What Food Should I Eat To Gain Weight? If you want to know what food should i eat to gain weight, then let me tell you there are different types of food have different types of food groups that give us energy and help us gain weight. If a person follows the nutritional needs or a regular diet he will surely gain weight regularly.
Many people want to gain weight but have little experience with food. If you need to gain weight, first you need to know what foods are healthy for gaining weight. Here i will share some of the most appropriate kind of food for gaining weight.
Why Would Someone Need to Gain Weight
In today’s culture, weight loss is a more popular topic than weight gain. It seems like so many people are looking for the next best diet or food to eat in order to lose weight. However, there are many individuals who would not benefit from weight. In fact they may need to gain weight to improve their health.
This blog will dive into who may need to focus more on weight gain versus weight loss. And how to effectively and sustainably implement weight gaining foods and strategies!
As adults age, they experience “sarcopenia”. Sarcopenia is the natural, involuntary loss of muscle mass, strength, and function. The rate of muscle loss can be increased or decreased depending on many lifestyle factors such as food and exercise choices.
Sense of hunger often decreases with age. Older adults may consume less food as they reach satiety (get full) faster. Changes in eating habits as well as decreases in activity (due to disability, difficult moving, and other health conditions) has an affect on muscle loss and muscle function.
Weight loss can also occur due to chronic diseases or illnesses including anxiety, depression, kidney disease, dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), and more that will be discussed later. These conditions can make it difficult to physically eat (like dysphagia and Parkinson’s disease). Or they can affect one’s appetite and what they can and cannot eat. This in turn affects how much food is consumed.
However, it is important for older adults to continue healthy dietary patterns and to maintain their body weight. Unintended weight loss can lead to muscle loss increasing the risk of falls, illness, or other health conditions.
There are many medical conditions that can cause weight loss. Below is a list of many different conditions that could cause unintentional weight loss. Individuals with these conditions may benefit from higher calorie foods to stop unintended weight loss and promote healthy weight gain, as applicable.
- Crohn’s disease
- Heart failure
- Addison’s disease
- Parkinson’s disease
- Gastrointestinal problems, such as peptic ulcer or ulcerative colitis
- Dental problems (impact ability to chew)
- Depression or anxiety
- Side effects of prescription medications
- Celiac disease (allergy to gluten)
- Type 1 Diabetes
- A parasitic infection
- Drug abuse
- Undiagnosed eating disorders
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Dysphagia (swallowing problems)
What Foods are Good for Weight Gain?
There are a lot of different foods that provide greater calorie content that can be mixed and matched to create delicious meals and snacks. Although the foods listed below are all good recommendations for weight gain, some medical conditions may require you to limit particular foods. Always be sure to work with your healthcare team (provider, dietitian) to make sure you are eating the best foods for you.
Overall, weight gain occurs with the more calories you consume. So a simple goal for gaining weight is effectively may be increasing either the amount of food consumed or the number of calories in each meal.
Fats for Weight Gain
Fats are very energy dense (read= high in calories) and are a great way to add more calories into a meal. They have more energy per gram than both carbohydrates and protein which makes them a great option for increasing caloric content.
Here are some examples of high fat foods that you could incorporate into meals or snacks to help increase caloric content.
- Nuts and Nut Butters
- Flax Seed
- Cooking Oils
- Salmon/fatty fish
Protein for Weight Gain
Protein, especially lean protein, helps to build muscle which in turn can help you gain weight. And any excess protein consumed beyond what your body needs will be stored as fat, in turn increasing weight gain. Some example of high protein foods good for weight gain are listed below.
You will notice that protein sources that also contain some fat are good for weight gain. In general, this is why dairy products can be good for weight gain. The whey protein and fat combination are good for weight gain.
- Oily fish
- Protein Bars
- Whole Milk
Carbohydrates for Weight Gain
When looking at the best carbohydrates for weight gain it is good to focus on whole grains and starchy vegetables. Adding fats like butter or olive oil can help increase the caloric content of these foods.
- Whole Grain Bread
- Breakfast Cereals
Remember to reference the weight gain food list above. Our weight gain food list includes fats, protein, and carbohydrates to help you increase your calories.
Best Healthy Foods to Gain Weight Fast
For some people, gaining weight or adding muscle can be just as difficult as losing weight is for others.
However, simply adding certain foods to your diet can make your weight gain efforts both healthy and more effective.
Here are 18 of the best foods to help you gain weight or add muscle, the healthy way.
Drinking homemade protein smoothies can be a highly nutritious and quick way to gain weight.
