There are misconceptions aplenty when it comes to gaining weight. Despite what you might have heard, it’s not always easy to do. It takes time, and for many, a great deal of effort. When it comes to putting on the pounds, there are some healthy ways and some not so healthy ways to go about it.
Thankfully, once you learn a few basic guidelines and understand which foods are helpful and which are harmful, you’ll find that it gets easier over time. At 8fit, we’re all about the slow, steady, and sustainable approach, so we encourage you to be patient and let your body adjust. However, certain weight gain foods can help you achieve your goal a little bit faster, and that’s what we’ll dive into now.
Weight gain food for any mood
When we talk about healthy weight gain foods, we don’t mean cakes, cookies, fries or chimichangas. We’re talking about foods that have both high nutrient content and a high-calorie content. There’s a big difference between the calories you get from eating a sugary cinnamon bun you bought at the mall and the calories you get from a bowl of whole wheat soba noodles with homemade peanut sauce.
The good news is that you have options – and plenty of them. Whether you prefer your food sweet, spicy, sour or savory, you’ll find there are a host of ways you can up the calorie intake without even noticing. Let’s dig in.
Our healthy weight gain foods list
As we mentioned, when it comes to high-calorie foods for weight gain, not all foods are created equal. It’s crucial that you focus on foods with a particularly high nutrient content instead of those with empty calories — check out Coach Lisa’s article on the subject.
Here are some of our favorite weight gain foods worth adding to your shopping list:
1. Dried fruit and nuts
Who doesn’t love trail mix? This calorie-rich combo of dried fruit and nuts is popular among hikers and adventurers for a reason: it’s full of nutrition, calorically dense and stable for packing when you’re on-the-go.
Dried fruit and nuts are both high-calorie, and very nutritious options — perfect to have at hand when you need a quick bite to eat. If you haven’t gone 8fit Pro already, why not upgrade and scroll through a ton of drool-worthy snacks like our Dried Fruit and Nuts recipe.
2. Full-fat dairy products
After years of hearing that fat is terrible, it’s no wonder that so many people have an aversion to full-fat products. But when it comes to putting on healthy weight, it’s better to go for full-fat rather than reduced-fat foods (it usually tastes better too). In the process of removing fat from dairy products, some of the nutrition gets removed.
An easy way to up your calories is to swap out any low-fat or no-fat products you use for the real thing. You probably won’t notice a huge difference in your routine, but it will add significant calories to your diet.
3. Healthy fats and oils
One easy way to boost your caloric intake is to drizzle a little oil over your food. This will help you up the number of calories in your meal without adding too much volume to the food you’re eating.
Get creative – you don’t have to stick to dull, flavorless oils. Try oils infused with garlic, rosemary or chili to add a bit of zest to salads or roasted vegetables. We also like rich-tasting oils such as walnut, avocado, and sesame. When considering what oils to choose, make sure to read up on the smoke points of different oils.
4. Granola, muesli, and oats
Granola is another nutritious weight gain food that outdoor adventurists and other fitness enthusiasts enjoy. That’s because you don’t need to eat very much to get a sustained energy kick – it’s nutrient dense and easy to carry anywhere. Try to go for all-natural varieties, or better yet, make your own.
Just mix some whole grain oats, an array of your favorite nuts and seeds, and some dried fruit (if you like it, of course) in a bowl and separate into portions for later. Feel free to add a creative touch to your creation by throwing in some dried coconut, chia seeds or even dark chocolate chips if you’re feeling decadent.
Need a push in the right direction? Have a peek at our Granola with Pear recipe in the 8fit app recipe book.
5. Nut butter
You’ve probably noticed already, but we happen to love nut butter here at 8fit. Whether it’s almond, cashew, peanut or walnut, we like having nourishing spreads like these on hand to add flavor and texture to just about everything.
Spread some on a banana for a fast, energy-boosting snack that tastes like dessert, smear a spoon of it on a piece of wholegrain toast or mix it in with your overnight oats. The possibilities are truly limitless. As always, check the label to make sure that there are no additives like sugar or hydrogenated oils in the brand you select.
6. Whole grain bread
Whole grain bread often has a higher number of calories than nutritionally poor white bread. It also boasts high levels of protein and dietary fiber, which keeps you satisfied and aids with digestion. Couple your bread with a source of protein like meat, eggs, cheese or a plant-based protein, and you’ve got yourself a satisfying and nutritious food choice.
While you’re at it, top off your bread with some mashed avocado for an extra helping of calories and that scrumptiously smooth texture. These calorie-dense gems are perfect on top of rice bowls, salads, tacos, baked potatoes – you name it!
If you’re feeling fancy, why not go for 8fit’s Savory French Toast recipe?
7. Dark chocolate
As far as weight gain foods go, it’s a definite showstopper. Dark chocolate is teeming with antioxidants, fiber, and magnesium, so you’re certainly not getting empty calories when chowing down on the good stuff (aka chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or more). Believe it or not, dark chocolate boasts four times as much of the antioxidant catechin as tea. Now that’s pretty awesome in our books.
Enjoy a couple of squares of dark chocolate between meals or as a quick pick me up when you’re feeling tired. Eat it with a handful of almonds for a super satisfying snack that will keep your blood sugar levels stable.
You’ve got this
If you’re looking to gain weight in a way that’s both sustainable and lasting, we recommend incorporating the foods we mentioned above into your diet whenever you get a chance.
If you’d like more ideas on how to gain weight healthily, we recommend taking the 8fit app for a spin. Not only will you find workouts that can help you gain muscle, but you’ll also have access to a wide range of meals specifically tailored to your particular weight gain needs.
All of 8fit’s meals were created with the help of certified nutritionists, who make sure you eat a combination of foods that make you feel healthier, happier and fuel up the right way.