- With Mayo Clinic nutritionist
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.read biographyclose window
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor for the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, Katherine is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She is active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition education related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
Nutrition basics (31)
- Phenylalanine in diet soda: Is it harmful?
- Water softeners: How much sodium do they add?
- Diet soda: Is it bad for you?
- see all in Nutrition basics
Healthy diets (11)
- Canola oil: Does it contain toxins?
- Butter vs. margarine: Which is better for my heart?
- Detox diets: Do they work?
- see all in Healthy diets
Healthy cooking (7)
- When the heat is on, which oil should you use?
- Moldy cheese: Is it OK to eat?
- Food poisoning: How long can you safely keep leftovers?
- see all in Healthy cooking
Healthy menus and shopping strategies (8)
- White whole-wheat bread: Is it nutritious?
- Sodium nitrate in meat: Heart disease risk factor?
- Brominated vegetable oil: Why is BVO in my drink?
- see all in Healthy menus and shopping strategies
Nutritional supplements (18)
- What is wheatgrass — And why is it in my drink?
- Prenatal vitamins: OK for women who aren't pregnant?
- Too much vitamin C: Harmful?
- see all in Nutritional supplements
Underweight? See how to add pounds healthfully
What's a good way to gain weight if you're underweight?
from Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
If you're underweight, trying to gain weight can be as hard as trying to lose weight when you're overweight. Although being lean can often be healthy, being underweight can be a concern if it's the result of poor nutrition or a medical condition, or if you're pregnant or have other health concerns. So, if you're underweight, see your doctor or dietitian for an evaluation. Together, you can plan how to meet your goal weight.
Here are some healthy ways to gain weight when you're underweight:
- Eat more frequently. When you're underweight, you may feel full faster. Eat five to six smaller meals during the day rather than two or three large meals.
- Choose nutrient-rich foods. As part of an overall healthy diet, choose whole-grain breads, pastas and cereals; fruits and vegetables; low-fat dairy products; lean protein sources; and nuts and seeds.
- Try smoothies and shakes. Don't fill up on diet soda, coffee and other drinks with few calories and little nutritional value. Instead, drink smoothies or healthy shakes made with low-fat milk and fresh or frozen juice, and sprinkle in some ground flaxseed. In some cases a liquid meal replacement beverage may be recommended. Drink fluids either 30 minutes before or after a meal, not with it, to avoid becoming full before you eat.
- Add in calorie-dense snacks. Snack on nuts, peanut butter, cheese, dried fruits and avocados. Have a bedtime snack, such as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich or a wrap sandwich with avocado, sliced vegetables, and lean meat or cheese.
- Top it off. Add extras to your dishes for more calories — such as cheese in casseroles, soups and scrambled eggs, and nonfat dried milk in stews.
- Have a healthy treat. Even when you're underweight, be mindful of excess sugar and fat. Have healthy treats that also provide nutrients, such as bran muffins, yogurt, fruit pies and granola bars.
- Exercise. Exercise, especially strength training, can help you gain weight by building up your muscles. Exercise may also stimulate your appetite.
Caffeine: Is it dehydrating or not?
- Duyff RL. The American Dietetic Association Complete Food and Nutrition Guide. 3rd ed. Hoboken, N.J.: John Wiley & Sons; 2006:42.
- Zeratsky KA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. Rochester, Minn. July 19, 2011.
- Nelson JK (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. July 20, 2011.
- Whitney E, et al. Understanding Nutrition. 12th ed. Belmont, Calif.: Thomson Higher Education; 2011.