Gaining weight is not easy, especially if you don’t take in a lot of protein; that’s a significant compound of a carnivore diet. Vegetarians are often quite slim and don’t put on weight as quickly as meat eaters. In this article, we tell you how to gain weight as a vegetarian, with tips ranging from diet to workout.
But it’s not impossible to make your dreams come true and gain weight as a vegetarian, and we’re here to show you how!
What is the Main Issue?
The main problem is the structure of macronutrients you take via food. A vegetarian diet is primarily plant-based, and plant-based proteins have a specific structure that our carnivore GIT doesn’t recognize.
Therefore, we can’t absorb and use them to build muscles. But other rules of weight gain apply to vegetarians too. You need to keep in mind how much of the stuff you take will be in fibers and how much of it you won’t be able to absorb.
Step Up Your Calorie Game
The first rule of every weight gain is to make your calorie intake much greater than the amount you’ll spend on your basal metabolism and additional activities. For example, if you’re a grown-up and a man, you probably need around 2500 calories a day.
The idea behind gaining weight is to add the building blocks you can store and use when you need them. So, instead of eating 2500 calories daily, eat around 3000, if you can.
Also, ensure that there is not so much fiber in your average meals since it will make it harder for you to eat as many calories as you need.
Combine Science and Your Instinct
A simple solution is to track your daily calorie intake and set a higher goal. A calorie counter may help you estimate how many calories are in your food.
Also, make sure not to be hungry because the feeling of hunger is the natural indicator that your body is about to do glycogenesis.
Glycogenesis is a process that happens mainly in the liver. When the liver registers low blood sugar, it starts demolishing amino acids from the muscles and making them glucose so the brain won’t be hungry (your brain is quite a picky sugar eater).
Write Everything Down
Start maintaining a food diary now that you have a better sense of how many calories you need to consume daily to reach your weight gain objectives.
The caloric information for each item you enter is often included in the free food-tracking apps, which are an excellent resource since they give you a reasonably realistic snapshot of how many calories you consume in a day.
You don’t have to maintain a food diary forever. But it would be best if you made it a habit to do so for at least a few months after you begin eating foods that are higher in calories.
That way, you may better know how many calories you take in daily.
Have More Meals
It might be difficult to consume enough calories to gain weight, even if you eat three enormous meals every day.
Huge meals three times a day may make you bloated and feel heavy. That is not a scenario we want since, in that state, you won’t be able to go to the gym and give your one hundred percent there. But there’s a solution.
Instead of overeating three times a day, consider spreading your meals out over the course of the day and eating six smaller meals to add up to the same calorie count. People who become full easily and find it difficult to eat a large meal all at once may benefit greatly from this strategy.
What should you eat to gain weight as a vegetarian?
Fortunately, there are a lot of foods that you can eat that have plenty of calories and are vegetarian-friendly. Here’s a list of your new best friends:
- Nuts and nut butter
- Olive oil
- Sweet potatoes
Avocados are super yummy and creamy, and they are just a bomb of useful micronutrients (besides being a 300 calorie delight per piece).
Incorporate half an avocado into your morning smoothie, smear it on some sprouted toast for breakfast, or dice it up to use in your salad or omelet.
Eat Some Quinoa
Quinoa is a nutritious pseudo-grain that is full of protein, fiber, and a wide variety of other elements that are necessary for the body. Cooked quinoa has around 222 calories, 8 grams of protein, and 5 grams of fiber per one cup (185 grams) serving.
You can add it to soups or some different form of food, and you’ll be all right with protein intake, as well as magnesium, potassium, and other valuable electrolytes.
Good electrolyte balance is important for the homeostasis in your body, and homeostasis is important for your potential to grow.
Sweeten Your Journey with Sweet Potatoes
Many people like sweet potatoes as a source of carbohydrates because of their attractive appearance, enticing taste, and excellent nutritional value.
Thanks to trends on TikTok, sweet potatoes have made their entrance into our lives big time. And that’s great, especially if you’re vegetarian and planning on bulking up.
