For some people, gaining weight or adding muscle can be precisely adenine unmanageable as losing weight unit is for others. however, plainly adding certain foods to your diet can make your weight unit gain efforts both goodly and more effective. here are 18 of the best foods to help you gain weight or add muscle, the healthy way.
1. Homemade protein smoothies
Drinking homemade protein smoothies can be a highly alimentary and quick means to gain slant. Making your own smoothies is the best way since commercial versions are frequently full of sugar and lack nutrients. It besides gives you full operate over the relish and food content. here are barely a few tasty variations you can try. You can combine each with 2 cups ( 470 milliliter ) of dairy milk or soy sauce milk if you have lactose intolerance. Both have more nutrients and calories than other alternate milks .
- Chocolate banana nut shake: Combine 1 banana, 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein, and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of peanut or another nut butter.
- Vanilla berry shake: Combine 1 cup (237 mL) of fresh or frozen mixed berries, ice, 1 cup (237 mL) of high protein, full fat Greek yogurt, and 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein.
- Chocolate hazelnut shake: Combine 15 ounces (444 mL) of chocolate milk with 1 scoop of chocolate whey protein, 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of hazelnut butter, and 1 avocado.
- Caramel apple shake: Combine 1 sliced apple, 1 cup (237 mL) of full fat Greek yogurt, 1 scoop of caramel- or vanilla-flavored whey protein, and 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of sugar-free caramel sauce or flavoring.
- Vanilla blueberry shake: Combine 1 cup (237 mL) of fresh or frozen blueberries, 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein, 1 cup (237 mL) of vanilla Greek yogurt, and sweetener if needed.
- Super green shake: Combine 1 cup (237 mL) of spinach, 1 avocado, 1 banana, 1 cup (237 mL) of pineapple, and 1 scoop of unflavored or vanilla whey protein.
All of these smoothies provide around 400–600 calories, along with a eminent amount of protein and early important vitamins and minerals .
Summary There are many delectable protein smoothie recipes. Avoid most commercial versions, which may contain add sugar and aren ’ metric ton as alimentary .
milk has been used as a weight gainer or muscle builder for decades ( 1 ). It provides a good balance of proteins, carbs, and fats and is a good source of calcium, equally well as early vitamins and minerals ( 2 ). For those trying to add more brawn, milk is an excellent protein source that provides both casein paint and whey proteins. Research has even shown it can help you add muscle when combined with weight-lift ( 3 ). additionally, studies have found that milk, or whey and casein paint combined, can lead to greater mass gain than other protein sources ( 4 ). Try drinking one or two glasses of unharmed milk ( 149 calories per cup ) as a bite, with a meal, or before and after a exercise if you ’ ra prepare ( 5 ). milk smoothies are besides a delicious room to add milk to your diet. For an slowly dawn protein boost, try blending up 1 cup of freeze berries, 1 cup of hale milk, 2 teaspoons of honey, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla ( about 275 calories ) .
Summary Drinking milk is a bang-up manner to add protein to your diet. It contains both casein and whey proteins .
Rice is a convenient, low cost carb reference to help you gain system of weights. good 1 cup ( 158 grams ) of cooked white rice provides 204 calories, 44 grams of carbs, and very little fatness ( 6 ). rice is besides fairly calorie-dense, meaning you can easily obtain a high come of carbs and calories from a individual serve. This helps you eat more food, particularly if you have a poor appetite or get full promptly. When you ’ re on the go or in a rush, 2-minute packs of microwavable rice can be easily added to early protein sources and premade meals. Another democratic method acting is to prepare a large pot of rice, refrigerate it or freeze individual portions, and then combine it with different proteins and healthy fats for varied meals throughout the workweek. There are many ways to turn relatively politic rice into a sample extravaganza. The easiest way to add taste, calories, and a protein promote is to just stir in some of these ingredients after you have cooked your rice :
- butter and Parmesan cheese
- broccoli and cheese
- scrambled eggs
- toasted sesame seeds, peanuts, or cashews
Another way to boost smack and calories is to top your rice with a sauce like curry, pesto, or alfredo. You can buy these sauces ready-made if you ’ re pressed for fourth dimension. A rice dish can easily become a unharmed meal. Try this angry rice and chicken boodle for a goodly lunch ( 400 calories per serving ). You can besides stir up your own goodly film on the chinese takeout darling, fry rice, with this vegetable-tofu “ fried ” rice dish — which is actually baked .
Summary Rice is a great source of carbs that are easy to consume and digest .
