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For some people, gaining weight or adding muscle can be merely a unmanageable as losing weight is for others. however, merely adding certain foods to your diet can make your weight gain efforts both goodly and more effective. here are 18 of the best foods to help you gain burden or add muscle, the healthy way .
- 1 1. Homemade protein smoothies
- 2 2. Milk
- 3 3. Rice
- 4 4. Nuts and nut butters
- 5 5. Red meats
- 6 6. Potatoes and starches
- 7 7. Salmon and oily fish
- 8 8. Protein supplements
- 9 9. Dried fruit
- 10 10. Whole grain bread
- 11 11. Avocados
- 12 12. Healthy cereals
- 13 13. Cereal bars
- 14 14. Dark chocolate
- 15 15. Cheese
- 16 16. Whole eggs
- 17 17. Full fat yogurt
- 18 The bottom line
1. Homemade protein smoothies
Drinking homemade protein smoothies can be a highly alimentary and quick manner to gain system of weights. Making your own smoothies is the best way since commercial versions are frequently full of sugar and lack nutrients. It besides gives you full control over the flavor and nutrient capacity. here are equitable a few tasty variations you can try. You can combine each with 2 cups ( 470 milliliter ) of dairy milk or soy milk if you have lactose intolerance. Both have more nutrients and calories than other option 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 high amount of protein and other significant vitamins and minerals .
Summary There are many delicious protein smoothie recipes. Avoid most commercial versions, which may contain add carbohydrate and aren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate as alimentary .
milk has been used as a system of weights gainer or muscleman builder for decades ( 1 ). It provides a good balance of proteins, carbs, and fats and is a good generator of calcium, vitamin a well as other vitamins and minerals ( 2 ). For those trying to add more muscle, milk is an excellent protein source that provides both casein paint and whey proteins. Research has evening shown it can help you add muscle when combined with weightlift ( 3 ). additionally, studies have found that milk, or whey and casein paint combined, can lead to greater mass acquire than other protein sources ( 4 ). Try drinking one or two glasses of solid milk ( 149 calories per cup ) as a nosh, with a meal, or before and after a exercise if you ’ ra train ( 5 ). milk smoothies are besides a delightful way to add milk to your diet. For an easy good morning protein boost, try blending up 1 cup of freeze berries, 1 cup of hale milk, 2 teaspoons of beloved, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla ( about 275 calories ) .
Summary Drinking milk is a great way to add protein to your diet. It contains both casein and whey proteins .
Rice is a commodious, broken cost carb source to help you gain weight. just 1 cup ( 158 grams ) of cooked white rice provides 204 calories, 44 grams of carbs, and very fiddling fat ( 6 ). rice is besides reasonably calorie-dense, meaning you can easily obtain a high sum of carbs and calories from a individual serve. This helps you eat more food, specially if you have a poor appetite or get full quickly. When you ’ re on the go or in a rush, 2-minute packs of microwavable rice can be easily added to other protein sources and premade meals. Another democratic method 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 week. There are many ways to turn relatively bland rice into a taste extravaganza. The easiest way to add taste, calories, and a protein rise 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 taste and calories is to top your rice with a sauce like dress, pesto, or alfredo. You can buy these sauces ready-made if you ’ re pressed for time. A rice cup of tea can easily become a solid meal. Try this wild rice and chicken kale for a healthy lunch ( 400 calories per serving ). You can besides stir up your own healthy take on the taiwanese takeout favorite, fried rice, with this vegetable-tofu “ fried ” rice dish — which is actually baked .
Summary Rice is a capital reference of carbs that are easy to consume and digest .
4. Nuts and nut butters
Nuts and nut butters are perfective choices if you ’ re looking to gain weight. just one small handful of raw 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 identical calorie-dense, just two handfuls per day with a meal or as a nosh can promptly add hundreds of calories. You can add nut butters to a variety of snacks or dishes, such as smoothies, yogurts, and crackers, to turn them into a high calorie nosh in no meter. For a promptly bracer, try this peanut butter banana smoothie, with only three ingredients ( 270 calories, using solid milk ). If you have a peanut allergy, ersatz another nut butter. however, make indisputable you pick 100 percentage addict butters with no add boodle or extra oils. Or better so far, make your own from this homemade almond butter recipe. It ’ sulfur easy to make and easy on your wallet, besides .
