Whether you simply have a faster than average metabolism, or you are trying to put on more weight as part of an exercise regime, or even if you had an eating disorder and are now trying to get back to a healthy weight, you need to know how to do it properly.
It’s not a matter of eating everything in sight, and eating a lot of it, because you still want to put on those extra pounds in a nutritious and healthy way that will not do damage to your vital organs and overall body health. Professionals in the field of nutrition almost unanimously state that the most healthy way to gain weight is to eat natural – or in other words eating whole foods.
Whole foods are those which have been minimally altered, or not altered at all, from their natural state. The most common examples of these foods include whole grains (as opposed to processed grains), as well as all kinds of fresh fruit, meats, and vegetables.
1. All-Natural Nut Butter
Peanut is the most common and readily available kind of nut butter that will help you gain weight while staying healthy. The taste is also a great benefit here because most people won’t have to force themselves to eat it. However, if you have any history of peanut allergy then you will obviously want to skip this one and perhaps try a natural butter made from a different nut, or simply move on to another type of food to be safe.
It is also important to note that you can’t simply pick up any jar of peanut butter off the shelf and hope for the best. They’re not all the same, and many contain additives that you don’t want to be eating in large quantities. Just one tablespoon of real peanut butter will provide about 4g of protein and 100 calories. Serve it with fruit, on some healthy bread, or add it to smoothies.
2. Fruits Containing Natural Sugars
Another easy and very palatable option for those who really want to enjoy the taste of what they’re eating to gain weight is to go for fruits that have a lot of natural sugars in them. These are usually tropical fruits, but most kinds of fruit are also good.
Some examples of tropical fruits include bananas and pineapples, and also cherries, papayas, mangoes, custard apples, golden apples, date plums, and more. They taste great as an individual food, or at least most people think so, but you can also try adding them into smoothies or other food to really mix and match and get more of a hit all at once.
As the name suggests, tropical fruits are most often grown in warmer climates around the world, so the price and availability will vary a lot depending on where you live. If you’re lucky enough to live in the appropriate climate, check out a local farmer’s market or just your regular supermarket.
3. Make Your Own Smoothies
Smoothies are a great way to mix together all kinds of good stuff to gain weight healthily that you would probably rather not eat individually. The best way to make sure your smoothies are full of good stuff, and no unnecessary bad stuff, is to simply make them yourself at home with ingredients you feel comfortable consuming.
You can add a bunch of the other foods suggested here in this list, but what you want to focus on mostly is making sure your smoothies are high in protein. More specifically, try adding in nuts and seeds, natural nut butter such as peanut, and dried fruits.
One of the main benefits of dried fruits as opposed to fresh or even frozen versions is that they have dramatically less water in them. Adding water from fresh or frozen fruit to your smoothies does you no good if your goal is to gain weight. Also try whole grains such as oats, as well as full-fat milk and/or yogurt.
4. Red Meat
Most people don’t need any more encouragement to enjoy a nice piece of lean red meat, but for this one, you’re out of luck if you are following any kind of vegan or plant-based diet – just skip it if that’s you.
Now, the trick here is that not all meat is created equal, and the benefits even vary based on which cut of steak you decide to buy, so let’s find out what you should be looking for during your next trip to the store.
The cuts of meat that are good for weight gain are those which are higher in calories, and they’re also tastier. These include tenderloin, T-bone, rib eye, and so on – they’re fatty cuts with visible marbling. You can probably find most of these cuts at your local supermarket, but if you have the chance you should also consider visiting a local butcher or sometimes even a farmer’s market.
5. Granola or Muesli
Depending on where you live, you will find that either granola or muesli is fairly popular but usually not both in the same area. For example, granola is the winner in the United States, whereas in Australia it is muesli that is more popular. In any case, they are very similar and both are good and healthy foods for weight gain. To put it simply: granola is baked, and muesli is not, but the other ingredients are about the same.
So, what’s in it? The main ingredients for both are oats and other grains, nuts, dried fruits, and sugar. In the case of granola there is almost always more sugar, and also oil to bind it together before it’s baked.
Another big difference between granola and muesli is the way it is eaten. While granola has more uses such as a crunchy topping for yogurt and so on, muesli is almost always soaked in a liquid such as milk before eating.
Throw away your skim milk, take it off your shopping list, and start drinking whole fat milk for a healthy way to gain weight. You will also get the added benefits of having more nutrients and vitamins when you stop drinking skim milk and go for the real deal, as there is more of both when the fat has not been taken out. For example, this is a good source of vitamin D and vitamin A.
The number of ways you can consume milk is almost endless, and you probably have your own ideas already. You can have it with a healthy cereal that is high in protein, in a creamy sauce over pasta or other types of food, in a coffee or other drinks such as smoothies or milkshakes, or just down a few glasses of milk by itself each day. You don’t need to look far and wide to find the right type of milk – just go for the full-fat types and you’ll be fine.
Are you noticing a trend that a lot of the options in this list are following? Milk, meat, bread – these are all foods that have been a staple in diets all around the world for centuries. The reason is not just that they were easy to make or acquire, but also that they are a great way to naturally sustain the human body to produce strong and healthy people.
In the case of bread, however, in modern times we have turned more toward white bread. This is not so great, because it means the wheat has been refined to a point at which many of the nutrients are lost. We should instead be looking toward whole-grain bread which retains much more of the natural minerals and fiber content while also giving you a bigger boost in energy levels. The added energy is particularly important for people looking to put weight on as part of an exercise regime.
As mentioned in the section about nut butter earlier in this list, nuts are a great way to gain weight naturally while staying healthy at the same time. Eating nuts by themselves, without processing them into butter or other types of food, can be an even easier way to consume them for some people.
You can make up your own mix of nuts, or buy pre-mixed varieties at most supermarkets and specialty stores, and then carry them with you wherever you go. Try adding in some dried fruits to break up the monotony and give yourself another hit of flavor.
The best types of nuts to eat for this purpose are macadamias for their high-fat content, and almonds for their high fiber and protein content, as well as being a great source of various vitamins. However, certain types of nuts tend to make you feel full for longer than other foods. If your weight issues stem from never feeling very hungry, then nuts may not be for you.
9. Wine Before Dinner
As opposed to nuts mentioned above, which tend to fill you up and make you feel less hungry, wine can actually stimulate your appetite. You may not have known this fact before now but if you have ever had a night of heavy drinking and then found yourself craving food that’s heavy in carbohydrates then you have already experienced the effect. It’s because the wine or other alcohol results in a drop in your blood sugar, which sends a message to your brain telling you that you’re more hungry than you actually are.
However, it’s important to note that you shouldn’t go overboard with this kind of thinking. One glass of wine, a dry wine, in particular, consumed before your evening meal should be enough to get you going. You will feel more hungry, and therefore be able to eat larger portions than you would have otherwise. Those larger portions should obviously include the other types of foods mentioned here.
Avocados are savory fruits, or berries to be more precise, not vegetables as many people would assume. But that has little to do with how good they are for gaining weight in a healthy manner, along with a whole lot of other benefits. Eating just half of an avocado each day will provide you with about 140 calories along with healthy fats that are good for your heart and overall body. They’re a great source of vitamin E, potassium, and also folic acid which is great for women for a number of reasons.
It can be quite expensive to buy avocados in some areas, compared to the price of other weight gain foods, and they also can’t be stored for very long. If you have ever tried to eat half of one and then store the rest for another day then you will understand. So, it’s best to try to eat the whole thing within a day of cutting it open.