Making your own smoothies is the best way since commercial versions are often full of sugar and lack nutrients. It also gives you full control over the flavor and nutrient content.
Here are just a few tasty variations you can try. You can combine each with 2 cups (470 mL) of dairy milk or soy milk if you have lactose intolerance. Both have more nutrients and calories than other alternative milks.
- Chocolate banana nut shake: Combine 1 banana, 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein, and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of peanut or another nut butter.
- Vanilla berry shake: Combine 1 cup (237 mL) of fresh or frozen mixed berries, ice, 1 cup (237 mL) of high protein, full fat Greek yogurt, and 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein.
- Chocolate hazelnut shake: Combine 15 ounces (444 mL) of chocolate milk with 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein, 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of hazelnut butter, and 1 avocado.
- Caramel apple shake: Combine 1 sliced apple, 1 cup (237 mL) of full fat Greek yogurt, 1 scoop of caramel- or vanilla-flavored whey protein, and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of sugar-free caramel sauce or flavoring.
- Vanilla blueberry shake: Combine 1 cup (237 mL) of fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein, 1 cup (237 mL) of vanilla Greek yogurt, and sweetener if needed.
- Super green shake: Combine 1 cup (237 mL) of spinach, 1 avocado, 1 banana, 1 cup (237 mL) of pineapple, and 1 scoop of unflavored or vanilla whey protein.
All of these smoothies provide around 400–600 calories, along with a high amount of protein and other important vitamins and minerals.
There are many delicious protein smoothie recipes. Avoid most commercial versions, which may contain added sugar and aren’t as nutritious.
Milk has been used as a weight gainer or muscle builder for decades.
It provides a good balance of proteins, carbs, and fats and is a good source of calcium, as well as other vitamins and minerals.
For those trying to add more muscle, milk is an excellent protein source that provides both casein and whey proteins. Research has even shown it can help you add muscle when combined with weightlifting.
Additionally, studies have found that milk, or whey and casein combined, can lead to greater mass gain than other protein sources.
Try drinking one or two glasses of whole milk (149 calories per cup) as a snack, with a meal, or before and after a workout if you’re training.
Milk smoothies are also a delicious way to add milk to your diet. For an easy morning protein boost, try blending up 1 cup of frozen berries, 1 cup of whole milk, 2 teaspoons of honey, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla (about 275 calories).
Drinking milk is a great way to add protein to your diet. It contains both casein and whey proteins.
Rice is a convenient, low cost carb source to help you gain weight. Just 1 cup (158 grams) of cooked white rice provides 204 calories, 44 grams of carbs, and very little fat.
Rice is also fairly calorie-dense, meaning you can easily obtain a high amount of carbs and calories from a single serving. This helps you eat more food, especially if you have a poor appetite or get full quickly.
When you’re on the go or in a rush, 2-minute packs of microwavable rice can be easily added to other protein sources and premade meals.
Another popular method is to prepare a large pot of rice, refrigerate it or freeze individual portions, and then combine it with different proteins and healthy fats for varied meals throughout the week.
There are many ways to turn relatively bland rice into a taste extravaganza. The easiest way to add taste, calories, and a protein boost is to simply stir in some of these ingredients after you have cooked your rice:
- butter and Parmesan cheese
- broccoli and cheese
- scrambled eggs
- toasted sesame seeds, peanuts, or cashews
Another way to boost taste and calories is to top your rice with a sauce like curry, pesto, or alfredo. You can buy these sauces ready-made if you’re pressed for time.
A rice dish can easily become a whole meal. Try this wild rice and chicken kale for a healthy lunch (400 calories per serving).
You can also stir up your own healthy take on the Chinese takeout favorite, fried rice, with this vegetable-tofu “fried” rice dish — which is actually baked.
Rice is a great source of carbs that are easy to consume and digest.
Nuts and nut butters are perfect choices if you’re looking to gain weight.
Just one small handful of raw almonds (1/4 cup) contains 170 calories, 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and 15 grams of healthy fats.
Since nuts are very calorie-dense, just two handfuls per day with a meal or as a snack can quickly add hundreds of calories.
You can add nut butters to a variety of snacks or dishes, such as smoothies, yogurts, and crackers, to turn them into a high calorie snack in no time.
For a quick pick-me-up, try this peanut butter banana smoothie, with only three ingredients (270 calories, using whole milk). If you have a peanut allergy, substitute another nut butter.
However, make sure you pick 100 percent nut butters with no added sugar or extra oils. Or better yet, make your own from this homemade almond butter recipe. It’s easy to make and easy on your wallet, too.
