Gaining weight as a vegan/eating plantbased.
There is alot of talk about a plantbased diet having alot of health benefits and alot of talk about weightloss on a plantbased diet. But not everyone wants to or needs to lose weight….
So how do you gain weight on a plantbased diet? Well…. just like with all weight gain, you need to eat at a calorie surplus. Meaning, more calories in than out.
This can be harder on a plantbased diet as typically vegan food is lower in calories and contains alot of fiber which can leave you feeling full. But it’s not impossible to gain weight while eating plantbased. It just means eating more energy dense foods to help you eat more calories withiut feeling overly full.
Meal one and two are large portions, but not so many calories (aside from maybe the avocado.. but even then.. half an avocado really isn’ät that much energy when you need to gain weight. Then it would be better to eat one full avocado, along with adding some rice/pasta/potatoes or even some dressing to the meals on the toop. ) Whereas the bottom two meals aren’t huge portions but have more energy which can be more beneficial to eat when weightgain is your goal. All four of these meals can be part of a healthy diet whether you just want to main weight, lose weight or gain weight.. it is about the portion size you eat as well as how your diet is in total. So even if one meal may have alot of calories, that doesn’t mean you will gain weight… it is about the total energy intake and expenditure … not just one meal. These meals were just examples how if you eat alot of low calorie vegetables you get alot of volume but not so much energy, which may be great for some people while not so great for others.
So how to gain weight while eating plantbased?
Increasing portion sizes… and i don’t mean increasing the amount of fruit or vegetables you eat. But increase the amount of potatoes, pasta, rice, bulgur etc you have on your plate. If you don’t eat those foods you may want to implement them in your diet! They are great sources of carbs and nutrition!
If you just increase and add vegetables all you will do is increase your satiety and fullness without contributing the extra energy you need to gain weight.
When i first went vegan i ended up losing a bunch of weight for different reasons, but one of them was that i ended up eating just a bunch of fruit when i went vegan. And didn’t realise i needed to really increase my portion sizes… which is something i have noticed other vegans forget when they first decide to eat plantbased or go vegan. Also.. don’t forget to replace the food you take away. Find alternatives. (Post: Substituting food – but not with the same nutrients? | Vegan )
Below are some of the tips that helped me to gain weight while eating plantbased. But also overall recommendations and guidelines for when you need to gain weight.
If you don’t already eat snacks, it can be a good idea to eat 1-3 snacks a day along with your 3 main meals.
Example of some good snacks. Bread with avocado. Nuts and seeds. Chia seed pudding with nut butter or nuts and seeds. Yoghurt with granola. Smoothie/milkshake with banana,oats, plantbased milk and nut butter. Bread with peanut butter and jam, or peanut butter and banana. Dates with peanut butter.
Increasing your intake of healthy fats such as avocado, nuts, seeds, nut butter, full fat plantbased dairy products, frying in oil. As a vegan it can be beneficial to increase your intake of rapeseed oil or flaxseed oil as they contain alot of omega 3 which is an essential fatt acid, and can be harder to get on a plantbased diet. However, flaxseed oil shouldn’t be heated so can instead be added to smoothies or part of sauces or dressing. However, choose the oil you like best flavourwise so you enjoy the food you eat as well.
If possible, drink some plantbased milk as part of snacks or along with meals. Not only will it give you some extra energy, if you choose the fortified options it will give you more calcium, iron, b12 and even D vitamin.
Don’t be scared to eat some extra dessert, chocolate, candy or fries. When you are eating at a surplus, you have more room for extra foods. Of course you can still eat those foods even when you just want to maintain your weight, but when gaining weight you can eat more of them.
Try to increase the size of your main meals if possible, and make sure to include protein, carbs and fat for each meal… and some vegetables if you have the space in your stomach for those as well!
Example meals: Fried tofu, quinoa, avocado/hummus and some broccoli.
Bean pasta with lentil bolognese including black beans and carrots as well as avocado on top or maybe some vegan cheese or creme fraiche.
Vegan vegetable lasagne, or lasagne made using soy meat.
Pesto pasta with broccoli.
Those were just some example meals!
Other tips… make creamy dishes. Such as potato salad. Creamy pasta salad. Creamy pasta dishes. Use plantbased cream or margarine in your meals when you can.
If you need to gain weight, just eating fruit or raw salads or raw vegetables isn’t enough.
Gaining weight while eating healthy?
I know many want to gain weight in a healthy manner, and eating oil/margarine/vegan cheese/vegan cream can all be part of a healthy diet and healthy weight gain. It can be very hard to gain weight eating just extra beans, potatoes and avocado… even if it is still possible, it may not be the most fun as you may feel overly full. However, if you snack alot on nuts and seeds as well as nut butter, or make example raw food balls or raw food cakes and add alot of avocado to your meals it can help with the weight gain.
Also, you may feel full or feel like you can’t eat bigger portions or more food… but give your body time to adapt. You may spend 1-3 weeks feeling a little overly full when you are first adjusting to eating more, but eventually your body should adapt. It can also be good to not go overboard on fiber rich foods when you have the goal to gain weight as all the fiber can make your stomach go a little crazy, as well as making you feel full.
Weight gain does usually take time and doesn’t happen overnight. Enjoy the food you are eating, and try to look forward to eating more frequent meals or bigger portions!
Many people are dieting and trying to lose weight so it can feel tough to have to do the opposite, but see the positives in weightgain. Being able to eat more, eat alot of food, hopefully feel more energetic and stronger, and also the health benefits of weight gain if it is something your body needs!
If you have any questions regarding this topic or other nutrition related posts, don’t forget to comment below and i will do my best to answer!