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Blog Weight Loss Weight Management Weight Gain Food List: 24 Best Healthy Foods For Gaining Weight Fast

Weight Gain Food List: 24 Best Healthy Foods For Gaining Weight Fast

Being underweight can be just as harmful as (or more than) being overweight. This can cause health issues such as infertility, a weak immune system, and osteoporosis. To prevent such issues, a doctor may recommend that you gain weight (28). This can simply be done by incorporating healthy, nutrient-rich foods into your diet.

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Weight gain foods are typically high in calories and protein. While fatty, fried, and overly processed foods are also high in calories, they are not particularly the best for your health. In fact, they may even increase your risk for some chronic diseases (4).

That’s why it’s important to focus on healthy foods when you’re trying to gain weight. These 24 choices are all high in nutrients, low in unhealthy fats, and provide ample calories and protein to help you reach your goal weight.

  • Milk

Whole milk is high in protein and calories, making it an ideal choice for weight gain (12). It also contains many essential nutrients, such as calcium, vitamin D, and potassium (13). 

  • Yogurt

Like milk, yogurt is a high-protein food that is perfect for weight gain. It’s also packed with probiotics, which are important for gut health (6). 

  • Eggs

Eggs are another high-quality source of protein. They also contain essential vitamins and minerals, such as choline, vitamin B12, iron, and zinc (25). 

  • Nuts

Nuts are a great source of healthy fats, proteins, and fiber. They are also calorie-dense, making them an excellent food choice for weight gain (10). Be sure to include a variety of nuts in your diet to get the most benefit. Almonds, peanuts, cashews, and pistachios are all great options.

You can snack on these raw, add them to smoothies, or use them as a salad topping for extra crunch. 

  • Beef

Beef is a high-quality source of protein and essential nutrients, such as zinc and iron (5). It’s also calorie-dense, making it an excellent choice for weight gain

Steak contains both leucine and creatine, which are two important nutrients for muscle growth (17). 

  • Potatoes And Starches

Potatoes and other starchy foods are an excellent source of energy and nutrients (20). They are also calorie-dense, making them perfect for weight gain. 

Some sources of healthy carbs include:

  • Quinoa 
  • Sweet potatoes 
  • Brown rice 
  • Oatmeal 
  • Bananas

Read More: Thyroid And Weight Gain: Why It Happens And What You Can Do About It

weight gain foods list

  • Beans And Legumes

Not only do these foods have carbs and calories to help you gain weight, they can also help increase your muscle glycogen stores (27).

Glycogen is the main energy source for muscles, so increasing your stores can help you train harder and recover better (7). 

  • Salmon And Oily Fish

Oily fish are the best sources of healthy omega-3 fatty acids (14). These fats are important for overall health and can help you gain weight in a healthy way.  

Some good options include salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. These kinds of fish also contain high levels of protein and other essential nutrients such as vitamin D. 

You can either eat these fish steamed, sauteed, grilled or baked, or you can add them to your diet in the form of fish oil supplements, but in that case you will miss out on the protein that eating the fish can offer you.

Dried Fruit

Dried fruit is higher in sugar and calories than fresh fruit, making it an excellent food choice for weight gain (3). It also provides a variety of essential nutrients, including vitamin A, potassium, and iron. 

Some good options include apricots, raisins, figs, and dates. Be sure to avoid dried fruits with added sugar. 

Try combining dried fruit with a protein source such as cheese or a protein shake. You may also use these as a yogurt topping or a snack. 

  • Avocados

Avocados are loaded with  healthy fats, potassium, and other essential nutrients. They are also a good source of fiber, making them an excellent food choice for weight gain (8).

They are also one of the most versatile fruits that can be incorporated in your diet in the following ways:

  • As a mayonnaise substitute in sandwiches 
  • In smoothies
  • In soups
  • In wraps
  • On toast
  • In salads
  • In sushi
  • As a side dish

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  • Healthy Fats And Oils

Including healthy fats and oils in your diet is important for weight gain. These fats help you feel full, provide energy, and support muscle growth (1). 

Some good options include:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Avocado oil
  • MCT oil or coconut oil
  • Fish Oil Supplements

When adding fats and oils to your diet, aim for a variety of healthy options to get the most benefit. Be sure to avoid unhealthy fats, such as those found in processed foods and fast food.

