The 18 Best Healthy Foods to Gain Weight Fast

For some people, gaining weight or adding muscle can be just as difficult as losing weight for others.

However, simply adding certain foods to your diet can make your weight gain efforts both healthy and more effective.

Here are 18 of the best foods to help you gain weight or add muscle, the healthy way.

1. Homemade Protein Smoothies
Drinking homemade protein smoothies can be a highly nutritious and quick way to gain weight.

Making your own smoothies is the best way of being nutritious.  It also gives you full control over the flavor and nutrient content.

Here are just a few tasty variations you can try.  You can combine each with 2 cups (470 ml) of milk or an alternative like almond milk.

Chocolate banana nut shake: Combine 1 banana, 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of peanut or another nut butter.
Vanilla berry shake: Combine 1 cup (237 ml) of fresh or frozen mixed berries, 1 cup (237 ml) of high-protein natural yogurt and 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein.
Chocolate hazelnut shake: Combine 15 ounces (444 ml) of chocolate milk with 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein, 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of hazelnut butter and 1 avocado.
Caramel apple shake: Combine 1 sliced ​​apple, 1 cup (237 ml) of natural yogurt, 1 scoop of caramel-vanilla-flavored gold whey protein and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of sugar-free caramel flavoring gold sauce.
Vanilla blueberry shake: Combine 1 cup (237 ml) of fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein, 1 cup (237 ml) of vanilla yogurt and sweetener if needed.
Super green shake: Combine 1 cup (237 ml) of spinach, 1 avocado, 1 banana, 1 cup (237 ml) of pineapple and 1 scoop of unflavored or vanilla whey protein.
All of these smoothies provide around 400-600 calories, along with a high amount of protein and other important vitamins and minerals.

There are many delicious protein smoothie recipes. Avoid most commercial versions, which can be added to sugar and are not as nutritious.

2. Milk
Milk has been used as a weight gainer or muscle builder for decades (1).

It provides a good balance of proteins, is a good source of calcium, and other vitamins and minerals (2).

For those trying to add more muscle, milk is an excellent protein source that provides both casein and whey proteins. Research has shown that it can help you add muscle when combined with weight lifting (3, 4).

Additionally, studies have found that milk, or whey and casein combined, can lead to greater mass gain than other protein sources (4, 5).

Try drinking with a meal or a meal, with a meal, or before and after workout if you are training.

Drinking milk is a great way to add protein to your diet. It contains both casein and whey proteins.

3. Rice
Rice is a convenient, low-cost source to help you gain weight. Just 1 cup (165 grams) of cooked rice provides 190 calories, 43 grams of carbs and very little fat (6).

It is also quite calorie-dense, meaning you can easily obtain a high amount of carbs and calories from a single serving. This helps you eat more, especially if you have a poor appetite or get full quickly.

When you're on the go or in a rush, two-minute packs of microwavable rice can be easily added to other sources and pre-made meals.

Another popular method is to prepare a large pot of rice for the week and combines it with some proteins and healthy fats.

However, extremely large amounts can be expected from their arsenic potential and phytic acid content. Arsenic can cause toxicity and phytic acid can reduce the absorption of zinc and iron (7).

Rice is a great source of carbs that are easy to consume and digest. However, some types of rice are high in arsenic.

4. Nuts and Nut Butters
Nuts and butters are a perfect choice if you're looking for weight gain.

Just one small handful of almonds contains 7 grams of protein and 18 grams of healthy fats (8).

Since they are very calorie-dense, just two handfuls per day with a meal or a snack can quickly add hundreds of calories.

Nut butters can be added to a variety of snacks or dishes, such as smoothies, yogurts and much more.

However, make sure you pick 100% butters with no added sugar or oils.

Nuts and butters are delicious, high-calorie treats.  They're great for you and easy to add to many different snacks or recipes.

5. Red Meats
Red meats are probably one of the best muscle-building foods available.

For example, steak contains around 3 grams of leucine per 6 ounces (170 grams).  Leucine is the key amino acid your body needs to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and add new muscle tissue (9).

