Overweight and obesity problems plague two-thirds of the American population, but there are also people who have exactly the opposite problem – they are much too thin.
Some people are underweight due to medical conditions or eating disorders, while others are just naturally thin.
If you are someone who needs to put on some extra pounds, your goal would be to increase your calorie intake every day by eating healthy foods to gain and build a more muscled physique.
Being underweight can be a problem but it doesn’t mean that you want to become fat and flabby. You need healthy foods and exercise to help you build strong muscles and a bigger body. Avoid foods that are high in saturated fats; they may make you gain weight quickly but are bad for your health. The following foods will help you gain weight and increase muscle mass while providing the calories, vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Healthy Foods to Help You Gain Weight
Pasta and Other Carbohydrate Sources – Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy and should provide up to 65% of your total caloric intake.
One cup of cooked pasta contains approximately 200 calories. Pasta topped with marinara sauce and shredded cheese is a great source of carbohydrates, protein, calcium and lycopene.
Other excellent sources of carbohydrates are bagels, potatoes, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, sweet potatoes and yams.
If you are trying to gain weight, you need plenty of carbohydrate-rich foods to supply your body with energy.
Provide your body with enough carbohydrates for energy, otherwise it will break down muscle tissue and use it for energy.
Dried Fruits – Raisins and dried berries, apricots, pineapple, cranberries and mango are packed with calories, vitamins and minerals. Dried fruits, without the water content, are more calorie-dense than fresh fruits. A half-cup of raisins has over 200 calories while a cup of fresh grapes has only about 60 calories. Snack on raisins and other dried fruits to help you gain weight more quickly.
Nuts and Seeds – Nuts and seeds are some of the healthiest foods to gain weight. Polyunsaturated fats in nuts and seeds provide healthy calories. Walnuts, almonds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and pecans offer a variety of flavors for a delicious, nutritious and calorie-dense snack.
Lean Meats and Other Protein Sources – Your body needs quality protein to build muscle mass. If you want to gain weight and maintain or add more muscles, you need high-protein foods such as lean meats, poultry, eggs, salmon, tuna, cottage cheese and tofu.
Avocado – Avocados are nutrient-dense and calorie-dense. A single avocado provides over 200 calories of nutrition. Avocados are rich in healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, B vitamins, and folic acid. Enjoy this wholesome fruit in sandwiches, salads and guacomole.
Healthy Fats and Oils – One of the quickest ways to boost your calorie intake is by adding extra fat to your food. Choose healthy fats and oils, and stay away from saturated fats. Olive oil, canola oil, flaxseed oil, and grape seed oil are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Drizzle some extra virgin olive oil on your pasta, salads, vegetables and other foods to gain weight in a healthy and natural way.