While many Americans are struggling with obesity and overeating, there is still a significant portion of the population that is looking to put on weight. Sounds easy, right? Load up on junk food, and you’ll hit your calorie goal in no time. But surely there has to be a healthier way.
Many people were shocked to learn that Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps had to consume roughly 10,000 calories a day in order to keep up with his strenuous training schedule. His meals consist of mostly high fat, energy dense foods. See his breakfast below, on display at the American Museum of Natural History through August.
While this doesn’t appear to be the healthiest diet, there is no doubt that eating 10,000 calories of fibrous fruits and vegetables would not only require a lot of eating (those are low calorie foods) but also likely cause intestinal turmoil (too much fiber… way too much fiber).
That being said, there has to be some middle ground. Here are some of my top picks for healthy foods that are energy dense AND nutrient dense.
- Avocado: healthy fats add calories, and heart healthy nutrients
- Quinoa: so much nutrition packed into this power grain
- Nuts & Nut Butters: a perfect balance of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats
- Dried Fruit: more nutrition concentrated into a smaller package
- Smoothies: an easy way load lots of healthy foods into a portable beverage
So what what kind of breakfast would I recommend for someone looking to add more healthy calories?
Perhaps 2 slices of hearty whole grain toast topped with a generous serving of turkey and avocado, topped with a fried egg. (Image via a splash of vanilla)
Another filling breakfast would be a big bowl of quinoa cooked in milk, topped with honey, and a large helping of raisins and almonds. (image via Pinterest, original source unknown)
A hearty smoothie made with fruits, yogurt, and nut butter would also be an energy dense accompaniment to any athletes breakfast. (image via 100 days of real food)
And if you were burning as many calories as Michael Phelps, I might recommend that you eat all of these things together 😉 What foods do you gravitate towards when your body needs energy?