+ 13 October 2020

Sustaining a calorie surplus isn’t always easy. Whether it be demanding work schedules, family commitments, stress or last-minute events, eating a nutritionally balanced meal can sometimes become a low priority. Of course, when trying to gain weight, maintaining a calorie surplus is vitally important to achieving your goals. Today we are looking at five ways in which you can amend your eating habits in order to maintain your progress.


  1.     Focus on your weekly food consumption

If you have different eating habits during the week than you do over the weekend, look at your diet and calorie intake over a seven-day period instead. If you are struggling to consume enough food due to your job or lifestyle during the working week, you have the flexibility to make up for it over the weekend as more often than not, you’ll have more time on your hands. As long as your overall week ticks the box of what you should be consuming, it does not matter as much that the days may have been a little bit more spread out. Scheduling your food intake around your weekly lifestyle means that you don’t need to alter your plans, nor feel stressed that you may have fallen a little short on a particularly busy day.


  1.     Increase food volume

Another way to increase your overall consumption would be by reviewing how often you are eating a meal throughout the day. For example, some people take the ‘little and often’ approach by attacking very small portions every hour and a half. If you then have an unexpected interruption to your schedule, it may make it difficult to maintain this eating frequency and so it would make sense to have larger portions. While little and often does work for some people, for others it may lead to you feeling constantly full while not getting that much food in overall.


  1.     Increase food density

While food volume refers to the quantity of food being consumed at any given meal, food density on the other hand looks at your food more closely to see what it actually involves from a nutritional standpoint. While it is not advisable to substitute a healthy well-balanced diet for junk food just to get those calories in, you could easily lean more towards calorie dense foods such as peanut butter which has a high fat content. For example, you could very easily add a tablespoon of peanut butter into a smoothie for an additional 94 calories. Making small adjustments like these to your meals do add up and can make a difference overall.


  1. Supplement with some fast-acting carbohydrates

Supplementation can prove beneficial to training and muscle development especially where time limitations exist in accessing whole foods. You could for example add fast-releasing carbohydrates into a shake after a workout. They do have different digestion rates however and so it may take some trial and error to find a source which does not cause any bloating and will help you to easily refuel after a session. 


  1. Reduce your fibre intake

If you are struggling to eat extra calories on a vegetarian or plant-based diet especially, consider reducing your fibre intake given that you are still getting the recommended amount of micronutrients. This is because fibre is harder to digest and so it’ll leave you feeling fuller for longer. So if you do increase your food volume, you can focus on less fibrous foods. 


Our eating schedules are often developed around our work or general lifestyle routines and so if you struggle to maintain a calorie surplus for weight gain, try to implement one or more of the tips discussed above. With most things, it comes down to trial and error when finding a solution that will work for you, so try not to feel disheartened if it takes a little longer than you were expecting to get it right.

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