How to Consume Enough Calories - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 10-02-2014, 09:11 AM
 
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Question How to Consume Enough Calories

This past month I have simultaneously moved to college, become vegan, and realized I am calorie deficient. This is quite overwhelming. Based on my height, weight, age, and activity level I am supposed to be consuming around 2,200 calories a day. After inputting my food intake for a few days it became clear I do not eat over 1,200 a day. I don't want to eat processed vegan food; I am trying to stick with whole foods. So, my question is how am I supposed to consume 2,200 calories a day of real, whole foods and be able to afford that as a broke college student?

On a side note, I do have a kitchen I can use for all of my meals.
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#2 Old 10-02-2014, 09:14 AM
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wholemeal pasta is quite calorific.

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#3 Old 10-02-2014, 09:26 AM
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Peanut butter.

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#4 Old 10-02-2014, 09:45 AM
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What does a day of meals consist of for you? What is your food budget? Are you vegan or raw vegan?

You HAVE to eat comically large portions of fruit and veg to get enough calories. Try starting the day with a bowl of oatmeal and 7-8 pieces of fruit. A healthy juice or smoothie with lunch (which could be another bowl of grains or another 7-8 pieces of fruit/veg). A handful of nuts or seeds make a healthy snack and making your own nut milk is far less expensive than store bought and also a good source of calories and fat. I personally always cook up something filling for dinner that would resemble an actual meal, but if you don't have time for from scratch cooking, another smoothie/juice, more grains and more fruit and veg will do. Count on eating A LOT of fruit and veg! Like, what most omni families of 4 go through in produce in a week would be about what a vegan should go through in a day.

I consume about 1800 calories a day (as that is what I feel healthiest eating and maintains a healthy weight for me). I shop what produce is on sale and buy grains from the bulk bin (also when on sale). It helps to know what freezes well, and buy that up when it's on sale and freeze for later. It also means planning meals around whatever happened to be on sale that week. Usually, that's seasonal produce. Right now, we are eating lots of squash, zucchini, pumpkin, pears, pomegranates and carrots (25lb bag for $8, thats a lot of carrots!) because thats whats cheap right now. Over the summer, I was buying endless bags of cherries and blueberries/strawberries for next to nothing and freezing them for times of year they are expensive/unavailable. Start getting used to eating grains too. You can do a stir fry for flavor, but store bought sauces are both processed and expensive, so not really good if you're on a budget. I was an ova/lacto veg for years and years, and have only gone vegan recently. Not buying (organic) eggs and (organic) dairy products has made my grocery bill go down so much. Even having to buy more produce than before it's still about $15-$20 less a week!!! If I could get my husband off dairy and eggs, our grocery bill would be around $70-$80 a week for 2 people (but he's an omni and won't consider not eating those). I would imagine if shopping for just myself, I would be looking at about $50-$60 a week which isn't bad for a healthy diet.
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#5 Old 10-02-2014, 10:19 AM
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Adding oil into things you're eating would help bring up the calories and good fats. Starchy foods are high calorie as well. Something like a baked potato drizzled with olive oil and sea salt, yum yum! Or a nice oily quinoa salad in a whole wheat wrap with hummus.

Last edited by Limes; 10-02-2014 at 03:41 PM.
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#6 Old 10-02-2014, 11:20 AM
 
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Thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwibird08 View Post
What does a day of meals consist of for you? What is your food budget? Are you vegan or raw vegan?

You HAVE to eat comically large portions of fruit and veg to get enough calories. Try starting the day with a bowl of oatmeal and 7-8 pieces of fruit. A healthy juice or smoothie with lunch (which could be another bowl of grains or another 7-8 pieces of fruit/veg). A handful of nuts or seeds make a healthy snack and making your own nut milk is far less expensive than store bought and also a good source of calories and fat. I personally always cook up something filling for dinner that would resemble an actual meal, but if you don't have time for from scratch cooking, another smoothie/juice, more grains and more fruit and veg will do. Count on eating A LOT of fruit and veg! Like, what most omni families of 4 go through in produce in a week would be about what a vegan should go through in a day.

