7 Practices to Gain Weight Healthily

By Nicole German (RD, LD)

gaining weightAt first, you may think this is a crazy idea. Who would want to gain weight?

The answer: roughly, 2% of the American population, and 15% of the worldwide population.

Athletes, like those Olympic athletes, may also seek to gain weight for enhanced performance.

The key to gaining weight is that you must do it healthily. You can not simply do the opposite of what is considered a healthy diet.

The body will suffer that way. And, you can not be expected to eat massive quantities of food.

7 Rules to Gain Weight

  1. Do not skip breakfast. Even though this may slow the metabolism, breakfast is still the key to starting the day with plenty of energy and focus.
    Instead, have a hearty breakfast of oats, plenty of nuts, and feel free to stir in real honey or maple syrup for sweetness. Or, try a vegetable omelet, and don’t hold back on the cheese. Have a side of whole grain toast. A whole grain bagel is a great way to add carbohydrates quickly.
  2. Snack often. You should not mindlessly snack, but instead, purposefully snack. We do not want to create bad habits while gaining weight.
    Frequent snacks will help to sneak in extra calories. Try Lara Bars, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, natural nut butters with fruit or celery, all natural energy bars, cheese, whole grain crackers, trail mix, and creamier yogurts (or try coconut yogurts).
  3. Add extra healthy fats. Fats are the most calorie-dense food group. Try more avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, flaxseed oil, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish (salmon).
  4. Drink your calories. We want to do this in a healthy way. No soda, or fruity drinks allowed here. Try real fruit smoothies and 100% real juices (or freshly juiced!) as well as protein shakes.
  5. Enjoy dessert. It is still important not to have an excessive sugar intake. But, a bowl of ice cream, milkshake, or a few cookies will certainly help add a few pounds. And you get to enjoy it, too!
  6. Weight Training. Even light weight training stimulates muscle tissue and causes growth. It also stimulates the bones to absorb more calcium to make them stronger. This can especially be the best way for skinny men to gain weight.
  7. Protein. Along with weight training, make sure you are consuming enough protein in your diet, so that your muscles will have the raw materials needed for growth. Lean meats, nuts, legumes, quinoa, and other grains are good sources.

Remember, underweight can be just as unhealthy as overweight and gaining weight should still be approached in the healthiest way possible.

Have you ever had to gain weight? 


  1. Sana

    Thanks a lot for this post. I’ve took a note of all these points.

  2. Alison

    Yes, healthy eating for gaining weight is a great feeling. You don’t look like a blob.

  3. Daniel Smith

    Great Information. Helped me a lot. I also used some Body Building supplements along with this and my weight gained by 10 kg in one month. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Gustavo Woltmann

    I eat a lot but I never gain weight. Thank you for sharing tips to gain weight.

    -gustavo woltmann

  5. AlI

    It’s always great to see the weight gain blogs.
    I gained a happy amount of 20 lbs in 2 months super ecstatic.
    I used appetite stimulant it made me eat like no mans business. lol, I did keep it healthy so I’m looking great.

  6. kemar Smith

    Its really hard to gain weight when your skinny, however your advice and you steps are very helpful, thank you very much for the information that you have provided. I will follow these step and hopefully gain some weight 🙂

  7. Sarah

    Its really a great tips to gain weight. Thanks for sharing your information with us. I also want to gain weight and your tips might be helpful for me. I eat lot of things like chicken and other fatty foods to gain weight. But my weight is still 120 lbs. Does any diet pills help to gain weight?

  8. Sue

    I’ve helped a number of people successfully gain weight in a healthy way while reducing their inflammation levels and simultaneously greatly improving their lipid profiles. This is accomplished by eating a minimum of 3 meals and 2 snacks a day which all contain sufficient amounts of lean protein (at least enough to maintain current muscle mass) complemented with a plentiful amount of non-starchy vegetables and fruit, and a moderate amount of healthy monounsaturated fats such as avocado, almonds, macadamia nuts and olive oil. If it sounds familiar to some of the readers here, this is basically the Zone diet.

  9. Heather

    Hi! I am a recovered eating disorder survivor and at my lowest weight of 78 pounds, at age 26, I realized I had to make a change. I feel so great to say I have since then gained 30 pounds and done it in a healthy way. It took me 7 months to gain the weight and 6 to remain at my same weight, without me fearing losing it again, or gaining more. I did this by a very slow progress of adding in nut-based snacks ( raw, unsalted), and adding in dried fruit ( no sugar added), as suggested above. I added an avocado to my nightly meal and added in gluten-free soaked oats to my morning meal. I drink a green smoothie with greens, fruit and vegan protein powder in the morning and have soaked oats with fresh fruit. I added starchy fruits like bananas back to my diet as well and sweet potatoes at dinner time. At first I could gain no weight but then, it slowly started coming on. I even eat a whole bar of 88% dark chocolate every day and haven’t gained any more weight, but this also helps keep my weight on. It has been so hard, but I finally feel free and love the foods I’m eating:)
    I have a website dedicated to my journey at http://www.soulfulspoon.com. I welcome anyone to visit!:)

    • Jim

      Thanks for sharing your story. How do you keep yourself from becoming obsessed with food and diets?

  10. Dan

    I don’t see how anyone can read what Spectra said about running and still claim that exercise does not make anyone thin. I guess from all the exercising I do, which is bicycling at least 17 miles absolutely everyday of the year, I got fairly thin. I am now 6 foot and 159. But to prevent me from becoming too thin, I started to eat nuts. I now eat 4 ounces each day of nuts and seeds and two tablespoons of Peanut Butter. Starting to eat nuts stopped me from losing any more weight, although they didn’t make me gain any weight. However, lately I have creeped down in my weight a bit. I think another thing that can certainly add weight is going out to eat- possibly more than nuts. Even at the relatively healthy salad bar restaurants I go to, one can consume a lot of calories from the breads and muffins that they have. My weight usually temporarily spikes a bit after going out to eat, but usually within 4 days, it goes down again. If I skip a week of going out to eat, my weight goes down under what it normally is. I don’t want to decrease my exercise, because I rather enjoy being able to eat as much as I do and remain thin.

    • Jim

      I know of a number of people that, due to the levels of exercise and body condition they will start losing weight automatically unless they are focused on eating enough. I have been in this situation and was surprised at how much I had to eat in order to gain.

  11. Bob

    So many people are focused on losing weight but failed to realized that gaining weight is quite important too. Great list.

  12. Spectra

    Actually, yes, I have had to gain weight. When I was running a lot–12 miles most days a week–I got down to 96 lbs and at 5’3″, that was too thin. I lost my period for a while, so I cut down on some of my cardio and added strength training instead. I also increased my protein intake and started adding more healthy fats to my diet. I gained about 7 lbs and went up maybe a clothing size, but I was much healthier. I don’t know if I agree 100% with drinking one’s calories, though. That could lead to sneaking in too many calories inadvertently if you aren’t careful, but if you love protein smoothies, they could be a good thing to use to get extra protein in your diet.