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Eating To Prevent Weight Loss

June 10, 2008 - 7:30am
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Eating To Prevent Weight Loss

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HIV infection often causes problems with weight loss.

Tips For Gaining Weight

  • Increase the number of times you eat each day. If you usually have 2 meals per day, start having 3 meals per day. If you usually have 3 meals per day, start eating 4 or 5 times per day. You can plan your meals like this:
    Breakfast -- Snack -- Lunch -- Snack -- Supper -- Snack
  • Don't count on your appetite. Eat even if you aren't hungry. Eat something every 2 to 3 hours, whether you feel like it or not.
  • Eat more foods that are high in calories and protein, such as milk, cheese, meats, and peanut butter.
  • Make your snacks count! Eat healthy foods high in calories and protein between meals.
  • Add extra fat to your food. It can increase calories a lot without your having to eat a larger amount of food. Ideas for adding fat to your food are in the section, "Gain Weight With Extra Fat."
  • Add sugar, honey, syrup, brown sugar and other sweet things to your food. Put jams and jellies on breads, toast, rolls, pancakes and waffles. Put sugar or honey in your coffee and tea. Add it to your cereal.
  • Eat dried fruit such as raisins, prunes, dried apricots, dried apples, dried peaches, figs and dates. These are good by themselves or mixed with nuts for a snack. Add them to hot cereal such as oatmeal and cream of wheat.

Use Extra Milk and Dairy Products

  • Drink milk as your beverage with meals. It has more calories and protein than juice, tea, water, or soft drinks. If you don't care for regular milk, try chocolate milk, buttermilk, egg nog, hot cocoa or milkshakes.
  • Use milk instead of water to make soups and hot cereals.
  • Make extra-strength milk by mixing 2 heaping tablespoons of dry powdered milk into every cup of milk that you use.
  • Regular milk has more calories than low-fat milk or sweet acidophilus milk. Half and Half has the most calories of them all! It can be used in place of milk for drinking and in any recipe.
  • Nonfat dry milk powder can be added to a lot of foods to give them more protein. You'll never taste it in there. Try adding it to raw ground beef before making it into hamburger patties, meatballs or meatloaf. You can also add it to any casserole, macaroni and cheese, tuna or egg salad, hot or cold cereal, scrambled eggs, mashed potatoes, milkshakes and puddings.
  • Have ice cream as your desert often. It also makes a great snack in a bowl or a cone. You might also try adding it to breakfast cereal in the morning. Top your waffles or pancake with ice cream.

Add Extra Cheese

  • Mix cheese into your scrambled eggs. Melt it onto fried eggs.
  • Have cheeseburgers instead of plain hamburgers. Put cheese into all your meat sandwiches.
  • Melt cheese onto your meatloaf and spaghetti.
  • Put extra cheese on pizza.
  • Put extra cheese in macaroni and cheese and any other type of casserole.
  • Put cheese into your mashed potatoes, and on your baked potato. Melt cheese onto other vegetables too.
  • Put cheese on top of salads, soups and chili.
  • Make melted cheese toast instead of plain buttered toast. Put a piece of cheese inside of hot biscuits, rolls and corn bread.

Add Extra Meat

  • Double the amount of meat you usually put on sandwiches. Put two hamburger patties on your hamburger bun.
  • Have two or three helpings of meat at meals. Eat less of other foods at that meal if you are feeling full.
  • Put chopped, cooked meats into soups and salads, and on top of pizza.

Add Peanut Butter

  • Spread peanut butter thickly on your sandwiches or crackers
  • Put peanut butter on pancakes and waffles before you pour on the syrup.
  • Spread peanut butter on apples, bananas or pears at snack time.
  • Blend peanut butter into milkshakes.
  • Put peanut butter on hot toast, hot biscuits. It tastes great melted!
  • Fill the dent in sticks of raw celery with peanut butter. Makes a good snack.
  • Spread peanut butter on cookies, vanilla wafers, and graham crackers before eating.

Snack On Healthy Foods

Who says snacks have to be potato chips and cola? Make your snacks count! Eating these healthy foods between meals will give you the protein, vitamins, minerals and calories you need:

Frozen pizza, fish sticks, sandwiches, tacos, canned spaghetti, crackers and cheese, crackers and peanut butter, hamburger, cottage cheese and fruit, peanut butter on apples, baby food, fruits  and desserts, ice cream, pudding, grilled cheese, yogurt, milkshakes, nuts, boiled eggs, cereal and milk, creamed soups, dried fruit, sliced meats.

