Weight Gain the Healthful Way

Posted May 1, 2015

Many people envy individuals who have a hard time gaining weight, but people who are too thin can have their own health risks, including hormonal problems, decreased immune function, and problems with skin, teeth, and hair. If your body mass index (BMI) is below 18.5 or you have unintentionally lost more than 5% of your body weight in one month, these tips may help in gaining or re-gaining weight.

People who are underweight often are encouraged to eat cheeseburgers, milk shakes, and other high-fat foods, either to gain weight or just because they can. However, this is not a healthy approach to eating for anyone, regardless of body weight.  Here are some tips for gaining weight using healthy foods: 

Healthy fats - Add olive oil, canola oil, peanut oil, walnut oil, or soft margarine spreads to your foods. 

Peanut butter - Spread peanut butter on toast, muffins, crackers, waffles, pancakes, and fruit slices. 

Smoothies and breakfast drinks - Make your own fruit smoothies with fruit, low-fat vanilla yogurt, 2% milk, and protein powder. Drink Carnation Instant Breakfast Essentials® or blend a packet of chocolate Instant Breakfast Essentials mix with peanut butter and a banana. 

Added Dairy products - Prepare pasta, rice, vegetables, meat loaf, potatoes, and casseroles with shredded low-fat cheese. Mix cottage cheese or plain yogurt with canned fruit. Add cottage cheese or ricotta cheese to casseroles and egg dishes. Stir nonfat dried-milk powder into soups, milk, casseroles, and hot cereals. Add the powder into foods before heating to avoid clumping.  Substitute milk for water in recipes, whenever possible. 

Fruit juices - Drink fruit juices. 

Vegetables - Put avocado and olives on your sandwiches.  Mix cooked or canned beans or peas into casseroles, rice dishes, pasta, or salad. 

Dry fruits - Include dry fruits in muffins, cookies, breads, cakes, grain dishes, cereals, puddings, and cooked vegetables, such as carrots or sweet potatoes. 

Seeds and Wheat Germ - Sprinkle seeds or wheat germ on fruit, vegetables, salads, ice cream, pudding, custard, cereal, or yogurt, or add to a muffin mix, pancake batter, waffle batter, or bread dough. 

Snack mix Snack on a mix of dry cereal, dried fruit, nuts, seeds, and a few chocolate chips.