You may not be interested in losing weight but instead, are looking for healthy ways to gain weight. Every article you see out there is always geared around losing weight, but there is nothing about gaining weight. Whether it’s magazines or online publications, there is this constant message of weight loss and how to do it FAST.
But you may fall into the other category of people who are looking to add weight but want to do it in the healthiest way possible and wonder the best approach.
The fact is that gaining weight can be easy, but that involves going down the road of a lot of junk and excess. This is also not the ideal weight to gain as it will be primarily body fat that is made up of horrible chemicals and ingredients such as high fructose corn syrups, trans fats, and saturated fats.
Instead, you want to take a healthy and more gradual approach to weight gain by using some higher calorie foods but ones that are very dense nutrition-wise.
Let’s look at the 3 most effective and healthy ways you can gain weight.
1. Increase Your Calorie Intake
This seems obvious, but it’s important to look deeper at it. The truth is calorie math is not a simple formula of calories in-calories out. Various foods can have a positive or negative impact on your body and the reality is all foods are not created equal.
Take, for example, having 100 calories of almonds compared to 100 calories of jelly beans. The almonds are full of protein, healthy fats and fiber and will promote fullness. At the same time the fiber, fat, and protein are slow digesting so it keeps your blood sugar levels stable.
The jelly beans are pure sugar and will cause a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin release. This will cause an inevitable crash and can cause you to crave more simple sugars and carbs. Calorie wise they have the same amount but they act very differently in your body.
Calories are still relevant for healthy ways to gain weight, but you need not become a slave to counting them. It is important to take a few days and record what you eat so you have a rough idea of what you’re taking in calorie-wise.
Understand that this number you come up with will not be exact at all, but it’s just to get a close estimate. Most people do not understand how many calories they’re consuming in a day and it’s good to get a general idea in order to gain weight.
Now that you have an idea of how many calories you are eating, you know that your body and metabolism have been able to handle them well as you have not been gaining any weight. You now want to add in an extra 300 calories a day for at least a week or two and see how that helps.
If there are no changes, you can go up to 500 extra calories a day to promote healthy weight gain. A healthy weight gain will be around 1-2 pounds per week. If you are gaining more than that there’s a good chance it will be mostly body fat.
2. Use the Best High Calorie/Nutrient-Dense Foods
When you are trying to gain weight in a healthy way, you know you need to take in more calories, but what will be the best food choices? Your goal is to consume high-calorie foods but you don’t want empty calories.
Those will not fill you up and will still leave you hungry as your body is not getting the nutrients it requires. Eating a lot of processed and manufactured junk will leave you starving on a cellular level and will leave you feeling terrible.
So here’s a list of higher-calorie but nutrient-dense foods:
- Natural peanut butter
- Almond butter
- Brown rice
- Sweet potatoes
- Almond, walnuts, and peanuts
- Chicken breast
- Dark chocolate
- Olive and coconut oil
- Greek yogurt
Don’t forget to always include vegetables and fruits. Focus on dark green leafy vegetables and even though they aren’t high in calories, they are high in vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.
3. Drink Your Calories
Taking in an excess of calories can be challenging as a good amount of time is devoted to eating. One way to get in some extra healthy calories throughout the day is to drink your calories. We’re not talking about things like sodas and juices but making your own high calorie, but healthy, smoothies.
A good plan for a healthy way to gain weight is to create your own high nutrient weight gain shakes. If you have a good blender, you can create a very nutritious calorie-dense drink by including things like:
- Almond milk
- Peanut butter
- Cocoa powder
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Pinch of cinnamon
This is a good base that you can even throw a cup of spinach into to boost its nutrient content. Another good option can be more fruit-based and you can include:
- Almond milk
- Frozen berries
- Greek yogurt
- 1 cup spinach
The good thing here is you can experiment with the ratios of each ingredient and make it taste more to your liking. If you add one or two of these smoothies along with your regular meals, it’s a great, and healthy, way to gain weight.
Wrapping It Up
Gaining weight healthily is very doable as long as you focus on these three important things. Remember to get an idea where your calorie intake for the day is and increase it by 300-500 a day.
Make sure you start choosing the best nutrient-dense/high-calorie foods so you are gaining weight but being healthy. And lastly, you can get a boost on your calorie intake for the day by making your own high-calorie smoothies.