How can I safely gain weight if I am an underweight athlete?

Gaining weight can be tricky for athletes. It is important to add calories to your diet without adding a lot of fat, which can strain some of your organ systems. Adding a meal to your day or increasing the amount of snacks that you eat can help in adding calories. Lots of athletes like eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with a glass of skim or two percent milk. This option can be made healthier by using whole-wheat bread, natural peanut butter, and low-sugar fruit preserves. Some athletes prefer to drink their calories instead by consuming fruit smoothies made with yogurt or lowfat milk. Both of these options provide low-fat proteins and complex carbohydrates without upsetting the stomach.

Remember that just because you are trying to gain weight, it does not mean that you can eat whatever you want. Consuming takeout or fast food will add the calories that you want, but will also add sodium, unhealthy fats, and preservatives that can harm your body and your athletic performance.

(This answer provided for NATA by the Appalachian State University Athletic Training Education Program.)

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.