4 Healthy Ways to Gain Weight


You don’t have to look far to know we live in a super-sized society.

You know… “Do you want fries with that?” Your restaurant meal arrives and it’s massive. And 74 percent of adults are overweight or obese. Sounds familiar, right?

But did you know, some people are underweight and struggle with gaining weight. Being underweight puts you at risk for things like:

  • Early death

  • Weak immune system

  • Higher risk for infection

  • Poor bone health

  • Fertility problems

  • Muscle loss

  • Dementia, and more

    So how do you put on weight, in a healthy way?

    Skip the donuts, candy, treats, and soda. These foods are high in calories and can lead to weight gain. But eating this way also raises your risk for chronic diseases, instead of reducing it.

    Fortunately, there are some proven healthy ways to gain weight.

    1. Eat more calories

    If you’re underweight, take a closer look at how many calories you’re consuming.

    Most adults need about 2,000 calories per day to maintain their weight.

    If you want to gain weight, you need to eat more calories than you burn.

    Not sure what to eat?

  • Check out the complete list of Portion-Control meals, pick your favorites, and you’ll have a meal or snack ready in minutes.

    2. Eat more protein

    If you’re trying to put on weight, health experts recommend eating 1-2 g of protein per pound of bodyweight.

    Eating foods high in protein helps strengthen bones, build lean muscle, and increase strength.

    Healthy protein sources include:

    • Lean meat (Try: Roast Turkey Pizzaiola & Rice Pilaf)
    • Fish (Try: Salmon & Vegetable Linguini)
    • Eggs (Try: Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Burrito Salsa, Applesauce and Hashbrowns)
    • Legumes (Try: Chicken Patty & Honey Lemon Rice with Black Beans and Corn & Brussels Sprouts)

    3. Eat more carbs and fats

    Many popular weight-loss diets encourage people to restrict carbs and fats.

    It’s a proven way to lose weight. If you want to gain weight, taking the opposite approach will help you.

    Another weight gain strategy is to eat more foods high in carbohydrates and fats, like:

    • Pasta
    • Breads
    • Dairy products
    • Sauces and dressings
    • Butter

    4. Eat more energy-dense foods

    What’s that? Think of it this way. Energy-dense foods are foods that contain a lot of calories in just a few bites.

    For example:

    • A serving of celery contains 15 calories. This is NOT an energy-dense food
    • A serving of walnuts contains about 200 calories. This IS an energy-dense foods.
    • Here’s a list of energy-dense foods high in calories that can help you gain weight:

    • Nuts. Try almonds, walnuts, peanuts, trail mix
    • Dairy products. Choose whole-fat or full-fat milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, and cottage cheese
    • Fats: Try olive oil, avocado oil, and butter for cooking.
    • Grains: Eat more whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and pasta
    • Meat like chicken, turkey, beef, and pork.
    • Root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, and sweet potatoes
    • Other energy-dense foods high in calories that can help you gain weight include dark chocolate, peanut butter, avocados, and coconut milk.