4. Nuts and nut butters
Nuts and crackpot butters are perfect choices if you ’ re looking to gain weight. precisely one little handful of bare-assed almonds ( 1/4 cup ) contains 170 calories, 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of roughage, and 15 grams of healthy fats ( 7 ). Since nuts are very calorie-dense, equitable two handfuls per day with a meal or as a bite can quickly add hundreds of calories. You can add nut butters to a kind of snacks or dishes, such as smoothies, yogurts, and crackers, to turn them into a high calorie bite in no time. For a immediate bracer, try this insignificant butter banana smoothie, with only three ingredients ( 270 calories, using whole milk ). If you have a peanut allergy, alternate another testis butter. however, make sure you pick 100 percentage nut butters with no lend sugar or supernumerary oils. Or better however, make your own from this homemade almond butter recipe. It ’ s easy to make and easy on your wallet, besides .
Summary Nuts and nut butters are delectable, high calorie treats. They ’ rhenium great for you and easy to add to many different snacks or recipes .
5. Red meats
loss meats are probably one of the best muscle-building foods available. For example, 6 ounces ( 170 grams ) of steak contains around 5 grams of leucine. Leucine is the key amino acid your body needs to stimulate muscleman protein synthesis and add new muscle tissue ( 8, 9 ). It besides contains 456 calories and closely 49 grams of protein. In addition to this, loss meats are one of the best natural sources of dietary creatine, which is possibly the world ’ randomness best muscle-building append ( 10 ). Consider choosing fattier cuts, which provide more calories than leaner meats, helping you take in supernumerary calories and add weight. In one cogitation, 100 older women added 6 ounces ( 170 grams ) of loss kernel to their diets and performed electric resistance training 6 days a workweek for 6 weeks. The women gained tend aggregate, had an 18 percentage increase in military capability, and had an increase in the crucial muscle-building hormone IGF-1 ( 11 ). Both tilt and fatty meats are a great source of protein, though fatty kernel provides more calories, which can help you gain weight. One of the best-known fatty gripe dishes is brisket. Brisket is known for being time-consuming to prepare, but it can be much easier if you own a behind cooker. Start this brisket recipe in the dawn and you ’ ll have a alimentary dinner waiting for you in the evening — approximately 300 calories per 3-ounce ( 85 grams ) serve .
Summary red kernel is an excellent source of protein that will help you gain muscle. It contains leucine, an amino acerb that helps stimulate muscle protein synthesis. The fattier the kernel, the more calories you ’ ll bring in .
6. Potatoes and starches
Potatoes and other starchy foods are a identical easy and cost-efficient way to add in extra calories. Try to choose one of these healthy sources of starchy carbs :
- potatoes and sweet potatoes
- winter root vegetables
- beans and legumes
not alone do potatoes and other starches add carbs and calories to help you gain weight — they besides increase your muscle glycogen stores. glycogen is the prevailing fuel informant for most sports and activities ( 12 ). many of these carb sources besides provide important nutrients and fiber, deoxyadenosine monophosphate well as tolerant starch, which can help nourish your intestine bacteria ( 13 ). With sweetness potatoes, you can try out one of the stream Instagram trends : sweet potato crispen. Prep takes only minutes. Start by washing, drying, and thinly slicing a medium-sized dulcet potato, then toast it to your liking either in a toaster or a toaster oven. then you add your favorite toppings. For exemplar, slather it with mashed avocado and circus tent with a electrocute egg ( 300 calories per serving ). You ’ ve got yourself a perfect breakfast or post-workout nosh. Quinoa is actually a source that ’ south organize and eaten like a texture. It can be cooked and eaten on its own, added to soups, or made into flour and used in bread, drinks, or porridge. Quinoa is ranking to many other grains in that it ’ s a accomplished protein, meaning it contains all nine amino acids that our bodies can not make on their own. It ’ mho besides high in protein, minerals, and B vitamins. Get a healthy acid of both odoriferous potatoes and quinoa in this hearty lunch recipe for quinoa and roasted odoriferous potato bowl ( 336 calories per serving ). other ways to add calories to building complex carbs include :
- adding sour cream to potatoes
- adding grated cheese to quinoa or mashed potatoes
- adding healthy fats like olive or avocado oil to roast your vegetables
- adding sliced olives as a topping
- adding hummus to whole grain bread or crackers
- using dairy or soy milk instead of water in your oatmeal or other hot grains
Summary healthy starches are a great way to get crucial nutrients and fiber, boost your calorie intake, and increase your muscle glycogen stores .
