Order Meals
Home > Blog > 14 Foods to Help Gain Weight Quickly

Kevin Curry

14 Foods to Help Gain Weight Quickly

best foods to gain weight

Feeling like you’re stuck on the sidelines while everyone else is chasing those weight loss goals? It’s time to flip the script and focus on building that body you’ve always dreamed of. Let’s look at the best foods to help gain weight.

Let go of ineffective quick fixes. We’re talking about nourishing your body with the good stuff – wholesome carbs, protein-packed meats, healthy fats, and yes, even the occasional indulgent treat.

Gaining weight isn’t about going all-out in one meal. It’s about consistency and balance. Start by fueling up with smaller, frequent meals and incorporating these 14 weight-gaining foods into your daily eats.

From hearty grains to muscle-building proteins, we’ve got everything you need to kickstart your gains and boost those energy levels.

So, are you ready to say goodbye to those skinny jeans and hello to a stronger, fitter you? Let’s do this, FitFam!

How Many Calories Do You Need to Gain Weight?

foods to gain weight

Let’s dive into a key ingredient for gaining weight: calories.

Now, calories are like the fuel that powers our bodies, found in everything we eat and drink. To pack on the pounds, we’ve got to take in more calories than we burn. It’s all about creating a calorie surplus, where those extra calories either bulk up as fat or help build muscle.

But how many calories do you really need? Well, it varies from person to person based on things like age, gender, how active you are, and your metabolism. A good place to start is by figuring out your basal metabolic rate (BMR)—that’s the number of calories your body needs to function at rest. Then, you can add extra calories based on how much you move and your weight gain goals.

Generally, aiming for an extra 250 to 500 calories per day is a sweet spot for gradual weight gain. It’s a healthy pace that won’t stress your body out too much.

Remember, not all calories are created equally, though. Sure, it’s tempting to load up on calorie bombs like junk food, but we’ve got to focus on fueling up with good stuff. Think nutrient-packed foods that give us the vitamins, minerals, and macros we need to thrive.

So, let’s load up on wholesome eats like whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, fruits, and veggies. They’re the real MVPs when it comes to supporting our weight gain goals and building a stronger, fitter version of ourselves.
Ready to eat some of the best foods for weight gain?

14 Best Foods To Eat To Gain Weight

healthy foods to gain weight

Buckle up, because here’s your ultimate lineup of healthy weight gain foods:

1. Nuts and Nut Butter

These little guys are like nature’s treasure chest, packed with all the good stuff your body needs to bulk up and build muscle.

Make sure to skip the processed stuff and go straight for the whole nuts – you’ll get more bang for your buck without any sneaky added sugars or oils.

Take almonds, for instance. They’re a solid choice, giving you about 160 calories and 6 grams of protein per ounce. And if you’re into peanut butter (who isn’t?), a couple of tablespoons of the natural kind will set you up with around 190 calories and 8 grams of protein.

Incorporating nuts and nut butters into your routine is a breeze. Grab a handful of nuts for a quick snack on the go, or slather some nut butter on toast or apple slices for a tasty treat. Feeling fancy? Toss ’em into salads, yogurt, or smoothies for an extra crunch and calorie boost.

Here are a few simple ways to get your nut fix:

  • Sprinkle chopped nuts on salads or mix ’em into your favorite cooked grains.
  • Stir nut butter into yogurt for a creamy twist, or spread it on whole grain crackers for a satisfying snack.
  • Blend nuts or nut butter into your morning smoothie for an extra punch of flavor and creaminess.
  • And hey, why not use nut butter as a dip for sliced fruits like apples or bananas? 

Here are some great peanut butter recipes to get you started.

Just remember to keep it real—opt for unsalted and minimally processed options to get the most out of these nutritious gems.

2. Homemade Protein Smoothies

These shakes are like liquid gold when it comes to fueling your muscles and satisfying your cravings.