I consume about 1800 calories a day (as that is what I feel healthiest eating and maintains a healthy weight for me). I shop what produce is on sale and buy grains from the bulk bin (also when on sale). It helps to know what freezes well, and buy that up when it's on sale and freeze for later. It also means planning meals around whatever happened to be on sale that week. Usually, that's seasonal produce. Right now, we are eating lots of squash, zucchini, pumpkin, pears, pomegranates and carrots (25lb bag for $8, thats a lot of carrots!) because thats whats cheap right now. Over the summer, I was buying endless bags of cherries and blueberries/strawberries for next to nothing and freezing them for times of year they are expensive/unavailable. Start getting used to eating grains too. You can do a stir fry for flavor, but store bought sauces are both processed and expensive, so not really good if you're on a budget. I was an ova/lacto veg for years and years, and have only gone vegan recently. Not buying (organic) eggs and (organic) dairy products has made my grocery bill go down so much. Even having to buy more produce than before it's still about $15-$20 less a week!!! If I could get my husband off dairy and eggs, our grocery bill would be around $70-$80 a week for 2 people (but he's an omni and won't consider not eating those). I would imagine if shopping for just myself, I would be looking at about $50-$60 a week which isn't bad for a healthy diet.

Thank you for the tips! How do you manage to score produce so cheap?
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#7 Old 10-02-2014, 12:03 PM
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Unfortunately, if you aren't rich difficult decisions must be made about diet. I have to buy a lot of conventionally raised and scrub it within an inch of its life before eating. I prioritize my organic produce purchases to the most nutrient rich varieties to get more nutritional bang for my buck (leafy greens, berries, cherries, peaches, nuts and grains I buy organic). The way I look at it is a choice between eating junk food and getting enough (nutritionally void) calories (not a good option), eating all organic and starving (even bigger no, I hate feeling hungry!) or eating a large portion of conventionally raised produce which may not be *as* healthy as the organic version, but is still better than heavily processed junk food (lesser of the evils).

I eat a lot of bananas, potatoes, apples, sweet potatoes and onions because those tend to be very cheap year round (we live here in OR, so it may be different elsewhere). Our local Winco almost always has pre-weighed bags of random produce for super cheap compared to the per-pound price (hence my 25lbs of carrots I'm working through right now lol they also had 5lb bags of oranges, grapefruits, kiwifruits and 3 types of apples this week, so I stocked up on those too. They almost always have the "discounted bulk" bags of avocados, apples, potatoes and onions. You pay less when you buy bulk, so those bagged deals are good to save with. When theres seasonally cheap produce, well we eat lots of that until the price goes up or it's out of season. You can also freeze many types of produce without loosing much nutritional value. And to be perfectly honest, I know conventional is not as nutritionally dense as organic, but it's still a million times better to eat lots of conventionally raised produce (wash thoroughly, they do use pesticides on it!) than the SAD when you're on a tight budget. I'm sure some want to preach all organic (which is lovely if you can afford it, and essential on certain things that may be GMO or too heavily pesticides to wash away), but not everyone can afford all organic. Especially if you want to eat a healthy diet as a vegan.
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#8 Old 10-02-2014, 05:32 PM
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Pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, and sunflower seeds tend to be far cheaper in grocery stores than say almonds, walnuts, or cashews. I eat them often as snacks or use them in salads, casseroles, etc.

Not sure if you have access to a stove but if you buy dry beans in bulk they are also very cheap, but even canned isn't bad. I often eat one cup servings of beans at a time, sometimes mashed with banana, cooked carrots, pumpkin or sweet potato. Also, if you can find farmers markets in your area or produce stands they are often more reasonable than grocery stores for fruits and vegetables.

Dried fruits like medjool dates or figs are also calorie dense and figs are loaded with calcium and iron. I can eat quite a few figs or dates before feeling full. Fresh figs are insanely expensive but the dry ones are not too bad if bought in bulk. I do grow some of my own produce, but even if you just grow one plant or a few herbs in a pot it helps. My collard greens and basil leaves just keep growing and growing even after I pick half the leaves off them. Sometimes I wrap bananas or dates or peanut butter in a collard wrap for a snack.

Some plant milks like rice milk, full fat soy milk, and hemp milk are higher in calories also. If you have access to a blender and some cheesecloth or a nutmilk bag you can make your own. But commercial soy milk and full fat almond milks are relatively comparable in price to dairy milk and a glass here and there can add calories to your diet.

If you want to eat a whole foods healthy diet but do not want to spend a lot of money, then you will need to look at cutting costs elsewhere. This is what I have done. I buy my clothes and other items like books and so on second hand or on clearance. I don't spend a lot of money on gadgets like cell phones and ipads and so on. I have an old flip phone lol. I ride my bike to work or walk often instead of driving. If I do drive it usually isn't far or it is a planned trip I can save for. I eat out no more than five or six times a year. I make my own plant milks and bread often to save money. I just finished college while working and supporting a disabled husband and graduated last May and I lived very tight for a long time, but I did invest in a few quality items and did not skimp on good food. I needed to put on a lot of weight for medical reasons unrelated to being vegan (I put on 22 lbs as a vegan just to get up to a low normal weight last year and into this year). I still need quite a bit of food to maintain my weight.

