Most people are on the other end of the scale, desperately trying to lose weight but for people who struggle to maintain a healthy weight or are trying to gain weight, it can be a real challenge. There are many ways to gain weight but how to gain weight fast and still ensure a healthy development.
Calories Count, But So Do Nutrients
Focus on healthy foods to gain weight, because even though you have more leeway with calories, good nutrition still rules.
Weight gain requires eating calorie-rich but also nutrient-rich foods — not just high-calorie foods with lots of fat, sugar, or empty calories. The goal is to choose foods that are packed with vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and calories so each bite is loaded with good nutrition. Start with nutritious foods and then wherever you can, enrich the foods with additional ingredients like yogurt, fruit, nuts, and healthy fats.
Eat Often to Gain Weight
Regardless of why you want to gain weight, eating meals or substantial snacks more often is the way to pack more calories into the day. Try to eat six times a day, with each meal (or at least three of them) containing protein, starch, vegetables, and fat. A sample meal would include a turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread with mayonnaise and tomatoes and a fruit smoothie. Eat often and choose wisely, and you can expect to gain an average of half a pound to 1 pound per week.
Tips to Whet Your Appetite
When eating just doesn’t appeal to you, there are some tricks of the trade that can help stimulate your appetite. Taking a little walk before eating is one of the many ways to help fire up your appetite. When you are not hungry, choosing your favorite comfort foods may help. So can jazzing up foods with spices and herbs to enhance flavor.
Liquids, including water, can fill you up. So drink liquids separately to help make room for nourishing foods. The sweet taste of fruit can rouse your appetite, especially when blended into an easy-to-tolerate smoothie.
Foods That Pack a Punch
Foods highest in calories and nutrients are foods with fats, especially plant fats. Plant fats such as nuts, peanuts, seeds, peanut butter, almond butter, avocados, hummus, and oils are great sources of healthy fats loaded with nutrients and calories.
Animal fats provide nutrients and the same amount of calories as plant fats, but they also contain saturated fats, which can increase LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Dried fruits are a concentrated source of calories that can be tossed on salads, yogurts, cereals, desserts, and trail mixes — or eaten alone.
Potatoes are a great vehicle for toppings. Or, when you cook potatoes, add in flavored oils, milk, cheese, chili, vegetables, and beans.
Fried foods are fine on occasion, but a better choice than deep-fried foods would be stir-fried foods in healthy oils.
Another easy way to add calories is to drizzle olive or canola oil on vegetables, salads, whole grains, soups, casseroles, and stews.