  1. Grab your favorite protein powder – whether it’s classic whey or a plant-based option like pea protein. 
  2. Let’s talk liquids. You can go for the classic milk or almond milk or even soy milk will do the trick. Want to keep it light? Water works just fine too!
  3. Next, add some healthy fats to the mix. Think nut butter, creamy avocado, or a splash of coconut oil. These bad boys not only amp up the calories but also keep you feeling full.
  4. Toss in your favorite fruits like bananas, berries, or mangoes. Feeling adventurous? How about some spinach or kale for an extra nutrient boost?
  5. Last but not least, if you have a sweet tooth you can add a sweetener. Drizzle in some honey, real maple syrup, or throw in a few dates for that perfect touch of sweetness.

Try this nighttime protein smoothie before bed.

Once you’ve got all your ingredients ready, toss ’em in the blender and let it rip until it’s smooth as silk. Don’t be afraid to get creative and mix things up to suit your taste buds!

3. Red Meats

Beef, lamb, and pork are like the superheroes of the protein world. Packed with top-notch protein and essential nutrients like iron, zinc, and B vitamins, these meats are your body’s best friends for energy and muscle function.

Adding red meat to your diet is like hitting the jackpot – it gives you a boost in calories and provides all the goodness your muscles need to repair and grow. A small 3-ounce serving of cooked beef delivers around 180 calories and a whopping 22 grams of protein.

Try wrapping your veggies in flank steak for a great way to increase your veg and red meat.

Now, when you’re picking your red meat, go for the lean cuts like sirloin or tenderloin, and trim off any extra fat before cooking to keep it lean and mean. Grill it, roast it, or stir-fry it – the options are endless for creating delicious and nutritious meals.

Pair your red meat with some complex carbs like sweet potatoes or brown rice, and don’t forget to load up on colorful veggies for that extra nutrient boost and fiber.

4. Fish

When it comes to fish like salmon, mackerel, trout, and sardines, they’re not just tasty, they’re loaded with omega-3 fatty acids, top-quality protein, and all the good stuff our bodies need.

And those omega-3s are fantastic. They’re anti-inflammatory, which means they help our muscles recover faster after hitting the gym and lower our risk of getting sick.

Adding oily fish into our meals is a breeze – grill ’em, bake ’em, steam ’em, or just crack open a can. I like to pair them with whole grains and veggies for a meal that’s as delicious as it is nutritious.

Now, let’s get to the good stuff – here are a few mouthwatering ways we can enjoy oily fish:

  • Salmon avocado toast: I love slathering some mashed avocado on whole grain toast, then topping it with canned salmon, sliced radishes, and a sprinkle of everything bagel seasoning. It’s the perfect way to start my day.
  • Tuna poke bowl: I whip up my own poke bowl with tuna, sushi rice or quinoa, edamame, cucumber, avocado, and seaweed salad. Then I drizzle on some soy sauce, sesame oil, and sriracha for an explosion of flavor.
  • Mackerel lettuce wraps: I grab some large lettuce leaves and stuff ’em with mackerel mixed with Greek yogurt, diced celery, and Dijon mustard. Then I throw in some sliced tomatoes, shredded carrots, and a squeeze of lemon juice for a refreshing lunch.
  • Trout tacos: I warm up some corn tortillas and load ’em up with trout, black beans, diced mango, avocado slices, and cilantro. Then I finish ’em off with a splash of lime juice and a dollop of Greek yogurt for a taco night that blows my mind.

Adding these mouthwatering and nutrient-packed oily fish choices to our meals not only makes healthy eating effortless but also fuels our journey towards weight gain and muscle-building goals.

I’ve got lots of salmon recipes to get you started. 

5. Eggs

Let’s talk about one of my all-time favorite foods for gaining weight: eggs. These little guys are absolute rockstars when it comes to packing in the protein and essential nutrients our bodies need to bulk up and build muscle.

Now, eggs are not just for breakfast – you can enjoy them any time of the day, whether it’s a loaded frittata for a hearty breakfast, hard-boiled as a snack, or incorporated into a hearty omelet for dinner.

But what makes eggs so great for weight gain? Well, for starters, they’re loaded with protein, with each egg providing around 6 grams. Protein is crucial for repairing and building muscle, making eggs an essential part of any weight gain diet.

But that’s not all – eggs are also rich in healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals. The yolk, in particular, contains important nutrients like vitamin D, choline, and antioxidants that support various functions in the body, including bone health, brain function, and immune system support.