Nuts and nut butters are delicious, high calorie treats. They’re great for you and easy to add to many different snacks or recipes.
Red meats are probably one of the best muscle-building foods available.
For example, 6 ounces (170 grams) of steak contains around 5 grams of leucine.
Leucine is the key amino acid your body needs to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and add new muscle tissue. It also contains 456 calories and nearly 49 grams of protein.
In addition to this, red meats are one of the best natural sources of dietary creatine, which is possibly the world’s best muscle-building supplement.
Consider choosing fattier cuts, which provide more calories than leaner meats, helping you take in extra calories and add weight.
In one study, 100 older women added 6 ounces (170 grams) of red meat to their diets and performed resistance training 6 days a week for 6 weeks.
The women gained lean mass, had an 18 percent increase in strength, and had an increase in the important muscle-building hormone IGF-1.
Both lean and fatty meats are a great source of protein, though fatty meat provides more calories, which can help you gain weight. One of the best-known fatty beef dishes is brisket.
Brisket is known for being time-consuming to prepare, but it can be much easier if you own a slow cooker.
Start this brisket recipe in the morning and you’ll have a nutritious dinner waiting for you in the evening — approximately 300 calories per 3-ounce (85 grams) serving.
Red meat is an excellent source of protein that will help you gain muscle. It contains leucine, an amino acid that helps stimulate muscle protein synthesis. The fattier the meat, the more calories you’ll take in.
Potatoes and other starchy foods are a very easy and cost-effective way to add in extra calories.
Try to choose one of these healthy sources of starchy carbs:
- potatoes and sweet potatoes
- winter root vegetables
- beans and legumes
Not only do potatoes and other starches add carbs and calories to help you gain weight — they also increase your muscle glycogen stores.
Glycogen is the predominant fuel source for most sports and activities.
Many of these carb sources also provide important nutrients and fiber, as well as resistant starch, which can help nourish your gut bacteria.
With sweet potatoes, you can try out one of the current Instagram trends: sweet potato toast. Prep takes only minutes. Start by washing, drying, and thinly slicing a medium-sized sweet potato, then toast it to your liking either in a toaster or a toaster oven.
Then you add your favorite toppings. For example, slather it with mashed avocado and top with a fried egg (300 calories per serving). You’ve got yourself a perfect breakfast or post-workout snack.
Quinoa is actually a seed that’s prepared and eaten like a grain. It can be cooked and eaten on its own, added to soups, or made into flour and used in bread, drinks, or porridge.
Quinoa is superior to many other grains in that it’s a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine amino acids that our bodies cannot make on their own. It’s also high in protein, minerals, and B vitamins.
Get a healthy dose of both sweet potatoes and quinoa in this hearty lunch recipe for quinoa and roasted sweet potato bowls (336 calories per serving).
Other ways to add calories to complex carbs include:
- adding sour cream to potatoes
- adding grated cheese to quinoa or mashed potatoes
- adding healthy fats like olive or avocado oil to roast your vegetables
- adding sliced olives as a topping
- adding hummus to whole grain bread or crackers
- using dairy or soy milk instead of water in your oatmeal or other hot grains
Healthy starches are a great way to get important nutrients and fiber, boost your calorie intake, and increase your muscle glycogen stores.
Like red meat, salmon and oily fish are excellent sources of protein and important healthy fats.
Out of all the nutrients that salmon and oily fish provide, omega-3 fatty acids are among the most significant and well known.
They offer numerous benefits for your health and help fight diseases.
Just one 6-ounce (170-gram) fillet of deboned wild sockeye salmon provides around 250 calories and 12 grams of healthy fats. The same serving packs 37 grams of high quality protein, helping you build muscle or gain weight.
You can prepare salmon in a variety of ways: steamed, sautéed, smoked, grilled, baked, or poached. You can also try smoked salmon or even eat raw salmon in sushi and sashimi.
Fresh or frozen salmon often has a slightly higher price tag, but canned salmon is a quick and inexpensive option. Almost all canned salmon is wild rather than farmed, giving it top marks for nutrition.
Consider these convenient, healthy ways of adding salmon to your diet:
- Try giving your usual “tuna” salad a new spin, using canned salmon instead.
- Make a Cobb salad substituting canned salmon for the traditional chicken, then add bacon, hard-boiled egg, avocado, lettuce, and tomatoes.
- Give smoked salmon a try. Slather cream cheese on whole grain bread or crackers, add smoked salmon, and top with cucumber, tomato slices, or capers.