7. Salmon and oily fish
Like bolshevik kernel, salmon and greasy pisces are excellent sources of protein and authoritative healthy fats. Out of all the nutrients that salmon and buttery pisces provide, omega-3 fatty acid fatty acids are among the most significant and well known. They offer numerous benefits for your health and help fight diseases ( 14 ). just one 6-ounce ( 170-gram ) fillet of bone angry sockeye salmon provides around 250 calories and 12 grams of healthy fats. The same serve packs 37 grams of high quality protein, helping you build muscleman or acquire weight ( 15 ). You can prepare salmon in a variety show of ways : steamed, sautéed, smoked, grilled, baked, or poached. You can besides try smoke salmon or even eat raw salmon in sushi and sashimi. Fresh or freeze salmon much has a slightly higher price rag, but canned salmon is a quick and cheap option. Almost all canned salmon is violent rather than farmed, giving it top marks for nutriment. Consider these commodious, healthy ways of adding salmon to your diet :
- Try giving your usual “tuna” salad a new spin, using canned salmon instead.
- Make a Cobb salad substituting canned salmon for the traditional chicken, then add bacon, hard-boiled egg, avocado, lettuce, and tomatoes.
- Give smoked salmon a try. Slather cream cheese on whole grain bread or crackers, add smoked salmon, and top with cucumber, tomato slices, or capers.
- Make a salmon salad with leafy greens, asparagus, and some full fat plain Greek yogurt, mayonnaise, or sour cream.
Summary Salmon and other greasy pisces are a bang-up reference of fabulously healthy omega-3 fatty acid fats. They besides provide high quality protein to help you build muscle .
8. Protein supplements
Taking protein supplements is a common strategy for athletes and bodybuilders who want to gain weight. There are many types available, including whey, soy sauce, egg, and pea protein. Whey protein supplements and mass gainers ( supplements that can help you gain brawn mass ) can be identical easy and cost-efficient strategies to gain weight, specially when combined with strength train ( 16 ). Some people think whey protein is unhealthy or unnatural, but this international relations and security network ’ t the subject. Whey protein is made from dairy and has been shown to help improve health markers and reduce the risk of disease ( 17 ). Protein supplements may be even more authoritative if you ’ re besides training since your daily protein requirements increase. Like meats and other animal products, whey protein contains all the all-important amino acids required to stimulate muscle growth ( 18 ). You can use it before or after your exercise and at any other point during the day. The easiest way to add protein powderize into your diet is with a protein smoothie, specially for breakfast. That gives you the lie of the day to add in alimentary meals and snacks to make indisputable you get a balance alimentary inhalation. by and large, a smoothie that you make yourself will be more alimentary than buying one that ’ sulfur cliched, which may have added sugar and flavorings. Try this basic whey shake recipe to start your day off with a high energy breakfast. For even more protein, try adding in peanut butter, almond butter, flaxseeds, or chia seeds. Unflavored whey protein can be added to dishes such as soups, mashed potatoes, and oatmeal to increase protein subject. Shop on-line for protein supplements.
Read more: Mochi Ice Cream
Summary Protein supplements are a elementary and low-cost addition to your diet to help you increase your protein intake .
9. Dried fruit
Dried fruit is a high calorie nosh that besides provides antioxidants and micronutrients ( 19 ). You can get many unlike types of dried fruit, and they all have a naturally high boodle capacity. This makes them great for gaining burden, specially since they ’ ra commodious to eat and taste capital. While many people think fruits lose most of their nutrients when dried, this international relations and security network ’ t the case. Dried fruits contain lots of roughage and most of their vitamins and minerals remain intact ( 20 ). Try combining some dried fruit with a protein source, such as cuts of meat, tall mallow, or a whey protein judder. They besides mix well with nuts and entire fat plain Greek yogurt, providing a blend of goodly fats, protein, and other samara nutrients. Dates are alimentary, full of fiber, and high in antioxidants. They ’ re besides versatile and bare to prepare as a high gear calorie bite. just two Medjool dates on their own put up about 130 calories ( 21 ). Try filling dates with testis butter, cream cheese, or even cooked grains like rice or quinoa. Add one or two dates to smoothies, sauces, and dressings for a refer of bouquet .
Summary Dried fruit is packed with calories, healthy fiber, and antioxidants. It ’ s an easy way to add nutrients and calories to your diet .
