While most of us are struggling to lose weight, there are others who want to put on a few extra kilos. Well that should be easy, right? Wrong! Although being lean is often a sign of good health, being underweight can be a concern if it’s the result of poor nutrition.
Just as losing weight requires calorie control, gaining weight is no different. In order to put on mass, you’ll need to eat more calories than you burn. Unfortunately, most people fall prey to unnecessary supplements and unhealthy junk food to put on weight, before checking out healthy natural foods for weight gain. If you want to put on some extra pounds, don’t rely on high-calorie junk foods that aren’t nutritious. Choose foods that are nutrient-dense and energy-dense. In today’s article, we will tell you the best foods that can help you gain weight fast. From tahini, pasta, whole eggs, banana to hummus and more, read till the end to learn about all of them.
1. Red Meat
When it comes to gaining lean muscle, red meat is the best source of animal protein. It contains leucine, amino acid and dietary creatine that stimulate protein synthesis to build lean muscle.
A study conducted on elderly women found that having lean cuts of red meat along with progressive resistance training helps increase muscle protein synthesis and muscle strength.
Choose a lean cut of red meat over a fatty steak. Lean cuts help to put on lean body mass, whereas fatty steaks increase the fat mass in your body, which is not a healthy way to gain weight.
Rice is a cost-effective way to add more calories to your plate. 100 grams of white rice provides 130 calories of energy and 28 grams of carbs with a very little amount of fat.
A study found that eating white rice over a period of 1 year helps to gain 3 kilograms of weight. When you are in a hurry, just microwave a bowl of it with some curry. It adds bulk to your diet and is quite satiating.
Tahini is a sesame seed paste that is popularly used in Mediterranean foods like hummus and baba ganoush. Scientists have found that these seeds are loaded with antioxidants and healthy fats that have antihypertensive properties. The lignans in them also have anti-inflammatory and immunity-strengthening abilities.
Add 2-4 tablespoons of tahini to your salad or mashed potatoes and have a delicious meal that will also help you gain weight healthily.
4. Whole Grain Cereal Bars
Whole-grain cereal bars are calorie-dense snacks that can be enjoyed both before and after a workout. The nuts and cereals found in them provide instant energy, and the calories help increase weight.
You can also make homemade cereal bars by mixing dry fruits with honey or maple syrup. Have them as a snack or post-workout nutrition.
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, plus they have vitamin K, potassium, and fibre. One avocado has more than 200 calories, so it’s a good way to add extra calories without sacrificing nutrition. Add its slices to your sandwiches or make guacamole to serve with baked tortilla chips. You can also put it in sot shell tacos or burritos.
It also makes a great addition to your favourite smoothie recipe. The mild flavour mixes well with ingredients like berries or chocolate.
6. Dried Fruit
Berries, apricots, and apples can be easily dried and eaten. They have a high number of calories per gram and also provide antioxidants and vitamins for a healthier body. As all the water content is removed, and energy-dense fruit is left, making it one of the best foods to gain weight. Dates, figs, and prunes are also some healthy dried fruits.
The best way to eat them is as snacks. You can make your own dried fruit at home as well. Just slice the fruits into strips and remove the seeds. Cover the fruit in lemon and water. Bake them for 4 – 12 hours at 145 F.
Milk offers a mix of fat, carbohydrates, and proteins. It is also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Its protein content of it makes it a good choice for people trying to build muscle.
One study found that after a resistance training workout, drinking skim milk helped to build muscle more effectively than a soy-based product. A similar study involving women in resistance training showed improved results in those who drank milk following a workout. For anyone looking to gain weight, it can be added to the diet throughout the day.
8. Salmon And Oily Fish
These are protein-rich foods with a lot of healthy fats good for your health. They also contain significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids which are good fats with protective effects from diseases among other health benefits.
Moreover, a 6-ounce fillet of salmon can provide over 4 grams of omega-3 fats, about 34 grams of high-quality protein, and 350 calories which could assist you in gaining weight and building your muscles.
9. Whole Eggs
If you want to see great results when eating eggs, you might want to consider eating whole eggs, as the egg yolk is rich in essential nutrients. This is because eggs provide you with both high-quality proteins and healthy fats that are guaranteed to help you gain weight.
Most bodybuilders eat more eggs as they understand their role in assisting with muscle building. As such, eating them on a daily basis is both healthy and good for building your muscle which is a great way of piling on weight in a healthier way.
10. Homemade Protein Smoothies
Protein smoothies are loaded with nutrition and do not contain artificial sweeteners and taste enhancers. You can have them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or as a pre– or post-workout meal. Studies have found that taking protein supplements with resistance training helps build muscle mass and helps to gain weight.
Here are a few quick homemade protein shake ideas: Peanut Butter Protein Shake – Mix 2 tablespoons peanut butter, 1 cup full-fat milk, and 1 banana. Chocolate And Apple Protein Shake – Mix 2 scoops of chocolate protein powder, 1 cup of soy or almond milk, and 1 apple. Banana And Almond Protein Shake – Mix 1 large banana, ½ cup yogurt, ½ cup milk, and 2 tablespoons almond powder.
11. Nut Butters
Nuts are rich in protein, fibre and healthy fats and can help you boost your calorie intake. Nut butter especially is a wonderful food for weight gain as they are easier to eat than nuts alone, allowing you to eat more, especially if your appetite is low.
A tablespoon of peanut butter has around 100 calories and 16 grams of fat. It is also a great source of vitamin E and magnesium. You can choose between a wide variety of nut butter that is available including almond, peanut, hazelnut, cashew and macadamia butter. However, make sure the one you choose is made from 100 percent nuts and has no added sugar or salt. Swirl them into oats, spread onto toast, or eat with a spoonful.
12. Healthy Oils
Adding extra fat to your food is an easy way to add calories, but you want to be sure to choose the fats and oils that are good for you. Olive oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and can add calories and flavour to pasta, bread, or vegetables.
Canola oil is a great source of omega-3 and monounsaturated fats, making it a terrific, all-purpose cooking oil. Walnut and grape seed oils are lighter in flavour and perfect for dressing salads.
Bananas are loaded with dietary fibre, potassium, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, folate, and healthy fats. One medium-sized fruit provides 105 calories of energy and 27 grams of carbohydrates. A study conducted on male cyclists suggested that eating helps improve energy levels.
You can have it with a cup of milk and a few nuts for a power-packed breakfast. You can also make a smoothie with the same ingredients and have it before working out.
Pasta is another calorie-dense source of carbs that provides an ideal base for any number of meals. Simply add the sauce and you’re ready to go. Two cups of cooked spaghetti has almost 400 calories. A cup of bolognese sauce adds no less than 160 calories. Sprinkle two tablespoons of parmesan cheese on top for another 45 calories, and you’ll find yourself with no less than 600 calories in one meal.
Mangoes are not only delicious and sweet but also high in calories and packed with dietary fibre, fruit sugar, vitamins, and minerals. They have anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. You can add them to smoothies, breakfast bowls, and protein shakes to gain weight.
Hummus is made with boiled chickpeas, which are protein-dense and high in fat content. 100 grams of hummus contains 237 calories along with 8 grams of protein and 18 grams of fat. You can eat it as a high-calorie snack for weight gain and combine it with baked chips, nachos, or sautéed veggies sticks.