In addition, this is one of the best natural sources of dietary creatine, which is possibly the world's best muscle-building supplement (10).

Consideration fattier cuts, which provide more calories than leaner meats, helping you take extra calories and add weight.

In one study, 100 elderly women added six ounces (170 grams) of six days to six weeks.

The women gained mass, had an 18% increase in strength and an increase in the important muscle-building hormone IGF-1 (11).

Both lean and fatty are a great source of protein, so you can get more calories, which can help you gain weight.

Red meat is an excellent source of protein that will help you gain muscle.  It contains leucine, an amino acid that helps stimulate muscle protein synthesis.  The fattier the meat, the more calories you will take in.

6. Potatoes and Starches
Potatoes and other starchy foods are a very easy and cost-effective way to add extra calories.

Try to choose one of these healthy sources of starchy carbs:

Potatoes and sweet potatoes
Winter root vegetables
Beans and vegetables
Not only do potatoes and other starches add carbs and calories to help you gain weight - they also increase your muscle glycogen stores.

Glycogen is the predominant fuel source for most sports and activities (12, 13).

Many of these sources also provide important nutrients and fiber, which can help nourish your gut bacteria (14, 15).

Healthy starches are a great way to get important nutrients and fiber, boost your calorie intake and increase your muscle glycogen stores.
7. Salmon and Oily Fish
Like red meat, salmon and oily fish are excellent sources of protein and important healthy fats.

Out of all the nutrients that salmon and oily fish provide, omega-3 fatty acids are among the most significant and well known.

They offer numerous benefits for your health and fight diseases (16).

Just one 6-ounce (170-gram) fillet of salmon provides around 350 calories and 4 grams of omega-3 fats.  The same serving packs 34 grams of high-quality protein, helping you build muscle or gain weight (17).

Salmon and other oily fish are a great source of incredibly healthy omega-3 fats.  They also provide high-quality protein to help you build muscle.

8. Protein Supplements
Taking protein supplements is a common strategy for athletes and bodybuilders who want to gain weight.

Whey protein supplements and weight gainers can be very effective and cost-effective, especially when combined with strength training (18, 19).

Some people think whey protein is unhealthy or unnatural, but this is not the case.  Whey protein is made from dairy and has been shown to improve markers of health and reduce disease risk (20, 21, 22).

It can be even more important if you want to increase your productivity.

Like protein and other animal products, whey protein contains all the essential amino acids required to stimulate muscle growth (23, 24, 25).

You can use it before or after your workout.

Protein supplements are a simple and affordable addition to your diet to help you increase your protein intake.

9. Dried Fruit
Dried fruit is a high-calorie snack that also provides antioxidants and micronutrients (26).

You can get many different types of dried fruit.

However, they have a very high sugar content and are not ideal for weight loss diets.

This is the best size for weight gain, especially since they are convenient to eat and taste great.

While many people think of the most nutrients when dried, this is not the case.  Dried fruits contain most of their vitamins and minerals remain intact (26, 27).

Combination of dried fruit with a protein source, such as cuts of meat or whey protein shake.  They mix well with nuts and natural yogurt, providing a blend of healthy fats, protein and other key nutrients.

Dried fruit is packed with calories, healthy fiber and antioxidants.  It's an easy way to add nutrients and calories to your diet.

10. Whole-Grain Bread
Whole-grain breads are another good source of weight gain.

You can make some very simple, high-calorie and well-balanced meals with such sources as eggs, meat and cheese.

When buying bread, for whole grain and seeded breads.  Healthy versions, such as Ezekiel bread, are available at most grocery stores.

Whole-grain bread can be effective to gain weight, especially when combined with a good protein source.

11. Avocados
Avocados are loaded with healthy fats.

Unlike other whole fruits, avocados are fairly calorie-dense and therefore a great food to help you gain weight.

Just one large avocado provides around 322 calories, 29 grams of fat and 17 grams of fiber (28).

Avocados are also high in vitamins, minerals and various beneficial plant compounds.

Try adding avocados to your main meals and other dishes such as omelets or sandwiches.

