What Foods Help You Gain Weight?

Updated February 21, 2017

There are many people who struggle in their effort to gain weight. The process of gaining healthy, lean body weight takes time, as lean muscle tissue accumulates more slowly than fat deposits do. Because gaining weight often requires that you eat even when you are not hungry, it is sometimes hard to consume the amount of extra calories needed. The best foods to help you gain weight without sacrificing your health include calorie-dense carbohydrates, unsaturated fats and lean proteins. Selecting the appropriate foods is essential to help you gain weight safely and effectively.


Because they are so dense in calories, many foods that are rich in carbohydrates are also good choices for weight gain. However, it is important to consume only healthy carbohydrates and avoid the unhealthy ones. For example, white flour and sugar may contain many calories, but they have little nutritional value. Although fibrous vegetables are an invaluable source of vitamins and minerals, they should not be consumed in an effort to gain weight since they contain few calories and even fewer digestible carbohydrates. There are some vegetables, however, that can help you gain weight, including potatoes, sweet potatoes and yams. Other healthy sources of calorie-dense carbohydrates include whole-grain pasta, granola, yoghurt, beans, rice, fruit and fruit juice.

Unsaturated Fats

Because they are so dense in calories, foods containing high amounts of fat can also help you gain weight. Fat contains 9 calories per gram, which is more than twice the amount found in carbohydrates. Adding fats to your meals and snacks will increase the total number of calories you consume during the day without filling you up too much. Try adding some healthy oil, such as olive oil, to your meal. Although they will also help you gain weight, you should try to avoid saturated fats since they contribute to poor health. Some sources of healthy, unsaturated fats include olive oil, flaxseed oil, peanut butter, cashews and avocados.

Lean Proteins

In order to gain weight in the form of muscle, it is important to include lean proteins in your diet. If you decide to start strength training, try eating some protein-rich foods before and after your workouts to promote muscle growth. Meal replacement products, such as breakfast shakes, are usually high in protein. Check the product label to make sure the food is not packed with unhealthy sugar or saturated fat.

Some examples of lean proteins that help you gain weight include lean beef, chicken, egg whites, fish and turkey. Avoid protein sources that are high in saturated fat, such as bacon, fatty beef and sausage.

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About the Author

Melissa Busse is a freelance writer covering a variety of topics, including natural health and beauty, budget balancing and parenting. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art from Maryville University in St. Louis.