  • Protein Shakes

For people who are looking to gain weight, protein shakes can be a great way to do so. Protein shakes provide your body with the protein it needs to build muscle mass, and they can also be a source of additional calories (23

When choosing a protein shake for weight gain, it’s important to select one that is high in calories and has a good balance of protein and carbs. Some good options include:

  • Whey protein shake: A whey protein shake is a good choice for weight gain because it is high in calories and protein. It also has a high glycemic index, which means that it will digest quickly and provide your body with quick energy.
  • Hemp protein shake: Hemp protein is a good plant-based choice for those looking to gain weight because it is high in calories and protein, and it also contains healthy fats.
  • Pea protein shake: Pea protein is another good plant-based choice for weight gain because it is high in protein and low in carbs. It also has a high glycemic index, which means that it will digest quickly and provide your body with energy.

When choosing a protein shake for weight gain, it’s important to make sure that you are getting enough nutrients. So be sure to choose a shake that is fortified with vitamins and minerals. And since you are not likely getting all the nutrients your body needs from your shake, be sure to also eat a healthy diet that is nutrient-dense.

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weight gain foods list

  • Cheese

Cheese is a good source of protein and calories, making it an excellent food choice for weight gain. It is also a good source of calcium, which is important for bone health (11). 

Some good options include cheddar cheese, Swiss cheese, blue cheese, and gouda cheese. Be sure to avoid processed cheeses, such as cheese puffs and cheese slices. 

Try incorporating cheese into your diet in the following ways:

  • In sandwiches 
  • On crackers 
  • In salads
  • In pasta dishes 
  • As a side dish
  • Granola

Granola is a good source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. It can also be a low added-sugar food, making it a good choice for weight gain.

How calorie-dense granola depends on the ingredients. Some ideal ingredients for a weight gain granola are:

  • Dried fruit –  raisins, apricots, figs, dates
  • Nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans
  • Seeds – Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Oats – old-fashioned or steel-cut

When choosing a granola to help you gain weight, be sure to check the label to make sure that it is high in calories and contains healthy ingredients. 

Avoid granolas that are high in sugar and low in protein and fiber. You can also make it yourself to be sure of what goes in it.

weight gain foods list

  • Homemade Trail Mix

Homemade trail mix is a good source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. It is also a low added-sugar food, making it a good choice for weight gain. 

Trail mix can be made with a variety of ingredients, but some ideal ingredients for weight gain are:

  • Dried fruit –  raisins, apricots, figs, dates
  • Nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans
  • Seeds – pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Oats – old-fashioned or steel-cut

When choosing ingredients for your trail mix, be sure to choose those that are high in calories and healthy fats. Avoid adding too much sugar to your mix. 

You can make trail mix at home by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl, or you can buy pre-made trail mix from the store. 

  • Beef Jerky

Beef jerky is a good source of protein and calories, making it an excellent food choice for weight gain. It is also a good source of iron, which is important for energy and muscle health (18). 

Some good options include beef jerky made with black pepper, teriyaki beef jerky, and chili-lime beef jerky. 

Avoid beef jerky that is high in added sugar and sodium. 

Try incorporating beef jerky into your diet in the following ways:

  • In sandwiches 
  • On crackers
  • In salads 
  • As a side dish

Read More: Does Milk Make You Gain Weight? The Truth About Calories In Dairy

weight gain foods list

  • Breakfast Cereals

Breakfast cereals have gained a bad rap in recent years because of the high amount of sugar many of them contain. However, some breakfast cereals are actually a good source of protein and calories, making them a good food choice for weight gain.

Ideally,  choose breakfast cereals that are high in protein and fiber while low in added sugar. Fortified breakfast cereals are also a good source of vitamins and minerals (21).

When choosing a breakfast cereal for weight gain, be sure to check the label carefully. Look for words such as “high protein” and “high fiber.”

  • Pudding

One way to add extra calories and protein to your diet is to eat pudding. Pudding is a good source of both calories and protein, making it an excellent food choice for weight gain. 

How calorie-dense the pudding is depends on the ingredients. Some ideal ingredients for a weight gain pudding are:

  • Heavy cream
  • Whipping cream
  • Milk
  • Eggs

When choosing a pudding to help you gain weight, be sure to check the label to make sure that it is high in calories and contains healthy ingredients. 

Avoid puddings that are high in added sugar and low in protein. 

You can make pudding at home by combining all of the ingredients in a bowl, or if you are short on time, buy pre-made pudding from the store. 

  • Nut Butters

Nut butters are a good source of protein, calories, and healthy fats (16). They can also be a low-sugar food, making them a good choice for weight gain.