I also find that highly processed vegan foods like daiya cheese or veggie meats or commercial vegan mayo is much more expensive than foods like beans, bulk grains, fruits/vegetables, seeds, tofu, potatoes and so on. You do have to eat a bit more whole foods to get your calories higher but it isn't hard if you include foods like figs, dates, natural peanut butter, seeds, coconut, and avocado in your diet.

Also, for me, to gain and maintain my weight I needed to relax more around food and not be too strict about allowing occasional homemade treats (bars, muffins, dark chocolate cocoa, etc) or processed foods once in a great while.
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#9 Old 10-02-2014, 05:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwarren View Post
This past month I have simultaneously moved to college, become vegan, and realized I am calorie deficient. This is quite overwhelming. Based on my height, weight, age, and activity level I am supposed to be consuming around 2,200 calories a day. After inputting my food intake for a few days it became clear I do not eat over 1,200 a day. I don't want to eat processed vegan food; I am trying to stick with whole foods. So, my question is how am I supposed to consume 2,200 calories a day of real, whole foods and be able to afford that as a broke college student?
Dear Warren.
Wrong way. Our life is not about food and calories, but about the question: can we succeed and be useful for the society?
Please, give up the idea of calories and pay attention to your productivity. If you are a student, the major your need is good brain productivity. The best and only food for neurons is glucose. The best natural source of glucose is fructose in sweet fruits.
Besides, take into account that human body is ve-e-r-ry conservative. If you just switched to vegan diet it can take you about three months to adjust to new type of food. Body shall lose excessive fat, accumulated under the skin, and change weight. Don’t forget regular intensive athletic activities. They are very important if you wish to stay in a good shape. Have enough organism hardening procedures, which include contrast showers or exposure to low and high temperatures in contrast.
KiwiBird gave you suggestions how to cut down expenses. The only thing that I'd love to attract you attention to is beware of genetically modified products.
Congratulations on becoming a student, you have chosen a good way to succeed.
Good luck.

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"The first and greatest victory is to conquer yourself; to be conquered by yourself is of all things most shameful and vile." Plato

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Last edited by vegan2005; 10-02-2014 at 08:37 PM.
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#10 Old 10-02-2014, 07:07 PM
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Some of my favorites are...

oatmeal topped with chia seeds and peanut butter, jam, or maple syrup
peanut butter
almond butter
jam (no sugar or fake sweeteners added)
avocado
walnuts
olive oil
hummus- drizzle with olive oil, or top with olive tapenade in oil or roasted red peppers in oil
potatoes
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#11 Old 10-03-2014, 04:48 AM
 
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Warning: Eveyone else's suggestions are much better than half of mine.


Peanut Butter

Vodka

(not together, or together if you like)
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#12 Old 10-04-2014, 03:42 AM
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I'm having issue with eating enough as well. I started tracking my nutrients on Cron-o-meter about a week ago, just to see how I was doing. What I discovered suprised me: I seldom eat over 1000 calories a day in foods (I only input the actual food and drink I consume, not any candy/chips etc I might eat, as I was primarily interested in nutrients not calories). I feel like I'm eating enough, and I'm not hungry.
And as I'm not eating enough calories (the site alots me about 1900 calories a day to maintain weight), I seldom reach my nutritional needs and this worries me. Any additional calories I might get from eating junk might help bulk up my total calorie ammount for a given day, but will not help my nutritional stats.

I eat mostly fruit, vegetables and rice/quinoea/grains (but almost always rice) - and obviously not enough of it. As I said, I don't feel hungry.

This might sound (very) stupid, but do I just have to force myself to eat more? I often eat till I'm very full at dinner especially, and the thought of eating more sounds quite unpleasant to me. I'm going to try and incorporate some of the foods mentioned earlier in this thread as well.
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#13 Old 10-04-2014, 04:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rbbr View Post
I'm having issue with eating enough as well. I started tracking my nutrients on Cron-o-meter about a week ago, just to see how I was doing. What I discovered suprised me: I seldom eat over 1000 calories a day in foods (I only input the actual food and drink I consume, not any candy/chips etc I might eat, as I was primarily interested in nutrients not calories). I feel like I'm eating enough, and I'm not hungry.
And as I'm not eating enough calories (the site alots me about 1900 calories a day to maintain weight), I seldom reach my nutritional needs and this worries me. Any additional calories I might get from eating junk might help bulk up my total calorie ammount for a given day, but will not help my nutritional stats.

