Usually people think of adding pounds through foods like potato chips and chocolate cake, but there are many healthy food options for people seeking to gain weight. In fact, healthy food choices are basically the same for those people who are trying to lose weight and people who are trying to gain it—those seeking to gain weight just need to eat larger quantities of nutritious food and add more healthy fats to their daily diet.
To gain weight healthily, try to increase the portion sizes of the nutritious foods you are already eating. For example, try to eat two baked potatoes at dinner instead of just one. Healthy food choices can consist of whole grains like bread and pasta, fruits, vegetables, beans, lean cuts of meat, and low-fat milk products. It takes an extra 3,500 calories to gain one pound, so an extra 500 calories per day would equal one pound gained per week.
Snack frequently between meals, especially if it is difficult for you to eat large amounts of food at one time. Some nutritious snacks for healthy weight gain include: apples with old fashioned or natural peanut butter, part-skim string cheese, low-fat yogurt with granola, oatmeal with fruit, bean and cheese tortilla wraps, and any vegetables. Meal replacement shakes are also a healthful in-between meal snack.
At 45 calories per teaspoon, fats contain more calories than any other type of food. Adding more healthy fats to your meals is an easy way to increase your caloric intake without drastically increasing the amount of food you have to eat. Healthy, unsaturated fats include canola and olive oils, nuts, seeds, old-fashioned or natural peanut butter, and avocados. Try to avoid eating extra saturated and trans fats as they can increase the levels of cholesterol and other harmful fats in your blood.
Another easy way to add more calories to your diet is to add healthy extras to everything you eat. To salads add whole grain croutons, beans, hard boiled eggs, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and dressings made from healthy fats. To sandwiches try adding avocado, pesto, or almond butter. Make your soups with low-fat milk instead of water, saute vegetables in olive oil, and drink 100% fruit juice with your meals instead of water.