- Make a salmon salad with leafy greens, asparagus, and some full fat plain Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, or sour cream.
Salmon and other oily fish are a great source of incredibly healthy omega-3 fats. They also provide high quality protein to help you build muscle.
Taking protein supplements is a common strategy for athletes and bodybuilders who want to gain weight. There are many types available, including whey, soy, egg, and pea protein.
Whey protein supplements and mass gainers (supplements that can help you gain muscle mass) can be very easy and cost-effective strategies to gain weight, especially when combined with strength training.
Some people think whey protein is unhealthy or unnatural, but this isn’t the case. Whey protein is made from dairy and has been shown to help improve health markers and reduce the risk of disease.
Protein supplements may be even more important if you’re also training since your daily protein requirements increase.
Like meats and other animal products, whey protein contains all the essential amino acids required to stimulate muscle growth.
You can use it before or after your workout and at any other point during the day.
The easiest way to add protein powder into your diet is with a protein smoothie, especially for breakfast. That gives you the rest of the day to add in nutritious meals and snacks to make sure you get a balanced nutrient intake.
Generally, a smoothie that you make yourself will be more nutritious than buying one that’s ready-made, which may have added sugar and flavorings.
Try this basic whey shake recipe to start your day off with a high energy breakfast. For even more protein, try adding in peanut butter, almond butter, flaxseeds, or chia seeds.
Unflavored whey protein can be added to dishes such as soups, mashed potatoes, and oatmeal to increase protein content.
What are some helpful tips for gaining weight?
- Eat small meals every three to five hours and snacks throughout the day to help you to consume more without feeling overly full.
- Avoid drinking water or other fluids 30 minutes before meals to prevent you from feeling full. Also, drink a reduced amount of liquids with your meals.
- Drink beverages that add calories, such as whole milk or cream, juice, shakes and smoothies, rather than water, tea, black coffee, and diet beverages that contain no calories.
- Add condiments or ‘extras’ whenever you can. Top your food with dried fruit, chopped nuts or seeds, honey, bacon bits, cheeses, mayonnaise, and salad dressings. Prepare your food with extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil or butter to add calories. Try adding hummus or avocado to sandwiches or crackers/veggies.
- When eating cereal use whole milk, half and half and add powdered milk. You can also use alternative milks if you find you are sensitive to lactose (lactose intolerance). Do the same when making scrambled eggs, soups, gravies, casseroles, and desserts.
- Choose breaded meat, chicken, and fish. Choose higher fat meats such as chicken or turkey thighs and legs, pot roast, short ribs, salami, and sausage.
- Choose fruit canned in syrup rather than juice and tuna canned in oil rather than water.
- If you are vegetarian, vegan, or lactose-intolerant, use soy/almond/coconut or rice milks, nut or seed butters, tofu, olives, avocado, and vegetable oil to add calories.
- If you prefer not to cook, or want portable snacks, stock up on individual pudding, yogurt, or cottage cheese cups, string cheese, granola bars, vending packs of trail mix, beef sticks, nuts, sunflower seeds, juice boxes, and chocolate milk cartons.
- Commercial supplements such as meal replacement bars are also options.
The following charts present snack ideas and calorie counts.
Snacks with 100 to 250 calories include:
|Apple slices and 2 tbsp. caramel dip||Number of calories||200|
|1/4 block tofu and 1 tbsp. butter or olive oil for sautéing||Number of calories||200|
|Edamame (1 cup) and 1 tbsp. olive oil||Number of calories||200|
|Hummus (2 oz.) and serving of crackers||Number of calories||200|
|Tortilla chips and salsa and 2 tbsp. sour cream or 2 oz. silken tofu||Number of calories||200|
|1/2 cup Jello® and 2 tbsp. whipped cream||Number of calories||100-150|
|Roasted chickpeas (1/2 cup) and salt and pepper||Number of calories||150|
|1/2 avocado on 1 slice toast||Number of calories||250|
|McDonald’s 4-piece chicken nuggets||Number of calories||150|
|McDonald’s small low-fat ice cream cone||Number of calories||150|
|Medium Chai latte made with soy milk||Number of calories||240|
|1 frozen waffle with 1 tbsp. butter and 1 tbsp. syrup||Number of calories||250|
|English muffin and 1 tbsp. nut butter||Number of calories||250|
|Zucchini or pumpkin bread slice and 2 oz. cream cheese or honey||Number of calories||250|
|1 egg baked in 1/2 avocado||Number of calories||250|