I eat mostly fruit, vegetables and rice/quinoea/grains (but almost always rice) - and obviously not enough of it. As I said, I don't feel hungry.

This might sound (very) stupid, but do I just have to force myself to eat more? I often eat till I'm very full at dinner especially, and the thought of eating more sounds quite unpleasant to me. I'm going to try and incorporate some of the foods mentioned earlier in this thread as well.
Sometimes increased intensity of exercise helps with hunger. I used to run a lot and I would be ravenously hungry all the time. I cycle all over the place and don't have that same level of hunger so it might vary on the type of exercise. If I don't eat enough, regardless of hunger or not, my body will eventually let me know as I am active and not getting enough nutrients means I suffer from strains, injuries, decreased endurance and stamina and strength. When I eat healthy and well all that improves and exercise is so much more fun. Interestingly, in the days of restricting and starving myself to get to a very low weight, I found that not exercising as much helped me lose considerably more weight because I was never hungry.

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#14 Old 10-04-2014, 04:58 AM
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You might have to just eat more, just as I force myself to eat less.

Listening to my messed up hunger cues led me to being morbidly obese and I am still overweight and cleaning up the damage after 75 pounds lost.... Hunger isn't always a reliable cue.

To meet your nutritional goals, you might need to make more strategic choices to add new foods to your diet that are high in the specific nutrients you are missing. When I went veg, I found out from the tracker that I was eating low iron so I had to do some research on iron rich foods and start being more intentional about eating them. Also, cut out most of the junk food and replace with snacks that help you meet nutritional goals. For more calories, eat more snacks throughout the day, not just meals at mealtime. Eat calorie dense foods that allow you to get more calories without adding more bulk...like nuts, avocado, higher calorie veggies like corn, beans, potato, sweet potato--not just the non starchy ones that are very low cal. Drink fruit juices and eat dried fruit sometimes in addition to fresh because this is more concentrated calories. Use olive oil or other cooking oils for cooking to add calories. Eat whole grains, especially those with extra protein like quinoa, for more nutrients and fiber.


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#15 Old 10-04-2014, 01:05 PM
 
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When I first went vegan I had the same problem but that didn't last long because I started upping the other foods I didn't eat as much of or didn't eat at all.

Peanut butter, whole wheats, beans, tofu, huuuuge salads, avocados, lentils, humus... the list goes on and on. I used myfitnesspal to track what I ate and my calories.

Favourite heavy calorie breakfast: Whole wheat bagel or toast with peanut butter (and cinnamon, banana slices or jam) and fruit on the side.

On the weekend I'd make french toast if I wasn't feeling lazy.

Heavy calorie lunches and dinners were always easier to do.

Stay healthy! D:
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#16 Old 10-04-2014, 04:03 PM
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Here's a nice blog with a weeks worth of dinners with shopping list (all cheap and pretty easy)
http://www.vegansandra.com/2014/09/o...ocery.html?m=1
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#17 Old 10-06-2014, 05:14 AM
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I am evidently not the healthiest eating of vegans as I never have trouble eating enough calories, nor do I stuff myself full to bursting with fruit! I eat 5-8 portions of fruit and veg over the day, along with protein and carbs with every meal (nuts, beans, soy products, homemade seitan, tofu, tempeh; wholegrain bread, crackers, rye, rice, quinoa, couscous, pasta, corn, potatoes, tortillas). I love making vegetable, bean or nut based sauces to pour over things. Have you checked out the 'what did you eat vegan today'? thread? Lots of ideas there, some super healthy, some less so, but generally a good balance.

Activity is important for health and appetite, as others have mentioned. I work outside in a physical countryside management job, plus I walk the dog at least twice a day and I run. I get hungry, and I eat!

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#18 Old 10-06-2014, 07:54 AM
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Thank for all the tips guys!

I've given this some thought, and figured the easiest way to get more calories in, is to start eating breakfast everyday. (I know, I know! Common sense.) My mornings are pretty hectic and so I end up simply eating a banana when I arrive at work, or, as is what almost always happens, I don't eat until lunch at 10.30. So my strategy is to start small: I'm thinking a small handful of almonds, a banana and a glass of orange juice (food I can easily consume while doing my makeup), and another fruit (apple or clementine) when I arrive at work. Not crazy ammounts, but a start.

I usually work out twice a week, but haven't for the last eight weeks or so. Started back up again yesterday, and was actually feeling very hungry when I got home. I still didn't manage to eat enough that day, and with the additional calories burned due to the exercising, I was still very much undereating. So, that was a bit of a fail. But! I will keep on it.
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