Tips for Gaining Weight for Underweight Teens

Written by kimberly caines Google
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Tips for Gaining Weight for Underweight Teens
The food pyramide gives healthy eating guidelines. (Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

During the teenage years your body undergoes growth spurts. If your weight doesn't keep up with your growth, you may end up underweight. Fast metabolism and genetics may also be at play. Resorting to an excess of fast food and processed foods is not necessary. You can gain weight by adjusting your eating habits in a healthy way, so your body still gets all the nutrients it needs.

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To gain weight, you must take in more calories than you burn on a daily basis. One pound of fat has 3,500 calories. To gain this, over a seven day period, increase your caloric intake by 500 calories per day. Eat 1,000 calories extra per day to gain up to 0.907kg. per week. Teens seek more independence and may eat out of the home more frequently. Eating unhealthy at school or with friends at fast food restaurants does not lead to healthy weight gain and may lead to health problems such as high cholesterol. Healthy weight gain requires calorie-dense foods that are rich in nutrients.

Eating Habits

To get the extra calories you need, you can substitute low-fat and non-fat foods for full-fat varieties. Eat full-fat dairy instead of fat-free or low-fat dairy. Consume complex carbohydrates such as oatmeal and brown rice. Add cheese and butter to mashed potatoes, vegetables, eggs and casseroles. Instead of water or broth, use dried or whole milk in soups and add chicken for extra calories. Avoid filling up on liquids before meals; eat first. Drink high-caloric, vitamin-rich liquid supplements, such as Ensure Plus, between meals to increase your calories.


You can get your extra calories by increasing your breakfast, lunch and dinner portion sizes. If you don't like filling up during meals, you can also keep your portion sizes the same as before, and add in two to three extra meals. By eating calorie-dense foods every two to three hours you consume more calories over the entire day. Increase your portion size or meal frequency gradually. Start by increasing one portion and work up to increasing the size of all three meals. Add in one extra meal to start; add two more meals over time.


Exercise is not just essential when you want to lose weight, but also when you are trying to gain weight. The extra calories you consume can easily turn into fat if you don't exercise. Strength training promotes lean muscle mass. By using your body weight, weightlifting machines or free weights to exercise, you create and maintain muscle tissue and prevent your body from gaining fat.

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