How calorie-dense nut butters depends on the ingredients. Some ideal ingredients for a weight gain nut butter are:

  • Nuts – almonds, walnuts, pecans
  • Seeds – pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds
  • Oil – olive oil, coconut oil

When choosing a nut butter to help you gain weight, be sure to check the label to make sure that it is high in calories and contains healthy ingredients. 

Avoid nut butters that are high in added sugar and sodium. 

You can make nut butter at home by combining all of the ingredients in a food processor, or there are some great nut butter choices at most stores you can pick up.

weight gain foods list

  • Brown Rice

Like most whole grains, brown rice is a good source of protein and fiber. It is also a whole grain carbohydrate food, making it a healthy choice for weight gain.

Brown rice is unrefined, meaning that it is high in nutrients. It is a good source of thiamin, niacin, and vitamin B6. Brown rice is a good source of fat, protein, and fiber (15). 

How calorie-dense brown rice is depends on the cooking method. Some methods of cooking brown rice result in a higher calorie content than others. 

When cooked in water, brown rice is not as calorie-dense as some other whole grains, such as quinoa or wild rice. However, when cooked in milk or with some added oil, brown rice is a good source of calories.

You can cook brown rice at home by combining all of the ingredients in a pot. It pairs well with other healthy weight-gain foods, such as beef stew, fatty fish,  or chicken curry. 

It is a better alternative to white rice, which is a high-carb food with little nutritional value. 

  • Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is a high-fat, high-calorie food. It is a good source of nutrients and essential fatty acids (2). Coconut milk is also low in sugar, making it a good choice for weight gain. 

For people who are lactose intolerant, coconut milk is a good alternative to cow’s milk. It can be used in place of cow’s milk in most recipes. 

It’s fragrant flavor pairs well with sweet and savory dishes. 

You can buy coconut milk from most stores or make it at home if you can find a store selling meat coconuts. 

  • Bananas

As far as fruits go, bananas are one of the best choices for weight gain. They are high in calories, carbohydrates, and fiber. Bananas are also a good source of vitamin C and potassium (9). 

How calorie-dense bananas depend on the ripeness of the fruit. Ripe bananas are higher in sugar and calories than green bananas. 

Ripe bananas are a useful ingredient for making calorie-dense weight gain smoothies. Pair them with coconut milk, dried fruit, and nuts or nut butter for a filling and nutritious smoothie.

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weight gain foods list

  • Chicken With Skin On

Chicken with the skin on is a high-fat, high-calorie food. It is a good source of protein and essential fatty acids (19). 

How calorie-dense chicken is depends on the cooking method. When grilled chicken is not as calorie-dense as when it is cooked in oil or butter. 

It’s advisable to roast or broil chicken for a healthy, weight gain meal. Avoid deep-frying chicken, as this will add unhealthy fats to your diet. 

Healthy Weight Gain Tips

Aside from a calorie-dense diet, here’s what else you can do to gain weight:

Eat Small Meals Every 3-5 Hours

When you eat small meals throughout the day, your body will have a constant flow of energy (26). This will help you to maintain a healthy weight and gain muscle mass. It also prevents you from feeling overly  full and sluggish. 

Include High-Calorie Snacks In Your Diet

If you find it difficult to eat enough calories in three meals, try snacking on high-calorie foods instead. Nuts, seeds, avocados, and dried fruit are all healthy snacks that are high in calories. 

Drink A Protein Shake After Working Out

A protein shake is a great way to refuel after a workout. Protein shakes are high in calories and help you to build muscle mass (22). They are also easy to digest, making them a good choice for people who have trouble eating after working out. 

Use Condiments And Toppings Often

Top your food with healthy condiments and toppings to add extra calories and nutrients. Nutritional yeast, avocado oil, olive oil, and grass-fed butter are all healthy additions to your diet. 

Nuts, dried fruit, cheeses, and salad dressings are also healthy toppings to consider. 

Get Plenty Of Sleep

Getting enough sleep is essential for overall health and well-being. It’s also important for weight gain (24). When you’re well-rested, you’re less likely to feel irritable or stressed. This will help you to make healthy food choices and maintain a healthy weight. 

Try Supplements

If you are having difficulty gaining weight, consider using supplements. Supplements such as protein powder, multivitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids can help you to reach your daily calorie goals. 

The Bottom Line

There are many healthy foods that can help you to gain weight quickly. By including such foods in your diet, you can reach your weight gain goals in a healthy and sustainable way.

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DISCLAIMER:

This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!

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