And the best part is eggs are incredibly affordable and easy to prepare. Whether you like them scrambled, fried, boiled, or poached, there are countless ways to enjoy eggs as part of a balanced diet.

So, whether you’re whipping up a quick breakfast scramble or adding a hard-boiled egg to your salad, incorporating eggs into your diet is a simple and delicious way to support your weight gain goals and build a stronger, fitter version of yourself.

6. Protein Supplements

Protein supplements come in all shapes and sizes – there’s whey, casein, and even plant-based options like pea or soy protein. The key is finding the one that fits your needs and preferences.

What makes these supplements so great? Well, for starters, they’re super convenient. Just toss a scoop of powder into your shaker bottle with some water, milk, or your favorite smoothie ingredients, and voila – you’ve got yourself a protein-packed snack or meal in no time. And you can whip them up into all sorts of tasty creations, from shakes and smoothie bowls to waffles and energy balls. The possibilities are endless!

And let’s not forget about the main event – the protein itself. These supplements deliver a concentrated dose of protein without any junk calories or added sugars.

Now, even though protein supplements are fantastic, they’re not meant to replace real food entirely. It’s super important to balance them out with nutrient-rich whole foods like lean meats, eggs, dairy, fruits, and veggies to keep your body running like a well-oiled machine.

So, whether you’re looking to refuel after a tough workout or just need a quick and easy way to up your protein intake, protein supplements are the way to go. Just remember to choose high-quality products and use them as part of a balanced diet to maximize your gains and keep crushing those goals.

7. Milk

Milk is definitely underrated in the weight gain world. It’s packed with protein, healthy fats, and essential vitamins and minerals that your body craves. Plus, it’s super versatile and oh-so-delicious.

One of the best things about milk for weight gain is its calorie content. Just one cup of whole milk packs in around 150 calories, making it a convenient way to add extra calories to your diet without feeling like you’re forcing down a massive meal.

But it’s not just about the calories – milk is also loaded with protein, with each cup providing around 8 grams. 

It has healthy fats to keep you feeling full and satisfied. Plus, it provides essential fatty acids that support overall health and wellbeing.

Maybe the best thing about milk is how easy it is to incorporate into your daily routine. Whether you enjoy it straight from the glass, add it to your morning cereal, or use it as a base for smoothies and shakes, there are endless ways to enjoy milk and reap its weight gain benefits.

So, whether you’re sipping on a post-workout protein shake or indulging in a bedtime glass of warm milk, don’t underestimate the power of this humble beverage when it comes to supporting your weight gain goals. 

8. Cheese

Cheese isn’t just about taste; it’s a nutrient powerhouse, ready to fuel your gains with every delicious bite. Clocking in at around 110 calories per ounce, it’s a convenient way to up your intake without feeling weighed down.

Cheese brings some serious protein and calcium to the table, essential for building muscle and keeping those bones strong. So, whether you’re craving the creaminess of brie or the boldness of aged cheddar, cheese has got you covered.

From melting over a gooey lasagna to sprinkling on a crisp salad, cheese adds that extra oomph to any dish. Even pancakes! BUT, remember, moderation is key. While cheese is a tasty treat, it’s also high in saturated fat and sodium. So, enjoy it as part of a balanced diet to get the most out of its goodness.

Whether you’re indulging in a cheese platter with friends or topping off your favorite pasta dish, cheese is here to support your weight gain goals in the tastiest way possible.

9. Whole Milk Yogurts

Ah, Greek yogurt – my MVP snack for all occasions. Its creamy texture and robust nutritional profile make it an absolute winner.

In just half a cup of whole milk yogurt, you’re looking at 165 calories and a solid 15 grams of protein. Talk about packing a punch! When you’re on the hunt for yogurt, opt for the unsweetened kinds to dodge those hidden sugars. But if you’re looking to level up, Greek yogurt is the real deal. Packed with extra protein, it’s a game-changer for muscle building and bulking up in all the best ways.

But here’s where the fun really begins—imagine all the flavor combos and toppings you can pile on!

