When it comes to meeting weight goals, Fuel2Win founder and sports dietitian, Molly Morgan finds herself spending a lot of time helping athletes, especially early in their career gain weight.
"In working with pro athletes, the demands that their training puts on their calorie needs for their body is incredible", explains Morgan. Getting enough calories in each day is like a balancing act. Here are tips that Molly shares with her pro athletes:
1. Have a Plan - "Most athletes I work with need between 3000 - 4000+ calories per day and it can be done but when an athlete doesn't have a plan, it almost a certainty that the player will struggle with keeping their weight where they want it", states Morgan.
She suggests athletes work with a sports dietitian to establish their energy need goals and this number will change and should change depending on training demands. A sports dietitian can develop a custom meal plan and meal suggestions that can help get an athlete to their desired weight.
2. Fuel Routinely - To get enough calories in Molly explains, athletes must have at least 5 - 6 meals and snacks per day. This helps to split up the calories and fuel and refuel the body. She finds that when athletes are trying to rely on just 3 meals, it is nearly impossible to get enough energy in to meet their energy/calorie goals.
3. Focus on Nutrient-Rich calories - Molly notes that she often sees athletes just adding in calories from anything from milk shakes to butter or Alfredo sauce. Although those will all help to increase calorie intake overall, it is best to meet calorie needs with nutrient-rich foods like: avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butter, olive oil, whole grains, yogurt, kefir, etc. These foods will also deliver important healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, probiotics, etc.
Checkout these quick calorie boost snacks and additions to add to your intake:
- Add 1/2 an avocado to a meal or mash with salsa for a quick guacamole: Adds approximately 150 calories
- Have a handful (about 1 oz/28 g) of dried fruit and nut trail mix for snack: Adds approximately 130 - 160 calories
- Snack on a banana (large banana) + 2 tbsp (30 ml) peanut butter: Adds 310 calories
- Snack on cottage cheese (1 cup/240 ml) + cubed fresh pineapple (1 cup/240 ml): Adds about 300 calories
- Drizzle 1 tbsp (15 ml) olive oil on foods at meals: Adds about 120 calories
Download the latest Moving the Scale handout for more tips and snack ideas!