Best Healthy Foods to Gain Weight Fast: Health Trends
For some people, gaining weight or adding muscle can be just as difficult as losing weight.
However, simply adding certain foods to your diet can be very effective to gain weight.
Here are some of the best foods to help you gain weight or add muscle, the healthy way.
It’s best to make your own smoothies, since commercial versions are often full of sugar and lack nutrients. Making your own will also allow you to vary 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 chocolate whey protein and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) peanut or other nut butter.
- Vanilla berry shake: Combine 1 cup (237 ml) of fresh or frozen mixed berries, ice, 1 cup (237 ml) 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) natural yogurt, 1 scoop of caramel or vanilla-flavored whey protein and 1 tablespoon (15 ml) of sugar-free caramel sauce or flavoring.
- Vanilla blueberry shake: Combine 1 cup (237 ml) fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein, 1 cup (237 ml) 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.
Milk has been used as a weight gainer or muscle builder for decades (1).
It provides a good balance of proteins, carbs and fats. It’s also a good source of calcium, as well as 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 even shown it can help you add muscle when combined with weight lifting (3, 4).
Additionally, studies have shown that milk, or whey and casein combined, can lead to greater mass gain than other protein sources (4, 5).
Try drinking around one or two glasses as a snack, with a meal, or before and after a workout if you are training.
Rice is a convenient, low-cost carb 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 fairly calorie-dense, meaning you can easily obtain a high amount of carbs and calories from a single serving. This helps you eat more food, especially if you have a poor appetite or get full quickly.
When you are on the go or in a rush, two-minute packs of microwavable rice can be easily added to other protein sources and pre-made meals.
Another popular method is to prepare a large pot of rice for the week and combine it with some proteins and healthy fats.
However, extremely large amounts may not be wise due to their potential arsenic and phytic acid content. Arsenic can cause metal toxicity and phytic acid can reduce the absorption of zinc and iron (7).
Nuts and nut butters are a perfect choice if you’re looking to gain weight.
Just one small handful of almonds contains over 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 as a snack can quickly add hundreds of calories.
Nut butters can also be added to a variety of snacks or dishes, such as smoothies, yogurts and much more.
However, make sure you pick 100% nut butters that have only two or three ingredients and no added sugar or extra oils.(health trends, Healthy Foods, fast Weight Gain)
5. Protein Supplements
Taking protein supplements is a common strategy for athletes and bodybuilders who want to gain weight.
Whey protein supplements and “mass gainers” can be a very easy and cost-effective strategy to gain weight, especially when combined with strength training (18, 19).
Some people think whey protein is unhealthy or unnatural, but this isn’t the case. Whey protein is made from dairy and has actually been shown to improve markers of health and reduce disease risk (20, 21, 22).
Whey protein may be even more important if you’re also training, since your daily protein requirements increase. Like meats and other animal products, whey protein contains all the essential amino acids to stimulate muscle growth (23, 24, 25).
You can use it before or after your workout and at any other point during the day.
Dried fruit is a high-calorie snack that also provides antioxidants and micronutrients (26).
You can obtain many different types of dried fruit.
However, they have a very high sugar content and are not ideal for weight loss diets.
Nevertheless, this makes them great for gaining weight, especially since they are convenient to eat and also taste great.
While many people think fruits lose most of their nutrients when dried, this isn’t the case. Dried fruits contain lots of fiber and most of their vitamins and minerals remain intact (26, 27).
Try combining some dried fruit with a protein source, such as cuts of meat or a whey protein shake. They also mix really well with nuts and natural yogurt, providing a blend of healthy fats, protein and other key nutrients.
Also read: Importance of Yoga In Our Life
7. Whole-Grain Bread
Whole-grain breads are another good carb source to help you gain weight.
You can make some very simple, high-calorie and well-balanced meals by combining bread with protein sources such as eggs, meat and cheese.
When purchasing bread, aim for natural whole grains and seeded breads. Healthy versions, such as Ezekiel bread, are available in most grocery stores.(health trends, Healthy Foods, fast Weight Gain)
8. Healthy Cereals
Healthy cereals can be an excellent source of carbs, calories and healthy nutrients.
While you should avoid processed, high-sugar cereals, healthier forms like oatmeal can be a great carb source to add to 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.
9. Cereal Bars
Some of the healthier cereal bars on the market can be a great snack when you are 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 bars made from healthy whole grains. 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, try combining a cereal bar with other protein sources, such as natural yogurt, boiled eggs, cold cuts of meat or a protein shake.(health trends, Healthy Foods, fast Weight Gain)
High-quality dark chocolate provides a ton of antioxidants and health benefits.
Most people recommend getting dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or more.
Like other high-fat foods, dark chocolate has a very high calorie density. This means it’s very easy to obtain many calories from it.
Each 100-gram (3.5-ounce) bar has around 600 calories. It is also packed full of micronutrients and health-promoting compounds, including fiber, magnesium and antioxidants (30).