10. Whole grain bread
solid grain breads are another good carb source to help you gain weight. You can make some very elementary, high calorie, and well-adjusted meals by combining boodle with protein sources such as eggs, meat, and cheese. When purchasing bread, calculate for natural whole grain and seeded breads. Healthier versions, such as Ezekiel bread, are available in most grocery store stores. Sandwiches are one of the easiest, most versatile, and portable meals for helping you put on weight. Their ingredients are limited only by your imagination : meats, cheese, veggies, en butter spreads, avocado, and more. Try one of these sandwich recipes. You ’ ll find everything from the basic Reuben to healthy wraps to several imaginative takes on the dateless grilled cheese. Sourdough bread has become increasingly popular during the pandemic period and for dear reason. It ’ second one of the most alimentary and meet breads. During the pandemic, many are learning how to make sourdough starters. Sourdough bread has just three simple ingredients : flour, urine, and salt. One slice weighing 2 ounces ( 56 guanine ) will give you about 160 calories. The alive good bacteria in sourdough feeds bacteria in the gut, which can strengthen your immune system ( 22 ) .
Summary whole grain breads can be effective in gaining burden, particularly when combined with a beneficial protein informant .
Avocados are loaded with healthy fats. Unlike other wholly fruits, avocados are fairly calorie-dense and therefore a bang-up food to help you gain weight. barely one large avocado provides around 322 calories, 29 grams of fatty, and 14 grams of character ( 23 ). Avocados are besides high in vitamins, minerals, and respective beneficial implant compounds. Try adding avocado to your independent meals and other dishes such as omelets or sandwiches. One of the most popular and easiest ways of enjoying avocado is on avocado toast. Just grind up some avocado and spread it on your toast. It ’ south that easy ! other delectable ways to enjoy the versatile avocado include :
- as a topping
- as a mayonnaise substitute
Summary Avocados are full of healthy fats and nutrients. They ’ ra versatile and can be added to many different meals or eaten on their own .
12. Healthy cereals
healthy cereals can be an excellent informant of carbs, calories, and nutrients. While you should avoid processed, high carbohydrate cereals, healthier forms, such as oatmeal cooked with wholly milk, can be a capital carb source to add to your diet. You ’ ll get about 130 calories from a 1 cup serve of cook oatmeal, plus the calories in any whole milk or toppings you add ( 24 ). Consider topping your hot oats, overnight oats, or full fatty Greek yogurt with :
- dried fruit
- chia seeds
- fresh berries
- homemade granola
Grain-based cereals and oats besides contain beneficial nutrients such as fiber and healthy antioxidants ( 25 ). When purchasing cereals, focus on these healthy choices :
- Ezekiel brand
Make sure to read the pronounce and avoid cereals with surfeit added carbohydrate. Choose those with the most character when possible. Granola is a calorie-dense assortment of cereals, dried fruits, and nuts. It ’ south rich in protein, roughage, and micronutrients. Just one-half cup of granola can supply between 200–300 calories. You may want to try making your own granola to avoid the total sugars in some boughten versions .
Summary Eating cereal can be a great way to gain weight and consume more fiber. however, stick to healthier forms such as oatmeal .
13. Cereal bars
Some of the healthier cereal bars on the market can be a great high calorie bite when you ’ re on the go. Most browning automatic rifle average between 150–200 calories. They ’ re besides a good choice before or after a train session since they tend to contain a shuffle of slow- and fast-digesting carbs. As a nosh or meal on the run, try combining a cereal bar with other protein sources, such as full fat Greek yogurt, boiled eggs, cold cuts of kernel, or a protein shingle. While some cereal bars are goodly, many others have added sugar, oils, salt, and preservatives that are not as desirable. You may want to try making your own bars. It ’ s a lot easier than you might think. Try these recipes to make your own homemade cereal bars. Often, you ’ ll need only a few ingredients, and you might even have them in your pantry immediately. But if you ’ re not handy in the kitchen, it ’ s potential to find healthy boughten grain bars. fair be certain to stick to bars made from healthy whole grains and other goodly ingredients, such as dried fruits, nuts, or seeds .
Summary Stick to cereal bars that have wholly grains and early healthy ingredients, such as dried fruit and nuts .
14. Dark chocolate
eminent quality blue cocoa provides a long ton of antioxidants and health benefits. Dark chocolate with at least 70 percentage cacao ( the seed from which chocolate is made ) is said to help regulate stress hormones and blood sugar levels. It may besides help reduce the hazard of kernel disease, some cancers, excitement, stress, and type 2 diabetes. ( 26 ). Like early high fatty foods, dark chocolate has a very high calorie concentration, meaning it ’ s very easy to get many calories from it. Each 100-gram ( 3.5-ounce ) prevention with 60–75 percentage cacao solid has around 600 calories and is packed with micronutrients and health-promoting compounds, including fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants ( 27 ). There are many ways to enjoy dark chocolate in addition to eating it straight. Garnish your dawn cereal with it, put a few coil on peak of a fruit plate, or make some steaming-hot toast ( or sipping ) cocoa like the Parisians do. You can make healthy chocolate desserts, like energy bites, no-guilt chocolate truffles, or chocolate peanut butter avocado pudding. supermarket aisles are crowded with many types and qualities of black chocolate. Be sure to choose a high quality one with at least 70 percentage cacao. Check out this guide for adept buying tips .
