A person who wants to gain weight for health or fitness reasons must begin by consuming more calories than he burns. While there are calories in all food, not all foods are appropriate or healthy for the body in excessive quantities. A weight-gain diet should include foods that allow an individual to put on a few pounds without loading the body with sugar and unhealthy fat.
Adequate protein intake is important for muscle development. You should aim to build more healthy muscle in the body than unhealthy fat. To achieve this goal, low-fat proteins are necessary. Animal sources of protein for a weight-gain diet include skinless chicken and turkey, fish, and shellfish. Eggs, low-fat dairy products, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and almonds are also nutritious sources of protein. WebMD suggests that up to 15 percent of each meal be made up of protein.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruit and vegetables are a great way to fit vital nutrients into a weight-gain diet. Fruit and veggies are loaded with vitamins and minerals. Choosing higher-calorie fruit and vegetables such as bananas, mangos and avocados can help increase the daily caloric intake.
Dried fruit is a good addition to a weight-gain diet for a number of reasons. Dried fruit is low in fat and high in nutrients. Dried fruit is a high-calorie snack food and is also full of fiber. The caloric content of dried fruit can help create a caloric surplus at the end of the day.
WebMD recommends that each meal of a person trying to gain weight be composed of 60 to 70 percent carbohydrates. It is important to choose the right types of carbohydrates, and anything made with white flour should be avoided. The best carbohydrate-rich foods for a weight-gain meal plan include whole grain bread, pasta and crackers, brown rice, tortilla chips, popcorn and granola. Any type of potato is also a nutritious, carbohydrate-rich food for this type of diet.
While certain types of healthy fats are necessary in a balanced diet, even on a weight gain diet excessive amounts of fatty foods are not good. When trying to gain weight, choose fats found in fish, nuts, seeds, olives, and low-fat dairy products. Hydrogenated vegetable oils should be avoided at all costs. While fatty foods are high in calories, eating unhealthy fats makes you feel full faster and can prevent you from eating more nutritious calorie-rich foods to meet your calorie surplus.