Additional menu

10 foods for weight gain

Written by John Davis

Last updated: September 17, 2022

Although being skinny or underweight can often be healthy, being underweight can be problematic if it results from poor nutrition, pregnancy, or other medical conditions. So, if you’re underweight, schedule an appointment with your physician or nutritionist so you can decide how to reach your target healthy weight together.

Top 10 foods for gaining weight

1. Rice

Rice is a filling and healthy way to gain weight. It is loaded with nutrients and carbohydrates that can help with weight gain. It keeps you full for a longer period of time while providing a good number of healthy calories. It is a staple dish for millions of Indians and has been shown to help increase weight in numerous clinical studies. (1)

The best rice preparation methods for weight gain include:

  • Fried rice with vegetables
  • Cooked brown rice
  • Fried rice with vegetables

Nutrients in 100g of rice:

  • 130 Kcal in calories
  • 7 grams of carbohydrates (10% of DV)
  • 1 grams of sugar
  • 7 grams of carbohydrates (10% of DV)

2. Homemade protein smoothies

Making your own protein smoothies at home could be a quick and highly nourishing way to gain weight.

The best method is to make your own smoothies because store-bought ones may lack nutrition and are often loaded with sugar. Additionally, you have complete control over the flavour and nutritional value.

You can try various variants. If you have a lactose allergy, you can combine each with 2 cups (470 mL) of soy milk or dairy milk. Both are healthier than other non-dairy milks in terms of nutrients and calories. (2)

  • Blend 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein, 1 banana, and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter or another nut butter to make a chocolate banana nut shake.
  • Blend 1 cup of fresh or frozen mixed berries, 1 cup of high protein, ice, and 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein, and full fat Greek yogurt to make a vanilla berry shake.
  • Blend 15 ounces of chocolate milk, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of hazelnut butter, 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein, and 1 avocado to make a chocolate hazelnut shake.
  • Caramel apple shake: Mix1 sliced apple, 1 cup full-fat Greek yogurt, and 1 tablespoon sugar-free caramel sauce or flavoring to make a caramel apple shake.
  • Vanilla Greek yogurt, 1 cup of frozen or fresh blueberries, 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein, and sugar.
  • Super green shake: Blend 1 scoop of vanilla or unflavored whey protein with 1 cup of spinach, 1 banana, 1 avocado, and 1 cup of pineapple.

Each of these smoothies has between 400 and 600 calories, a lot of protein, and other vital vitamins and minerals.

3. Red meats

Red meat is undoubtedly one of the best foods for building muscles. 170 grams (6 ounces) of steak contains approximately 6 grams of leucine.

Your body needs leucine in order to promote muscle protein synthesis and the growth of new muscular tissue. There are 456 calories and roughly 49 grams of protein in 170 grams of steak.

Additionally, red meats are among the best naturally occurring sources of dietary creatine, which is arguably the best supplement in the world for developing muscles.

If you want to eat more calories and gain weight, choose fattier cuts of meat because they have more calories compared to leaner cuts of meat. (4)

In one clinical trial, resistance training was done six days a week for six weeks, where 100 women added 6 ounces of red meat to their diets.

The women increased their lean mass, strength, and levels of the hormone IGF-1, which helps develop muscle. Both lean and fatty meats are excellent sources of protein. However, fatty meat has a higher calorie content and can make you gain weight.

Brisket is one of the most popular types of fatty beef. Although brisket typically takes a long time to prepare, using a slow cooker can make things considerably easier.

You can start this brisket dish in the morning and have a filling dinner ready for you in the evening. It contains approximately 300 calories per 85 gram (3-ounce) serving.

4. Potatoes

Potatoes can be cooked in a wide range of ways and have a creamy, rich texture. It contains a lot of carbohydrates and minerals, and is a complement to a variety of cuisines. They have a great flavour character and may be served as a side dish or as a main course. (5)

Best way of eating potato for weight gain::

  • Potato chips
  • mashed potatoes
  • Seasoned and boiled potato

Nutritional value per 173g of potatoes:

  • 161 kcal calories
  • 36g of carbohydrates.
  • 2 grams fatty acids
  • 47 grams sugar

5. Salmon and oily fish

Just like red meat, salmon is an excellent source of protein and good fat.

Omega-3 fatty acids are among the most important nutrients found in salmon and oily seafood.

They help prevent diseases and provide a wide range of health benefits.

Deboned wild sockeye salmon, which weighs 6 ounces (170 grams), has about 12 grams of healthy fat and 250 calories per serving. The same portion contains 37 grams of high-quality protein that supports muscle growth and weight gain.