Summary Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants and other nutrients, along with plenty of calories to help you gain weight .
cheese has been a staple food for centuries. Like colored cocoa, it ’ sulfur high in calories and fats. barely 1 ounce of cheddar cheese ( 28 grams ) has 110 calories and 7 grams of protein ( 28 ). One ounce is smaller than you might think. It ’ s about the size of a pair of cube. Since cheese is tasty, you can incorporate it into most dishes and easily add several hundred extra calories. cheese is available in countless varieties, from creamed, to soft, to hard. Check out this list of healthy cheeses to find out which ones suit your palate best. many cheeses are high in cholesterol and saturated fat. Like most high calorie foods, cheeses of all kinds are best consumed in temperance. One of the favored cheese dishes is macintosh and cheese. It goes down easily, even if you don ’ t have much of an appetite. Try this macintosh and cheese recipe for a healthy version of the perennial front-runner. Oh, and we can ’ t forget to mention the grill cheese sandwich. now and then, on whole grain bread or english muffins, who can resist our childhood darling ?
Summary tall mallow is a identical beneficial source of protein and rich people in healthy fats. Add it to meals if you need a calorie and flavor boost .
16. Whole eggs
Eggs are one of the healthiest muscle-building foods on the planet. They provide a great combination of high quality proteins and healthy fats. Each big raw egg weighing 2 ounces, with beat ( 50 grams ), has about 74 calories ( 29 ). It ’ mho besides very authoritative to eat the unharmed egg. In fact, about all of the beneficial nutrients in eggs are found in the egg yolk. adenine long as you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate have an intolerance to eggs, there ’ s no want to limit your egg pulmonary tuberculosis — you can easily eat three eggs per day if you want. In fact, many athletes or bodybuilders will eat six or more day by day. Eggs are very versatile and can be cooked in a number of ways, including boil, poaching, frying, baking, and scrambling. Use them in :
- baked egg muffins
- bread substitutes
- desserts like egg custard and créme brûlée (in moderation, of course)
Omelets are a favorite meal any time of day. You can add in meats, veggies, and tall mallow, then clear with false cream and avocado for a senior high school calorie extravaganza. Try these recipes for a great egg breakfast ( and we won ’ thymine tell if you have them for lunch or dinner ) .
Summary Eggs are one of the best foods for building muscle. There ’ second no limit to the numeral you should eat in a day, and they ’ ra full of nutrients .
17. Full fat yogurt
Full fat Greek yogurt is another healthy and convenient bite. It has a bang-up nutritional profile, including a well-balanced blend of protein, carbs, and fat. Each 6-ounce serve of plain, whole milk yogurt will give you 165 calories and 15 grams of protein, and that ’ s before you add all your delightful combos and toppings ( 30 ). There are numerous high calorie snacks and goodly weight-gain recipes based on yogurt. here are a few :
- Yogurt and fruit: Combine 1–2 cups of yogurt with fresh or dried fruit. You can also add nuts, seeds, honey, granola, dark chocolate, or coconut flakes.
- Chocolate peanut butter pudding: Mix 1–2 cups of yogurt with 100 percent cocoa powder, peanut or any nut butter, and a sweetener such as stevia, honey, or sugar. You can also add a scoop of whey for more protein.
- Yogurt parfait: Combine 1–2 cups of yogurt with granola and mixed berries in layers to create a tasty and well-balanced breakfast or healthy snack.
- Smoothies: Full fat Greek yogurt is an excellent addition to almost any smoothie to increase the protein content and give it a creamier, milkshake-like thickness.
Try whole milk Greek yogurt for even more calories, less carbohydrate, and about twice the protein of regular yogurt ( 31 ). greek yogurt is strained and has a thick consistency. This makes it great for toppings or as a delectable bite on its own. Choosing the best yogurt among the many selections at the grocery store store can be challenging. Read the label and avoid those with additives like sugar, thickeners, or preservatives. look for buying tips here .
Summary Full fatness Greek yogurt is another ingredient that can help you add healthy fats and protein to your diet. It ’ mho big on its own or as an ingredient that works in many dishes .
The bottom line
The secret behind gaining system of weights is systematically eating more calories than you ’ rhenium burning with action. Lifting weights is important excessively, so that the extra calories from foods and high gear calorie snacks can be used to build muscle rather of just adding fat. Incorporate the foods on this tilt into meals and meal plans that you enjoy and can stick with over the long term .