We live in a weight obsessed society. And with this obsession comes a culture of bullying. So much focus gets paid to losing weight (and the body shaming of overweight people) that we sometimes forget that some people are naturally very thin, with a fast metabolism, and trying to gain weight. Low body weight can carry a host of heath risks, to say nothing of the insults that can be tossed at thin people because we are attempting to be more inclusive (think about it, that's exactly what we do. We practice exclusion in an attempt to promote inclusion. So crazy!).
So, what is a person to do if they want to gain weight in a healthy way? Eating junk food all day and everyday will gain you weight but your body will suffer. Here are 11 foods
that can help you put on the pounds without sacrificing your health.
1. Lean Red Meat
If you're trying to gain, lean red meat, like steak, is a good option. Keep in mind, however, that not all cuts are created equal. The best are the fatty cuts where the meat is marbled. Look for a rib eye, t-bone, New York strip or beef tenderloin. These cuts taste better and contain more calories. Red meat is high in cholesterol so it isn't recommended more than a few times a week.
2. Real Nut Butters
Natural peanut butter is full of protein and fat. One tablespoon contains 100 calories and 4 grams of protein. Real peanut butter is also high in folate, magnesium, vitamin E, and vitamin B3. You can enjoy it mixed into oatmeal, topping whole grain bread or as a dip for apples. Try to find all natural brands. They will have less sugar and additives.
3. Whole Fat Milk
One easy thing to do is swapping your skim milk for whole milk. It is only 60 more calories a glass and is high in vitamins D and A.
Add whole milk where you would use skim, in your cereal, sauces or by the glass. If you like milk in your coffee, you can try to use cream.
4. Tropical Fruit
Fruits like mango, papaya, banana and pineapple are awesome (and delicious) choices for weight gain. They are full of natural sugars that can provide you with energy. If you find it difficult to get the right amount of fruits and veggies a day, try blending them into a smoothie.
Avocado is a great way to add healthy fat to your diet. One half of an avocado contains 140 calories, but also contain high levels of potassium, folic acid, and vitamin E. Avocado also are filled with B vitamins.
Add avocado to salad or as a spread on toast. Mash one half onto a slice of bread, add some salt and pepper and you're good to go.
6. Natural Granola
Granola (without any added refined sugar) is a great cereal for when you're trying to gain. This tasty snack is made from rolled oats, sugar, and healthy fats (like nuts and coconut oil). More dried fruit and nuts can also be added.
You can buy it pre-made or you can do it yourself. Enjoy granola topped with thick yogurt, fruit, and a drizzle of honey. This breakfast will be high in protein from the yogurt, filled with fiber from the oatmeal, and sugar from the fruit.
7. Whole Wheat Bread
When adding bread to your diet, look for whole grains. The refining process that goes into white flour (found in white bread) strips the majority of nutrients out of it. Instead, opt for whole grain varieties. These contain a fiber and minerals that are missing in white bread. It will help you stay full for longer, and give you sustained energy.
8. Vegetable Oils
Extra virgin olive oil, safflower oil, coconut oil, and peanut oil are full of flavor and heart-healthy calories when enjoyed in moderation. They have concentrated flavour which means you can (and should) used less when cooking and they don't burn as easily as butter if you are using them in your pans while cooking.
Nuts are a good snack for gaining. Nuts are full of nutrients and fiber. Almonds are a great choice, while macadamia nuts are very high in fat. Mixed nuts are a great option because you can get the nutritional benefit of many varieties in one snack. Add nuts to your salads, on top of Asian dishes, and in your breakfast cereals and oatmeal.
Cheese has all the nutritional benefits of milk products but is high in fat, making it good when trying to add weight. Cheese comes in so many varieties that you can have fun adding it to your meals (in moderation, of course). Try goat cheese with eggs, Swiss with roasted chicken, and Parmesan on top of asparagus. On its own, cheese also makes a great snack because it’s high in protein.
People cut carbs first thing when trying to lose weight, you should reintroduce them if you are trying to gain. The trick is to choose carbohydrates that also have a nutritional value.
Potatoes are high in protein, full of fiber and contain a ton of vitamin C. Eat potatoes with the skin on for optimum nutrition. Once they’re peeled, the protein is cut in half. Also, you can mix it up with mini reds and sweet potatoes that pack more flavor that white potatoes.
I can't promise you massive gains with these foods but hopefully, this provides you a much needed place to start!