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Quick Summary Points

  • Vegans should aim for a calorie surplus whereby your calorie intake exceeds the number of calories you use in a day
  • Weight gain is mostly a matter of calorie expenditure vs. intake
  • Increasing weight can be easily adjusted by adding a variety of nutritious foods
  • Adding a carb supplement to your post-workout would give you extra energy
  • For vegan trainers, it can be beneficial to add a multi-vitamin to avoid the risk of nutrient deficiencies

When it comes to gaining weight, some people can find it challenging. But for those who are vegan, it can be even more challenging to gain weight as vegans primarily rely on plant-based products to gain all their essential nutrients to promote lean muscle growth. Fortunately, there are certain tips and methods of helping vegans gain weight. Read on for more useful information. 

Gaining Weight as a Vegan

Although many of us are looking to lose weight, there are still those who are struggling to put on weight. What it really comes down to is as simple as calories in versus calories out.  The main reason why it is hard for vegans to gain weight has to with the amount of nutrient and calorie dense foods that they need to be consumed in order to reach their protein intake and the amount of calories.

What you want to be achieving is a calorie surplus. A calorie surplus is basically ensuring that your calorie intake exceeds the number of calories you use in a day. Therefore, what you want to be aiming for is to reach that calorie surplus from food sources or supplements that can help balance out your macronutrients.

Tips On How to Gain Weight for Vegans

As the theory of gaining weight can be altered easily by consuming calories, here are some tips you can follow in order to reach your goals.

1        Consume foods that are high in calories

For most trainers or body builders, their goal is to build muscle mass. By doing so, you can increase your energy intake to slowly gain weight. Consider consuming high-calorie plant or plant-based foods that include nuts, seeds, whole grain bread with peanut butter, starchy vegetables, omega 3 & 6 fats etc. 

2        Increase snacking times

You may think snacking may not do much, but all of it does add up at the end of the day.  If you are choosing the correct foods that contain more nutrients. Snack on foods that are calorie dense such as whole grains, nuts, quinoa, legumes, and fruits. It is also important to choose calorie dense foods that contain healthy fats like avocados as these are rich in monounsaturated fats and protein that will provide you the energy you need throughout the day. 

3        Adding more weight training sessions

In order to put on weight, there are two key components. One is though food & diet and the other one is adding more weight training sessions. To cause a specific response from our body, we need to use resistance training and get our body in homeostasis.  If we consume just food and do not incooperate weight training, you’ll just be getting fat. But, if we lift weights and don’t consume enough food,  you can get strong but you will not get the results of gaining muscle or weight.  

4        Know which foods have high fats sources

One of the most beneficial healthy fats to include in your diet is to include omega 3 fatty acids. These sources are not only essential for brain function, but these fats can help lower inflammation in your body. Alpha Linoleic Acid (ALA) is an omega 3 fatty acid found in food which can convert to Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA) or Docosahexaenoic (DHA). As there are not many plant foods that contain EPA & DHA, to help you gain weight you can incorporate ALA-rich foods including walnuts, greens and flax seeds.

There has been studies that have concluded that those who consume high amounts of saturated and monounsaturated fats result in higher levels of testosterone. For any bodybuilder or athlete, it is a positive sign as this means more muscle growth. So be sure to keep an eye out on these healthy fats. 

5        Increase the size of the meal

This is definitely a method that is quite effective. By slowly increasing your portion size you will slowly see progress overtime. This can start of by increasing your portion size by 10%, 20%, 30% and work your way from there. 

6        Adding a carb-supplement

Although protein is a staple for vegan bodybuilders, there are also other sources that are just as effective. By adding a carb-supplement can really increase the calorie uptake especially after a workout when you are trying to gain weight. It can also give you a rich source of energy that is essential for increasing weight and keep you going throughout the day. 

Supplements for Vegans 

To help further accomplish your goals, you will require sufficient calories plus muscle building protein. Here are some supplements that can be added into your training routine. The easiest option for vegans to add to their mass gaining stack is by including a pea protein which can be combined with buckwheat, amaranth or organic flours to help fuel your workouts. It may be beneficial to combine it with a carbohydrate source for an extra energy boost.  It may be useful to add in a multi-vitamin as many vegetarians are prone to suffer from deficiencies. Although a multi-vitamin is not a complete substitute for a balanced diet but it can assist with energy levels & control of appetite.

Vegan Protein Powder

Carbohydrate Supplement

Multi-vitamin

Our Verdict 

On an end note, if you add more calories to your body compared to the numbers being burnt, your body will progress and gain weight.  Additionally, by following the tips in this article by including more fats, higher calorie dense food, larger portion sizes, and more energy-rich snacks you are on the right path to gaining weight. 

References

Schuna, Carly, and Carly Schuna. "Does Being A Vegan Make You Skinny?". LIVESTRONG.COM. N.p., 2017. Web. 24 May 2017. 

"Gain Weight As A Vegan". No Meat Athlete. N.p., 2017. Web. 24 May 2017.

"Healthy Fats To Gain Weight For Vegans". Healthyeating.sfgate.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 24 May 2017. 

"Getting Big & Strong On A Vegan Diet!". Bodybuilding.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 25 May 2017. 

"How To Gain Weight While Being A Vegan". Healthyeating.sfgate.com. N.p., 2017. Web. 25 May 2017.

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