While most people are looking to drop pounds, some people need to gain them. If you are naturally underweight or have suffered a medical condition that resulted in weight loss, here are several healthy ways to put on extra pounds.
Exercise regularly and include strength training. Exercise stimulates the appetite, leading you to take in more calories. Weight training adds muscle, which can give you the appearance of extra bulk. Exercise is also important to turn added pounds into toned muscle rather than fat.
Add meals. The Mayo Clinic recommends eating several small meals instead of two or three large meals. When planning meals, choose foods with a high number of calories and nutrients rather than foods with lots of fat and sugar.
Watch your fluids. Restrict fluid intake to a half hour before or after meals. Drinking during or right before a meal will fill you up, causing you to eat less.
Supplement with shakes and smoothies. Make shakes and smoothies with healthy sources of protein like whey or soy. Add fresh fruits. These are preferable to low-calorie drinks lacking nutritional value like diet soda, tea and coffee. Choose high-calorie juices like grape, cranberry, pineapple and apple juice.
Eat healthy snacks. Snack on nutritious, calorie-dense foods like nuts, peanut butter, cheese, dried fruits and avocado.
Add extra calories to your meals. Put cheese in your casseroles, soups, salads and eggs. Add lean meats like chicken to soups and stews.
Balance your calories. Aim for 60 to 70 percent carbohydrates, 10 to 15 percent protein and 10 to 15 percent fat, mainly in healthy forms like nuts, seeds, cold water fish and healthy oils like olive and canola. Consider working with a nutritionist who can help you devise an eating plan that reflects these recommendations.
Stimulate your appetite with a small amount of alcohol before your meal. Serving suggestions are four ounces of wine, six ounces of beer or ½ an ounce of liquor mixed with juice. Discuss this with your doctor beforehand, especially if you are taking medications or have any medical conditions.
Eat a healthy snack at night before bed like a peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread.
Eat about 500 more calories than you are currently eating. According to the University of Michigan, some people might need to go as high as 1,000. Discuss this with your doctor.