Here’s a taste of what you can whip up:

  1. Yogurt and fruit: Mix your favorite yogurt flavor with fresh berries, sliced bananas, or mango chunks for a quick snack.
  2. Yogurt parfait: Layer that creamy yogurt with crunchy granola, nuts, and seeds in a glass for a delicious parfait. Drizzle on some honey or maple syrup for that extra oomph of calories and sweetness.
  3. Greek yogurt smoothie: Blend Greek yogurt with a fruity medley like strawberries, blueberries, or peaches, throw in some leafy greens for added goodness, and finish it off with a dollop of almond butter or chia seeds for that extra protein kick.
  4. Yogurt bark: Spread the yogurt onto a baking sheet, sprinkle on some chopped nuts, dried fruits, and dark chocolate chips, then pop it in the freezer until firm. Break it into chunks for a treat that’s both crunchy and indulgent.
  5. Yogurt dip: Mix plain yogurt with garlic, dill, lemon juice, or your favorite herbs and spices for a tangy dip that pairs perfectly with veggies, pita chips, or whole grain crackers.

These yogurt-based snacks aren’t just delicious – they’re also loaded with essential nutrients and probiotics to keep you feeling your best.

  1. Avocados

10. Avocados

These green wonders are about to become your new best friend on your weight gain journey. They’re tasty and jam-packed with all the good stuff your body needs to bulk up and feel fantastic.

Avocados are the kings of calories, boasting around 240 calories in just one medium-sized fruit. But it’s not just about the calories; they’re also loaded with healthy fats, like those trusty monounsaturated fats that keep you feeling full and satisfied.

But wait, there’s more! Avocados are bursting with essential vitamins and minerals like potassium, vitamin K, folate, and vitamin E, all of which help support your overall health.

Enjoy your avocados smashed on toast, tossed in salads, layered in sandwiches, wrapped in tortillas, blended into smoothies, or even swapped in for butter or mayo in your favorite recipes.

So, how can you get your avocado fix? Here are a few tasty ideas to get you started:

  1. Avocado toast: Mash up some avocado and slather it on top of whole grain toast, then sprinkle with sliced tomatoes and a dash of salt for an epic breakfast or snack.
  2. Avocado smoothie: Blend up avocado with banana, spinach, Greek yogurt, and milk for a creamy and nutritious post-workout refuel.
  3. Stuffed avocados: Hollow out avocado halves and fill them up with protein-packed ingredients like tuna or quinoa for a satisfying and filling meal.
  4. Guacamole: Whip up a batch of homemade guac by mixing mashed avocado with diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, lime juice, and a pinch of salt. Dip in some crunchy veggies or whole grain chips for a snack that’s as tasty as it is healthy.

Go ahead, embrace the avocado, and get ready to crush those goals like a champ!

  1. Olive Oil & Coconut Oil

11. Olive Oil & Coconut Oil

Let’s talk about two oils that can seriously boost your weight gain journey: olive oil and coconut oil. They’re loaded with good stuff like healthy fats and antioxidants that support heart health and metabolism. Plus, they’re way better than vegetable oil, offering extra nutrients your body craves.

Olive Oil

  • Cooking: Use it for sautéing, roasting, or grilling veggies, meats, or fish.
  • Salad Dressings: Mix it with vinegar or lemon juice and herbs for a zesty dressing.
  • Dipping Oil: Dip bread in a mix of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and herbs for a tasty snack.

Coconut Oil

  • Cooking: Stir-fry, bake, or roast with it for a tropical twist.
  • Smoothies: Add a spoonful to your morning smoothie for a creamy texture.
  • Baking: Use it in place of other oils for healthier baked goods.

Try these olive oil cookies to get you started. These oils are great for making tasty meals and reaching your weight gain goals. Trust me, your taste buds and gains will thank you! 

12. Starchy Veggies & Complex Carbs

When it comes to packing on those pounds in a healthy way, you’ve gotta turn to the heavy hitters: complex carbs and starchy veggies. These bad boys will fuel your workouts and keep your energy levels steady throughout the day.

Here’s my lineup of top-notch complex carbs and starchy veggies that’ll help you bulk up like a boss:

  1. Sweet Potatoes
  2. Potatoes
  3. Squash (butternut squash, acorn squash)
  4. Corn
  5. Peas
  6. Plantains
  7. Pumpkin
  8. Beets
  9. Carrots
  10. Parsnips
  11. Whole Grains (oats, brown rice, quinoa, barley)

I use these foods in most of my Fit Men Cook recipes. These complex carbs and starchy veggies are key to fueling your body for success on your weight gain journey. 

