5 Healthy Foods to Promote Weight Gain

Posted On Sep 16, 2015 By Erin Kuh, MBA, RD

5 Healthy Foods to Promote Weight Gain

“Just eat more!” You've probably had people tell you this if you've voiced your goal to gain weight. But gaining weight can be just as challenging and frustrating as trying to lose weight. Eating fast food three times a day and all the junk food you can stomach isn't a good approach. You shouldn't have to set an alarm for 2:00 am to eat more either!

Gaining weight in the form of mostly muscle is a balancing act. It requires finding foods to increase your calories and fuel your workouts, eating more without overdoing it, and making an effort to include more calorie and nutrient dense foods. This last one will help keep you feeling full; ensuring you don't feel like you have to stuff your face.

It is possible though, even without taking special weight gainer products, by incorporating more of the following five foods into your diet on a weekly basis. By looking at the calories per serving, you can easily add 500 calories per day with one serving each of 2-3 of the foods listed below. Aim to increase your total daily calories by 500 calories per day to gain about 1 pound of muscle per week (with strength training included of course!). Rate of weight gain and the percentage of muscle gain is very subjective and depends on genetics, age, gender, workout routine, and nutrition.

  1. Nuts & Nut Butters

    With healthy fats, protein, and a small amount of carbs, nuts, seeds and nut butter pack a powerful nutritional punch.
    Serving Size: 2 tablespoons of nut butter or ¼ cup nuts/seeds = 180-200 calories
    Tip: Add peanut or almond butter to smoothies or oatmeal for a filling breakfast or post workout snack.

  2. Granola

    An easy way to get more calories without much volume.
    Serving Size: ½ cup = 200-250 calories
    Tip: Combine with full-fat yogurt for a great post-workout muscle building snack.

  3. Trail Mix

    A combination of protein and fat from nuts and quick fuel from the sugar of dried fruit and/or chocolate, trail mix makes for a convenient pre or post-workout snack.
    Serving Size: ¼ cup = 200 calories
    Tip: Buy individual bags or make your own with a combination of nuts, dried fruit like apricots or cranberries, and dark chocolate chips.

  4. Full-Fat Yogurt & Cottage Cheese

    No need to skimp on the fat when you're trying to put on muscle. Your body needs some fat and yogurt and cottage cheese also provide high amounts of protein, potassium, calcium, and Vitamin A and D.
    Serving Size: 1 cup = 200 calories
    Tip: Add fresh fruit and top with granola for breakfast, add to smoothies, or mix plain varieties with avocado and salsa to top on fajitas and tacos.

  5. Avocado

    With healthy mono-unsaturated fats and potassium, in addition to small amounts of a variety of other vitamins and minerals, avocado is a great way to add flavor and calories to your diet.
    Serving Size: 1 medium avocado = 250 calories
    Tip: Add to smoothies, spread on sandwiches, or add sliced avocado to salads. Mix with salsa for a quick guacamole to top on grilled chicken.

Do you have a weight-gaining goal? If so, share them with us in the comments below.