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Weight gain diet: all you need to know

Usually it is thought that gaining weight is always easy, however, for many people it’s a goal that’s hard to achieve. There are several ways to gain weight, so we’ll introduce a weight-gaining diet to you, and some of the best weight-gaining foods that you can include in your diet. Once you know what to eat, it will be easier to gain weight.

How to gain weight in a healthy way?

How to know if you are underweight?

Gaining weight can’t be seen as something necessarily bad. Do you know why?

Before you begin to think about gaining weight, you have to find out if you are below the weight that is considered ideal and healthy for you. The easiest way to figure this out is by calculating your body mass index (BMI), it’s as easy as the calculation below:

Dividing your weight by height squared will show you what your BMI is

So, just divide your weight (in kg) by your height (in meters, squared). If the result of the calculation is below 18.5, it means that it’s under ideal weight, if it is above 24.9, it’s a sign of being overweight.

The following chart will help you to understand the values better:

BMI reference values help you to find out if your weight is right

Disadvantages of BMI calculation

This method is limited and is not 100% reliable because it does not consider muscle mass, that’s why:

  • You may be below your ideal weight but have a large percentage of fat (unhealthy).
  • You can be above and have a large percentage of muscle mass (healthy).

Although this method is used as a reference, take it’s limitations into account, we advise to consult a specialist to evaluate you!

Why should you gain weight in a healthy way?

There are different ways to gain weight in a healthy way.

  1. Exercise (find out what the are best exercises for weight gain in our latest blog post)
  2. Planning a diet to gain weight
  3. Using some supplements to complement your nutrition.

One trick to speed up this process is to combine the three options: exercise, supplements and nutrition!

Food is the secret, because if you are not properly nourished, all the effort you put into training will be wasted and the effects of supplements will be minimized.

If you are below ideal weight, you should be concerned about the risks this may have for your health, such as weakening your immune system, lack of essential nutrients, bone problems, among others.

What to eat to gain weight?

To set a diet to gain weight in a balanced way it’s important that you know what to eat!

If you want to get big, you’ll probably have to increase your calorie intake. The ideal amount of calories you should eat per day depends on several factors such as: weight, height, age, sex, level of physical activity, etc. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations has defined 1800 calories as the minimum number of calories for a person to ingest per day, so if you want to gain weight, you have to add more calories to your diet.

Some foods are better than others if you want to gain weight in a healthy way

Top foods for gaining weight

Gaining weight doesn’t mean that you are free to eat whatever you want. The challenge is to have a diet to gain weight in a balanced way, choosing the best proteins, the best carbohydrates and the best fats.

  • Proteins play an important role in muscle building and development, they will allow to increase your muscle mass and thus your weight.
  • Carbohydrates are a source of energy and if you consume them with proteins they will also help you to recover and build muscles.
  • Fats, as well as being a good source of energy, help in the transportation and absorption of vitamins and regulate the body temperature.

Below we present some examples of weight-gaining foods that will help you to gain weight in a healthy way.


-Extra virgin olive oil
-Avocado oil
-Coconut oil
-Peanut oil

Always choose the healthiest options, such as mono-unsaturated fats (virgin olive oil, avocado or peanut oils). If you choose to get saturated fats choose coconut oil.

Seeds -Sunflower seeds
-Flax seeds
-Pumpkin seeds
-Chia seeds 
In addition to essential nutrients for our body, they contain antioxidants and are rich in fibers and fatty acids.
Nuts and dried fruits -Nuts
They are rich in carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats, like omega 3 fatty acids, and in calories.


They are rich in proteins, vitamins and amino acids.
Cereals -Oatmeal
-Cereal bars
Rich in carbohydrates, healthy nutrients and calories.
Milk and yogurts – Skimmed milk
– Natural or flavored yogurts
Are sources of protein, carbohydrates and fat.
Bread -Whole grain bread (preferably) It has more fat and protein than white bread but also has fewer carbohydrates and calories.
Cheese A source of fat, rich in protein.
Meat and fish -Red meat
-Fatty fish
Meat, although rich in protein, also has cholesterol, so it should be consumed in moderation. Salmon and tuna for example, are fish rich in healthy fats (omega 3) and nutrients needed to keep you healthy.
Pasta, potatoes and rice They are sources of energy because they are carbohydrates.

These are some examples of foods you can add to your diet to gain weight in a healthy way.

Don’t forget! Eat regularly, don’t go for more than two or three hours without eating.

Diet options for gaining weight


  • Oatmeal with nuts and natural fruit (mango or banana for example) and a bit of peanut butter to give that special touch!
  • Whole-grain bread with natural avocado, scrambled eggs, a natural yogurt with seeds and a coffee – it’s a good pre-workout breakfast.


  • Yogurt with seeds and dried fruits (or fresh fruit, in the summer it will cool you down).
  • Cereal bars containing nuts and dried fruits and a natural yogurt with seeds.


  • Salmon in the oven with garlic, onion and tomato accompanied with rice.
  • Grilled chicken with vegetables and pasta. Add some cheese to your pasta, it will make this dish more tasty!


  • Sweet potato chips in the oven with spices, grilled steak and sautéed vegetables – ideal for a post-workout meal.
  • Boiled egg with natural tuna and rice accompanied with a tomato salad.
Eggs are a good option for lighter or more complete meals

As you can see, there are many options for a healthy diet! If you are thinking of changing your habits and increasing your weight, don’t forget to consult a specialist.

Leave a comment with your secret recipe!


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The information included in this article concerns the authors opinion only.

About Mariana Saraiva

Mariana Saraiva
Mariana is an editor at Zumub Blog. She enjoys doing outdoor exercise and researching and sharing knowledge about fitness and nutrition. When she's not writing, she likes to travel and read about people and places.

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