People who need to gain weight can often do this by increasing their intake of foods rich in whole carbohydrates, healthy fats, and protein. Examples include whole grains, dried fruit, potatoes, avocados, oily fish, eggs, and dairy products.
Read on to learn which foods can help a person gain weight safely.
Carbohydrates, or carbs, are a nutrient that the body uses for energy. People often use the term “carbs” to refer to foods that mainly consist of carbohydrates. However, these foods may contain other nutrients, too.
Rice is high in carbohydrates. For example, brown rice provides 76.2 grams (g) of Trusted Source in a 100-g serving. This type of rice is higher in protein than some other types of rice. A 100-gram portion also contains 357 calories.
White rice has a lower protein content, but a person can serve it with other foods, such as meat or beans, to get more protein and calories.
Whole-grain bread contains complex carbohydrates and is higher in protein than white bread.
People can increase the caloric value of bread by topping it with a protein-rich food, such as nut butter or avocado. They can also prepare sandwiches containing nutrient-dense ingredients.
Whole-grain cereals include foods such as oats, wheat, barley, and rice. People can buy these whole grains individually and mix them at home to serve with milk or yogurt. Alternatively, they can buy premixed cereals or cereal bars.
Manufacturers may add extra vitamins and minerals to these cereals, but some also contain significant amounts of added sugar. For this reason, it is important to always read the label.
Dried fruits contain fructose, which is a sugar in fruit. They are useful as a natural sweetener and as a way of increasing the calorie content of meals.
For example, people can sweeten cereals or oatmeal with dates, add dried apricots to yogurt, or blend dried fruits in a smoothie. Some dried fruits also work well in salads and certain cooked meals, such as tagines.
Chocolate comes from cocoa beans, which are high in carbohydrates. Compared with milk chocolate, dark chocolate usually contains less sugar and a higher cocoa content. This means that it has more of the antioxidants of the cocoa bean.
Adequate protein intake is important for everyone, as it helps with muscle growth and maintenance. Some good sources include:
Salmon is a source of both protein and healthy fats, including omega-3 fatty acids, which help support brain and eye health.
Eggs are high in protein and healthy fat. They are also rich in choline, a nutrient that is vital for brain health and plays an important role in fetal development.
Protein shakes can be a convenient way to increase your protein intake without eating more whole foods. They can also be useful for people who are vegetarians or vegans and for those who need to gain weight but do not have a large appetite.