If you are wondering how to gain weight the healthy way and gain lean mass, it is necessary to consume more calories than you expend while participating in an appropriate exercise program. Increasing your portions and intake of high-calorie foods can be an appropriate strategy for weight gain. If you struggle with the question of what to eat to gain weight, here is a list with a few ideas to consider when putting on weight.

1. Eat a Hearty Breakfast

Try including high-calorie foods such as granola, nuts, nut butters, seeds, dried fruit, Greek yogurt, eggs, avocado, smoothies or flavored milk.

2. Eat Balanced Meals Every 3-5 Hours With Sources of:

  • Protein - dairy, eggs, meat, chicken, fish, soy or beans
  • Carbohydrates - rice, pasta, bread, potatoes, oats, cereals, fruit or fruit juices
  • Fats - nuts or nut butters, avocado, olives, oils, butter, full-fat dairy, salad dressings

3. Avoid Running on Empty

Fuel your tank and eat a meal or snack every 3-5 hours.

4. Pump Up the Portions at Each Meal

Increase your portions at each meal and snack. If you usually have 1 cup of cereal, try having 1.5-2 cups or a larger glass of milk.

5. Plan Ahead and Carry Nutrient-Dense Snacks

Trail mix with dried fruit and nuts, peanut butter and jelly sandwich, banana, granola bar, beef jerky, milk or a meal replacement shake are good alternatives.

6. Drink High-Calorie Beverages

Chocolate milk, smoothies or juices help increase calorie intake without having to consume larger volumes of food.

7. Include a Bedtime Snack

Make sure it is rich in protein, such as Greek yogurt with fruit, string cheese with crackers, a milk-based smoothie or a bowl of cereal with milk.

8. Add High-Calorie Foods to Meals and Snacks

For example:

  • Smoothie made with milk + 1-2 tablespoons of almond or peanut butter + banana and frozen berries
  • Oatmeal + milk + dried fruit and nuts
  • Salad + cheese, avocado, seeds/nuts and salad dressing
  • Baked potato + cheese and broccoli
  • Cooked vegetables + olive oil and sliced almonds

9. Add Another Serving

If you are hungry for second helpings, add another serving of grain or starch rather than vegetables.

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