Having super hard time eating enough calories

by 5 · September 01, 2013 at 05:15 AM

I recently started Paleo and I have found it super difficult to get anywhere close to enough calories. I'm a 5.4 female that is slightly overweight and I eat till I'm full every meal but those meals are barely making it to 1000 calories total and I'm having to force myself to eat to get up to a healthy minimum. I usually eat meat (usually beef, turkey, or bacon, sometimes chicken cooked in olive oil), almonds and/or avocado (1/2 each) and lots of veggies (broccoli, cauliflour, spinach, some carrots, peppers, onions, etc) with each meal and I drink a ton of water every day. Besides almonds and avocados, what are some affordable foods (I'm on a ridiculously tight budget) I could add to my meals to make sure I'm getting a minimum?

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7 Replies

24412 · August 31, 2013 at 08:51 AM

First, you can quit drinking a ton of water every day. Probably not helping because it is a trick people use to eat less by taking up space in the stomach. Drink to thirst and you'll have a stronger concentration of stomach acid to digest your food so it can move down better and not leave you feeling uncomfortably full after just a small amount of food. All that "by the time you are already thirsty you are dehydrated", and drink a large glass of water at the beginning of a meal stuff just doesn't hold up to scrutiny or common sense.

Do you like potato salad? Cheap and pretty easy to make in large batches, a carton of eggs, bag of potatoes, pickles, dill, and something to bring it all together. You can make your own mayo to go with it or use greek yogurt as the binder and make enough for the better part of a week at once. I'll even freeze extras if I make too much.

Hit up the butcher shop for cheap or free marrow bones and roast them in the oven. The cooked marrow is awesome all by itself with a pinch of salt, cooked into custard, or smashed into sweet potato or other root veggies. Organ meats and leaf lard often come cheap or free if you are lucky enough to ask at the right times. Chicken hearts, livers, and gizzards are crazy tasty just fried up, but also make a mean giblet gravy to pour on some potatoes for a cheap and nutritious meal.

For the sake of maximizing the bang for your buck and calories, cooked white rice (even though "er mah gahd grains aren't paleo," my inner valley girl is saying) is a low toxin food as far as starchy things go, and can add a fair number of low cost calories without screwing up your gut or depleting your minerals.

If budget is crazy tight, dandelions are more nutrient dense than most green vegetables you'll get at the store. Learn some plant identification, and you can forage for some pretty tasty weeds no matter where you are.

How many meals are you eating? If you eat 3 meals with a hunk of meat or eggs, something starchy, something green, and some fat it should be pretty easy to hit 1500 calories at least. Most of my meals seem to clock in at 600-700ish calories.

599 · September 01, 2013 at 03:14 AM

Here are some tips

  • don't drink "a ton of water", just drink enough (which should be buided by thirst)
  • you might swap out your vegetables, because you list vegetables which are not particularly calorie dense and if eating enough calories is your problem, you want to eat calorie-dense foods. So look for calorie-denser foods (like potatoes)
  • you might even consider reducing the amount of vegetables to make room for more calorie-dense foods
  • one way to get in a lot of calories: bulletproof coffee/tea. Put coconut oil and/or butter with coffee or tea in a blender and create a delicious and very calorie dense beverages (Example: Putting 60g/2 oz. of butter in a cup of tea or coffee will add about 430 kcal. Two tablespoons of coconut oil (about 30g/1 oz.) will add about 260 kcal. Grass fed butter, like Kerrygold, is relatively cheap compared to calorie content).
  • you can make yourself shakes with heavy cream, fruit and yogurt, which are also very calorie dense and easier to "over-consume" that a piece meat, because they are liquid and very palatable.
  • make scrambled eggs and use a good amount of butter. You can make them so the butter is basically in the eggs when they're done.
  • I personally find things like turkey or chicken are relatively poor choices if you want to eat more calories, because they are very satiating, but don't have a lot of calories. If you eat, chicken, eat it with the skin.
  • With cheese (if you tolerate it) it is often easier to eat a lot of calories
  • Dark chocolate (85% dark chocolate only has about 3g of sugar per ounce, but about 180 kcal)
  • Adding fruit to meals or eating it with the meals can increase hunger and food consumption
  • Increase the "feeding window" (Eat as early as possible (as soon as you have hunger) and eat as late as you want.)
  • You can try changing the number of meals. Some people might be able to eat more calories when eating more than 3 meals a day.

There probably are a lot of other things you can do, but those are the ones that come to mind right now. It is a very individual thing, so you have to try what works best for you. But I hope you find some these tips useful and can find something that makes it easier for you to eat more calories. Good luck.

542 · August 31, 2013 at 07:21 PM

Lard is inexpensive and densely caloric. Doing your vegetables and meat in lard should boost calories per meal.

1142 · August 31, 2013 at 07:29 AM

That seems a very healthy diet. If you need to lose weight does it matter if you feel okay on 1000 calories to stick with that for now? I am your height but never have any trouble eating loads of calories. I suspect I simply eat a lot more meat and eggs than you do.

Perhaps add butter to your veg. Try pork belly slices (lots of fat and 5 of those is about 7900 calories alone). I can easily eat 1000 calories of nuts and raisins as a snack although I try not to as trying to lose weight. I also sometimes eat two large sweet potatoes and I could easily eat 4 or 5 of those with lots of butter and I am sure if I ever wanted to increase my calories I could eat those without limit to put on weight.

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560 · September 01, 2013 at 05:15 AM

I have the same problem - always had a small stomach and I'm actually doing Paleo more for general health and to even try and gain a few pounds (always been on the underweight side)...

Some things I do: -snack on calorie dense foods whenever you have the chance - try dark chocolate or fatty seeds/nuts. You can buy cooking grade chololate or dark chocolate chips on the cheap.

-buy coconut cream. I get it from Trader Joes for around $1.50 per can and the cans contain about 850 calories. I could drink the stuff plain... But be careful at first because some people have gross reactions at the other end of digestion. I don't... I usually make a morning power shake with coconut cream, whole fat yogurt and/or raw eggs, ripe banana, and a choice of frozen fruit/berries and maybe some cinnamon and vanilla, sometimes greens too.

-Eat lots of butter and coconut oil. Calorie for dollar these are a great deal and taste like heaven with almost anything. Any other pure saturated or monounsaturated fat sources are going to be a godsend to people like us who have trouble getting enough calories. Olive oil is great but not quite as "eat it with everything or even plain" wonderful.

414 · September 01, 2013 at 02:22 AM

tea with 2 tb coconut cream or regular cream when ever you like

300 · September 01, 2013 at 01:43 AM

Your body might be using energy more effectively.

Keep in mind that if your fat cells are now releasing their energy, you will also be getting energy from this source. This will offset the dietary energy requirements.

Human are considerably more energy efficient than the typical food court crowd would imply. As long as micro-nutrient precautions are followed (Vitamin C, etc); you can simply start increasing the duration between meals. There is a wealth of literature on the benefits of Intermittent Fasting.

The fact we even have any fat cells is an indicator of intermittent fasting and feasting in human prehistory.

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