Gain Weight With Extra Fat

Adding fat to your food can increase calories a lot! It can be hard to digest sometimes, though. Use these tips when you feel well. If you begin to have diarrhea or nausea, stop adding so much fat.

  • A teaspoon of butter or margarine will add 45 calories. Mix it into hot foods such as soups, vegetables, mashed potatoes, cooked cereal, rice, and casseroles. Spread it on bread, rolls, corn bread and biscuits. You'll use more if these breads are hot when you spread on the butter or margarine.
  • Salad dressings are a very tasty way to add fat to your food. Try ranch, blue cheese or buttermilk dressing on sandwiches. Pour it over baked potatoes, or use it as a dip for vegetables.
  • A tablespoon of mayonnaise has 100 calories. Salad dressing looks like mayonnaise, but has only half the calories. Put mayonnaise on your sandwiches. Put a lot of mayonnaise in tuna salad, egg salad, chicken salad, ham salad. Try it on a peanut butter sandwich.
  • Sour cream has a lot of calories, too. Put sour cream on cooked vegetables such as potatoes, beans, carrots and squash. Top your bowl of chili, salad and soups with it. Add sour cream to casseroles. Dip raw vegetables into sour cream. Put it on top of fresh fruit with some sugar for dessert.
  • Whipping cream has 60 calories in each tablespoon. Add it to pies, fruit, puddings and other desserts. Top your hot chocolate or cocoa with whipped cream.
  • Frosting is made of fat and sugar. You can buy it already-made in cans. Top fruits, cookies, pudding, cakes, and other desserts with frosting.
  • Fry your foods rather than baking or roasting them. If you roll your meats and vegetables in flour or crumbs before frying them, they will hold onto more of the fat and calories.
  • Put gravy and cream sauces on your meats and vegetables.

Low Calorie Is Not For You!

When you are trying to gain weight you must think about eating a lot of calories. The more calories you eat, the more weight you can gain. You should realize that your goal of eating more calories and gaining weight is exactly the opposite of what many people in our country are trying to do. Many Americans are too fat. For this reason, the articles about nutrition you may see in magazines, newspapers and television are often full of ideas about how to reduce calories and lose weight. These articles often have titles like "good nutrition" or "how to eat right."

In this country, "good nutrition" has come to mean the same thing as "low in calories." This can be very confusing for you. Up until now, many of your ideas about good nutrition may have had to do with limiting calories. Without realizing it, your family and friends may also have been giving you advice about eating foods and beverages which are low in calories.

When people become infected with HIV they often decide to make the most of their health. They may begin to pay more attention to nutrition. But if they follow what friends and family and the media say is good nutrition, they may lose weight. And that's not what they need!

Choose Higher Calorie Alternatives

  • Instead of drinking a lot of plain water (which has no calories), choose milk, egg nog, cocoa, juice, and punch.
  • Limit yourself to 4 servings per day of fruits and vegetables. Eat more protein foods like meats, eggs, cheese and peanut butter. And eat more starchy foods like bread, cereal and macaroni instead.
  • In most cases, solid foods have more calories than liquid foods. If you like soup, consider making it from milk instead of water. Also, try adding extra meat, noodles, cheese or chopped eggs to it to increase the calories.
  • For snacks, try sandwiches, pizza, cereal, ice cream or the other higher calorie foods instead of fruits and vegetables.
  • Choose drinks with sugar not "diet" soft drinks. Add extra sugar to them if you wish. And you might add a scoop or two of ice cream to your glass to give you even more calories.
  • Remember that sugar is your friend! Sugar not only has calories itself, but it makes food taste good. You may be able to eat a bit more if you sweeten your food with sugar, jelly, syrup or honey. Put extra sugar in your cereal. Don't be afraid to eat candy bars, cakes and cookies in addition to your healthy food.
  • Unless you are unable to digest a lot of fat, eat fried foods instead of baked, roasted or boiled.
  • Forget about cholesterol!Eggs are very good for you right now. They have a lot of protein and you need that to keep up your fight with HIV.  If you want to have a half dozen eggs every day for breakfast, lunch and supper, that would be fine!
  • Eat between meals. Eat whenever you can! You need snacks two, three or more times every day.
  • Put butter or margerine on your food. They are very high in calories. So are mayonnaise, sour cream and salad dressing.
  • Drink regular  or "whole" milk.  And add chocolate or strawberry powder to it if you wish to vary the flavor!


Adapted from Tennessee Department of Health, 1/00

Last reviewed January 2000 by ]]>EBSCO Publishing Editorial Staff]]>

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.



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