Teen FAQs

I'm a vegetarian athlete and I want to gain weight. How do I start?

For starters, gaining weight for a vegetarian athlete is the same as gaining weight for any athlete. First, you want to look at what you are eating, how much, and your training routine. To gain weight at your current activity level, all you need to do is simply add extra calories to your diet. In general, an extra 250 to 500 calories per day can lead to a 1/2 to 1 pound weight gain, respectively, per week. For example, if you eat the way you usually do, but add an extra 250 calories everyday for a week, at the end of that week you should gain 1/2 pound. Similarly, if you eat the way you usually do, plus an extra 500 calories everyday for a week, by the end of that week you should gain 1 pound. The amount of calories you choose to add are based upon the amount of weight you want to gain. If you desire to gain less than 10 pounds add an extra 250 calories to your daily intake. If you desire to gain more than 10 pounds, add an extra 500 calories to your daily intake.

Adding calories to your diet is easy. All you have to do is add more snacks throughout the day or add extra calories to the foods you eat. It is important that you add calories with healthy items to provide more vitamins and other nutrients in your diet. Below is a list of 250 calorie and 500 calorie healthy snack ideas. Try adding one or more of these ideas every day to help gain weight. Also listed are ways to add calories to your foods. When you don't have time for snacking, this is a good way to increase the calories in your food without having to plan another meal.

There is no need to eat more than 500 extra calories per day for higher weight gain. Evidence has shown that exceeding more than 500 calories per day and gaining more than 1 pound per week is not beneficial to the athlete. A greater than 1 pound weight gain a week can lead to an increase in fat mass and a reduction in muscle mass. Extra body fat and less lean muscle can slow an athlete down and make it harder to compete. Once you reach your goal weight, continue to eat about the same amount to maintain your weight gain.

If your training routine becomes more intense, you will need to increase the amount of calories you are eating just to maintain your weight. If you are increasing your caloric intake, but are still having a hard time gaining weight during training, you may need to focus more on increasing calories during your off-season. During your off-season you lead a more relaxed life style and it's easier to put on pounds. To gain weight during this time, simply follow the recommendations for adding calories.

250 Calorie Snack Ideas

  • 2 Slices Whole Wheat Bread WITH 1 Tbs Peanut Butter, 1 Tbs Jelly
  • 1 cup Orange Juice with Calcium AND 6 oz Soy Yogurt
  • 1 Odwalla Bar
  • 1 Clif Bar
  • 1 Whole Wheat Pita Pocket WITH 5 Tbs Hummus
  • 1/2 cup Guacamole WITH 1-1/2 cup Celery Sticks AND 1/2 cup Soy Milk
  • 1 Medium Apple WITH 1 Tbs Almond Butter
  • 1/4 cup Mixed Nuts WITH 1-1/2 Tbs Raisins
  • 1 Crunchy Granola Bar AND 1/2 cup Soy Milk
  • 1 oz Hard Pretzels AND 1 cup 100% Cranberry Juice

500 Calorie Snack Ideas

  • 1 Whole Wheat Bagel WITH 2 Tbs Almond Butter, 1/2 Medium Sliced Banana
  • Fruit Smoothie WITH 1-1/2 cup Soy Milk, 1 cup Orange Juice with Calcium, 1 Medium Banana, 10 Large Strawberries, 1 cup Blueberries
  • 1/2 cup Almonds WITH 1/4 cup Dried Cranberries
  • 1 Whole Wheat English Muffin WITH 2 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine, 2 Tbs Jelly AND 1/2 cup Soy Milk
  • 3/4 cup Black Bean Dip WITH 1 cup Tortilla Chips
  • 1 Slice Wheat Bread WITH 1 Tbs Peanut Butter AND 1 cup Sweetened Applesauce AND 1 cup Soy Milk
  • 10 Whole Wheat Crackers (Triscut) WITH 1/2 cup of Hummus
  • 2 cups Lentil Soup AND 1 Whole Wheat Roll AND 1/2 cup Orange Juice with Calcium

Tips for Adding Calories to Foods

  1. Add Earth's Best Margarine or other vegan margarine (100 calories per tablespoon), Flax Seed Oil (120 calories per tablespoon) or Canola Oil (120 calories per table spoon) to stir-frys, sandwiches, vegetables, cooked cereal, breads, pasta, and rice.
  2. Add Wheat Germ (25 calories per tablespoon) to hot cereals, pastry, cake, and pancake batters and casseroles.
  3. Add Veganaise or Oil-based Salad Dressing (90 calories per tablespoon) to sandwiches, salads, and sauces on cooked vegetables.
  4. Add Vegan "Sour Cream" (43 calories per tablespoon) and Vegan "Cheeses" (50 calories per oz) to potatoes, casseroles, dips, sauces and baked goods.
  5. Add Silk Soy Creamer (15 calories per tablespoon, 240 calories per cup) to smoothies, hot and cold cereals, pastry, cake, and pancake batters, and puddings .
  6. Add Nuts (82 calories per 1/2 oz) and Dried Fruit (86 calories per 1/2 cup) to hot and cold cereals, yogurts, salads, cooked vegetables, and stir-frys.

by Julia Driggers, RD