Two hundred grams of cooked sweet potatoes provide 180 calories necessary for weight gain. If you combine it with spinach, you can get a natural iron boost. So, make sure to experiment with cooking this orange root vegetable in various ways, including roasting, baking, mashing, or grilling.
Olive oil has been widely praised for its beneficial effects on health due to its high monounsaturated fat content. In persons with type 2 diabetes, monounsaturated fats have been proven to boost “good” HDL cholesterol, lower blood triglycerides, and regulate blood sugar.
Antioxidants are present in plenty of olive oil and are responsible for protecting your cells from oxidative damage and lowering your chance of developing chronic diseases.
Olive oil is a nutritious way to bulk up a dish, adding around 120 calories to just one tablespoon. Pour it over your cooked vegetables, include it into your salad dressing, or use it as a simmer to give your foods a calorie and taste boost.
An absolute master of calorie count, coming from the kitchens of the Middle East, tahini holds a trophy as a paste with a great calorie count.
Only 100g of this pasty sesame delicacy contains around 595 calories! You can use it as a dip, spreading, or dressing and get yourself a healthy amount of all the necessary nutrients.
We’re all Nuts for Nuts
If you’re trying to put on weight, nuts are a fantastic option since they include protein, healthy fats, and a high number of calories.
For example, a single-ounce portion of walnuts has 185 calories and more than 4 grams of protein. Almonds, cashews, walnuts, and pecans, to name a few, are high in calories and may be included in your diet regularly in small amounts to help you gain weight healthfully.
Get that Dopamine Boost
Also, eating nuts is proven to help regulate dopamine release, which boosts your psychological feeling of satisfaction.
Fun fact – this is one of the many reasons addiction recovery professionals advise former addicts (especially malnourished ones) to incorporate more nuts in their diet.
Suppose you have a problem of that kind, too. In that case, you need to be aware that nutritional balance is essential for overcoming this problem and becoming more mentally and physically healthy.
Balance is the Key
When we say nutritional balance, what we mean is – balance in macronutrients. Macronutrients are the foundation of any diet and may be found in plants, animals, seafood, and even grains.
Carbohydrates, fats, and proteins are the three macronutrients that comprise the bulk of a typical diet. You can’t get by on just one of these nutrients – your body requires all three.
Weight-watchers, bodybuilders, and others trying to improve their health in various ways often aim to consume in certain ratios of fat, protein, and carbs.
Make Plans According to Your Body Needs
It’s also often held that individuals do not remain consistent members of a single body type category throughout their lifetimes.
According to this hypothesis, understanding your current body type is a powerful tool for guiding your dietary choices. In essence, there is no magic method to guarantee weight growth when adhering to a vegetarian diet.
Spend some time getting to know your body so you can create a strategy that is just right for you.
Ditch the Cardio
If you hate running or any cardio, this will be great news for you. Also, not every cardio is the same. If you put an athlete that runs marathons next to an athlete that runs sprints, you’ll see a significant difference in muscle mass.
Marathons drain much energy and eat up muscle since they run on aerobic metabolism. Meanwhile, sprints are based on anaerobic metabolism and are more similar to the exercise you do in the gym.
When we say cardio, we mainly mean the slower, aerobic exercise that focuses on enhancing your heart performance, not necessarily stressing out your muscles with lactic acid and making them protect themselves with building blocks.
Vegetarians need to note that they need to lay low with aerobic cardio, at least while actively trying to gain weight.
Make your Dreams Come True
As you see, it’s absolutely possible to gain weight as a vegetarian. There are little adjustments to be made. But, when you put a little effort into it, anything is possible.
Of course, if you have any more questions about this matter, don’t fret to ask. We’ll be happy to support you and cheer for you on your path to a better self.
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Rohan Arora is a Certified Personal Trainer and Sports Nutritionist and has been actively involved in sports and fitness for over 8 years. He now leads the team of fitness specialists and personal trainers who help people around the world with personalized workout and nutrition plans, along with providing the right information on sports supplements.