Salmon can be sautéed, steamed, smoked, baked, grilled or poached, among other cooking methods. Salmon can also be eaten raw in sushi and sashimi. (6)

While canned salmon is a convenient and affordable alternative, fresh or frozen salmon can be more expensive. Canned salmon is almost always wild rather than farmed, giving it a higher nutritional rating.

How can you incorporate salmon into your diet?

  • Give your standard “tuna” salad a unique twist by adding canned salmon.
  • Replace the conventional chicken in a Cobb salad with canned salmon before adding bacon, a hard-boiled egg, avocado, lettuce, and tomatoes.
  • Smoked salmon: Spread cream cheese on crackers or whole grain bread, top with smoked salmon, cucumber, tomato slices, or capers, and serve.
  • Add leafy greens, asparagus, full-fat plain Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, or sour cream to a salmon salad.

6. Dried fruit

Dried fruit is high in calories and it also contains micronutrients and antioxidants. There is a wide variety of dried fruits, and all of them naturally contain a lot of sugar. They are therefore excellent for weight gain, especially because they are delicious and easy to incorporate into your diet.

Contrary to popular belief, fruits don’t lose the majority of their nutrients when they are dried. Dried fruits have high fiber content and still contain the majority of their vitamins and minerals.

Try combining dry fruit with protein sources, such as a whey protein shake, cheese, or cuts of meat. They go well with almonds and full-fat Greek yogurt and offer a combination of healthy fats, proteins, and other essential nutrients. (7)

Dates are healthy, rich in fiber, and packed with antioxidants. They can be easily prepared as a high-calorie snack and are quite versatile. Two Medjool dates contain approximately 130 calories.

Dates can be stuffed with cream cheese, nut butter, or even cooked grains like rice or quinoa. For a touch of sweetness, add one or two dates to sauces, smoothies, and dressings.

7. Protein supplements

Athletes and bodybuilders who wish to gain weight use protein supplements. There are several varieties available, including soy, egg, whey, and pea protein.

When combined with strength training, whey protein supplements can be a relatively simple and affordable weight-gaining strategy.

Despite what some people believe, whey protein is not unhealthy or unnatural. Dairy-derived whey protein has been shown to help enhance health markers and lower the risk of illness.

If you are training, your daily protein demands will likely increase, making protein supplements even more crucial. (8)

Just like meat and other animal products, whey protein contains all the critical amino acids needed to promote muscle building.

It can be used at any time of the day, including before and after working out. Protein smoothies are the simplest way to include protein powder in your diet, especially for breakfast. Therefore, you have the rest of the day to include nourishing meals and snacks to ensure that you consume a wide variety of nutrients.

Homemade smoothies are typically healthier than ready-made ones, which may have added sugar and flavourings.

8. Chicken breast

Chicken is a food that is high in protein and can help you put on weight. It is one of the foods with the highest protein content for weight gain. It is not only delicious but also nutrient-rich. A chicken breast has 4 grams of fat and around 150 calories. It can be prepared in a variety of inventive ways to create a tasty dish. (9)

The best methods of eating chicken breast for gain weight include:

  • Chicken and cheese salad
  • Pan-roasted chicken breast
  • Grilled chicken breast

Nutritional Value in 100 Grams of Chicken Breast:

  • 165 kcal
  • 6 grams of fat

9. Whole grain bread

Another excellent source of carbohydrates to help you gain weight is whole grain bread. By mixing bread with protein sources like eggs, meat, and cheese, you can create some extremely simple, calorie-dense, and nutrient-dense dishes.

When buying bread, choose natural whole grain and seeded breads. Most grocery stores provide healthier variations like Ezekiel bread.

One of the simplest, most portable, and versatile meals for gaining weight is a sandwich. Your imagination is the limit. Your sandwich can include meats, cheese, vegetables, nut butter spreads, avocado, and more. (10)

10. Avocado

Avocados are a great source of good fats. Avocados are an excellent food to help you gain weight because they are fairly calorie-dense compared to other fruits.

One large avocado contains around 322 calories, 29 grams of fat, and 14 grams of fiber. Avocados also contain a lot of vitamins, minerals, and other healthy compounds.

Add avocado to your main meals and other dishes like omelets and sandwiches. Avocado toast is one of the most common and convenient ways to eat avocado. Just spread some avocado on toast after mashing it. It’s that simple. (11)

Other ways of enjoying avocado include:

  • Guacamole
  • As a replacement for mayonnaise
  • Salads
  • As a topping
  • Baked
  • Soups
  • Pickled
  • Wraps
  • Sandwiches
  • Fries
  • Sushi


Gaining weight should be done gradually by increasing caloric intake over time to encourage healthy weight gain.

When you reach the ideal weight for your body’s effective and efficient functioning, you can stop adding calories. However, you must exercise caution and make sure you are still consuming enough calories to maintain your weight.


John Davis