13. Dark Chocolate

Loaded with antioxidants and good fats, dark chocolate offers more than just great taste.

Adding it to your diet is easy-peasy with a few of my favorite recipes. Snack on a few squares, toss it into smoothies, sprinkle it over oatmeal, or mix it into homemade energy bars. Just make sure to pick dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 70% or higher to get the most benefits.

So go ahead, enjoy some dark chocolate guilt-free! It’ll help you reach your weight gain goals while satisfying your sweet cravings.

14. Dried Fruit

Here’s a snack that’s going to sweeten up your journey to gains: dried fruits! These little guys may be small, but they’re packed with a powerful punch. 

Here’s why you’ll love them:

  1. Lots of Calories: Dried fruits are small but mighty, offering a high calorie count in each bite to help you reach your daily goals.
  2. Packed with Goodness: Despite their size, they’re loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber for overall health.
  3. Easy Snacking: They’re convenient and portable, perfect for munching on when you’re on the move.
  4. Versatile: Enjoy them as a snack or add them to meals like oatmeal, yogurt, or salads for extra flavor.

Think raisins, apricots, dates, figs, prunes, and cranberries – these are your go-to pals for fueling your journey to a stronger, fitter you. So grab a handful and get ready to sweeten up your gains with recipes like Breakfast Quinoa with Dried Fruit!

FAQ: Best Foods to Gain Weight

foods to eat to gain weight

1. How many pounds should I gain in a week?

Aim for a steady climb of about 1 to 2 pounds per week. It’s a sweet spot for sustainable progress on your weight gain journey.

2. Why can’t I put on weight?

Hey, it happens! Sometimes, genetics, a speedy metabolism, or even lifestyle factors like stress can throw a wrench in the weight gain game. I’d suggest you chat with a pro to figure out your unique path to packing on those pounds.

3. Which fruit is best for weight gain?

Ah, the fruit dilemma! Opt for the heavyweights like bananas, avocados, mangoes, and dried fruits like dates and raisins. They’re jam-packed with the good stuff to help you bulk up.

4. What foods are best for gaining weight?

Load up on the power players: whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats (avocados and nuts are my faves), dairy, starchy veggies, and legumes. They’re the MVPs of healthy weight gain. Check out the list above for my top recommendations!

5. Is there a blood test to see which foods make you gain weight?

Wouldn’t that be neat? As of now, there’s no magic blood test, but pros can run some checks to get insights into your metabolism and nutrient needs.

6. How to gain weight for men?

Fellas, let’s beef up those meals with a calorie boost from nutrient-packed foods. Pump up the protein, hit the weights, and let’s build that muscle! Check out the list above for some of the top foods for gains.

7. How to gain weight for women?

Ladies, it’s all about nourishing your body with the good stuff. Add in those healthy fats and proteins, mix in some resistance training, and watch those gains stack up! Check out the list above for the best foods to gain weight.

8. How to gain weight in a week with high-calorie foods?

Looking to pack on pounds quickly? The fastest way to gain weight is by increasing your calorie intake with high-calorie foods and focusing on strength training exercises to build muscle mass. If you want to know how to gain weight quickly, prioritize calorie-dense foods, such as nuts, nut butter, whole milk, and lean meats. Combine this with regular strength training sessions to see the best results in gaining weight fast.

For more info on how to gain weight fast: 

Here are my top tips to pack on those pounds and build some serious muscle: The Best Meal Prep for Bulking, Meal Prep Muscle Building, and How to Meal Prep for Gaining Weight.


Hey, I'm Kevin

My name is Kevin. My life changed when I realized that healthy living is a lifelong journey, mainly won by having a well-balanced diet and maintaining an active lifestyle.

By experimenting in the kitchen and sharing my meals on Tumblr, I learned healthy eating is not boring! By making a few adjustments to my favorite foods, I could design a diet that could help me achieve my wellness goals while satisfying my desire for BANGIN food! 😅 Now I try to help people around the world realize that same level of freedom in eating regardless of budget. Welcome, let's #DemocratizeWellness together!


Join The Fit Cook Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and get latest updates right in your inbox.