. Similarly, canola oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and is perfect all-purpose cooking oil. If you need lighter oils for salad dressing, choose grape seed oil or walnut oil.
Avocado is indeed a wonder fruit for any health goals. It is rich in fatty acids, potassium, vitamin K and fibre. One serving of avocado provides 200 calories and lots of extra nutrition. You can add slices of avocado to your sandwich or make guacamole to serve with tortilla chips, burritos and taco shells.
Nuts and Seeds
Munching on nuts and seeds are also a great way to amp up your calories in a healthy way. Nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, brazil nuts, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are good for your health. You can munch them as a snack or use as a topping for yoghurt, ice cream and salad. Alternatively, you can also use nut butter like almond or peanut butter.
You can create your granola mix using dry whole-grain cereals, seeds, nuts and dried fruits. Store it in an airtight container and use for breakfast. You may also pack your granola on small containers so you can take them with you on busy days. Additionally, you can include some dark chocolate chunks for more flavour. Munching on granola is a great way to add calories to your day if you can’t do big meals.
When it comes to gaining weight, the equation is pretty straightforward. You have to consume more calories than you burn for you to gain weight. On the other hand, if you have a high metabolism or have lots of physical activities, you could have a calorie deficit if you don’t eat enough calories to fuel your needs.
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As a dietary supplement, take 1 tablet in the morning and 1 tablet in mid-afternoon with 250ml of water.
Burniva is not a medical product and should not replace a well balanced diet and healthy lifestyle. Not for use by individuals under 18 years of age. Do not use if pregnant or nursing. Consult a physician or licensed qualified health care professional before using this product if you have a family history of heart disease, thyroid disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression or other psychiatric conditions, glaucoma, difficulty in urinating, prostate enlargement and seizure disorder. Discontinue use or consult a doctor if adverse reactions occur.
Caution This product contains caffeine and should not be used by those willing to eliminate caffeine from their diet. Keep out of reach of children. Store in a cool, dry place away from moisture and direct sunlight.