Avocados are full of healthy fats and nutrients.  They're versatile and can be added to many different meals or eaten on their own.
12. Healthy Cereals
Healthy cereals can be an excellent source of carbs, calories and nutrients.

While you should be processed, high-sugar cereals, healthier forms like oatmeal can be a great source for your diet.

Grain-based cereals and oats also contain beneficial nutrients like fiber and healthy antioxidants (29).

When purchasing cereals, focus on these healthy choices:

Make sure to read the label and avoid cereals with refined grains or added sugar.

Eating cereal can be a great way to gain weight and consume more fiber.  However, stick to healthier forms such as oatmeal.
13. Cereal Bars
Some of the healthier cereal bars on the market can be a great snack when you're on the go.

They are also a good choice before or after a training session since they tend to contain a mix of slow- and fast-digesting carbs.

As with cereals, try to stick to healthy fruits.  You can also find bars that contain other healthy ingredients, such as dried fruits, nuts or seeds.

As a snack or meal on the go, such as natural yogurt, boiled eggs, cold cuts of meat or a protein shake.

Stick to cereal bars that have whole grains and other healthy ingredients, such as dried fruit and nuts.
14. Dark Chocolate
High-quality dark chocolate provides you with antioxidants and health benefits.

Most people recommend getting dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70%.

Like other high-fat foods, it's very easy to get calories from it.

Each 100-gram (3.5-ounce) bar has around 600 calories and is packed with micronutrients and health-promoting compounds, including fiber, magnesium and antioxidants (30).

Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants and other nutrients, along with plenty of calories to help you gain weight.
15. Cheese
Cheese has been a staple food for centuries.

Like dark chocolate, it's high in calories and fats.  If you are in larger quantities, it is also a very good source of protein (31).

Since cheese is incredibly tasty, you can become more convenient and easily add extra calories.

Summary  Cheese is a very good source of protein and rich in healthy fats.  Add it to meals if you need a calorie and flavor boost.

16. Whole Eggs
Eggs are one of the healthiest muscle-building foods on the planet.  They provide a great combination of high-quality proteins and healthy fats.

It's also very important to eat the whole egg.  In fact, almost all of the nutrients are found in the yolk.

As long as you do not have an intolerance to eggs, there is no need to limit your egg consumption - you can easily eat three eggs per day if you want.

In fact, many athletes or bodybuilders will eat six or more daily.

Eggs are one of the best foods for building muscle.  There's no limit to the number you should eat in a day, and they're full of nutrients.
17. Full-Fat Yogurt
Full-fat yogurt is another healthy and convenient snack.  It has a great nutritional profile, including a well-balanced mix of protein, carbs and fat.

There are numerous snacks and healthy weight-gain recipes based on yogurt.  Here are a few:

Yogurt and fruit: Combine 1-2 cups of yogurt with fresh or dried fruit.  You can also add nuts, seeds, honey, granola or coconut flakes.
Chocolate peanut butter pudding: Mix 1-2 cups of yogurt with 100% cocoa powder, peanut or any nut butter and a sweetener such as stevia.  You can also add a scoop of whey for more protein.
Perfect yogurt: Combine 1-2 cups of yogurt with granola and mixed berries in layers to create a tasty and well-balanced breakfast or healthy snack.
Smoothies: Yogurt is an excellent milkshake-like thickness.
Full-fat yogurt is another ingredient that can help you add healthy fats and protein to your diet.  It's great on its own or as an ingredient that works in many dishes.
18. Healthy Fats and Oils
Healthy fats and oils are some of the most calorie-dense foods on the planet.

Simply adding a tablespoon (15 ml) of oil to sauces, salads and during cooking can quickly add 135 calories.

Healthy oils include extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil.

It's important to include healthy fats and oils in your diet, especially if you're trying to gain weight.  Olive oil, avocado and coconut oil.
The Bottom Line
The secret behind gaining weight is consistently eating more calories than you need.

Lifting weight is important too, so that extra calories can be used to build muscle instead of just adding fat.

Incorporate the foods on the list of meals and meals that you enjoy and stick with the long term.

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