Summary Nuts and nut butters are delightful, high calorie treats. They ’ re 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 case, 6 ounces ( 170 grams ) of steak contains around 5 grams of leucine. Leucine is the key amino acid your body needs to stimulate muscle protein synthesis and add fresh brawn weave ( 8, 9 ). It besides contains 456 calories and closely 49 grams of protein. In accession to this, red meats are one of the best lifelike sources of dietary creatine, which is possibly the world ’ s best muscle-building supplement ( 10 ). Consider choosing fattier cuts, which provide more calories than leaner meats, helping you take in extra calories and add system of weights. In one sketch, 100 older women added 6 ounces ( 170 grams ) of red meat to their diets and performed resistor education 6 days a workweek for 6 weeks. The women gained lean mass, had an 18 percentage increase in forte, and had an increase in the significant muscle-building hormone IGF-1 ( 11 ). Both lean and fatso meats are a great generator of protein, though fatty kernel provides more calories, which can help you gain weight. One of the best-known fatso beef dishes is brisket. Brisket is known for being time-consuming to prepare, but it can be much easier if you own a dull cooker. Start this brisket recipe in the morning and you ’ ll have a alimentary dinner waiting for you in the even — approximately 300 calories per 3-ounce ( 85 grams ) serve .
Summary bolshevik kernel is an excellent source of protein that will help you gain muscle. It contains leucine, an amino acid that helps stimulate muscle protein deduction. The fattier the kernel, the more calories you ’ ll carry in .
6. Potatoes and starches
Potatoes and early starchy foods are a very easily and cost-efficient way to add in supernumerary calories. Try to choose one of these healthy sources of starchy carbs :
- potatoes and sweet potatoes
- winter root vegetables
- beans and legumes
not only do potatoes and other starches add carbs and calories to help you gain slant — they besides increase your muscle glycogen stores. glycogen is the prevailing fuel beginning for most sports and activities ( 12 ). many of these carb sources besides provide important nutrients and roughage, angstrom well as repellent starch, which can help nourish your intestine bacteria ( 13 ). With sweet potatoes, you can try out one of the current Instagram trends : fresh potato pledge. Prep takes only minutes. Start by washing, drying, and thinly slicing a medium-sized sweet potato, then toast it to your liking either in a toaster or a toaster oven. then you add your favorite toppings. For example, slather it with mashed avocado and top with a electrocute testis ( 300 calories per serving ). You ’ ve got yourself a arrant breakfast or post-workout nosh. Quinoa is actually a seed that ’ mho cook and eaten like a granulate. 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 victor to many other grains in that it ’ s a complete 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 dose of both sweet potatoes and quinoa in this hearty lunch recipe for quinoa and roasted dulcet potato lawn bowling ( 336 calories per serving ). other ways to add calories to 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 crimson kernel, pink-orange and buttery pisces are excellent sources of protein and significant healthy fats. Out of all the nutrients that salmon and oily pisces leave, omega-3 fatty acid fatty acids are among the most significant and well known. They offer numerous benefits for your health and help crusade diseases ( 14 ). merely one 6-ounce ( 170-gram ) fillet of bone wild red salmon pink-orange provides around 250 calories and 12 grams of healthy fats. The same serve packs 37 grams of high timbre protein, helping you build muscleman or profit slant ( 15 ). You can prepare pink-orange in a variety show of ways : steamed, sautéed, smoked, grilled, baked, or poached. You can besides try smoked salmon or even consume raw salmon in sushi and sashimi. Fresh or freeze salmon often has a slenderly higher price chase, but canned salmon is a flying and cheap option. Almost all displace pink-orange is fantastic rather than farmed, giving it top marks for nutrition. Consider these convenient, 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 oily pisces are a big source of fabulously goodly 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 unit. There are many types available, including whey, soy, egg, and pea protein. Whey protein supplements and aggregate gainers ( supplements that can help you gain muscle mass ) can be very easily and cost-efficient strategies to gain burden, particularly when combined with forte training ( 16 ). Some people think whey protein is unhealthy or affected, but this international relations and security network ’ t the case. Whey protein is made from dairy and has been shown to help improve health markers and reduce the hazard of disease ( 17 ). Protein supplements may be even more important if you ’ re besides training since your daily protein requirements increase.
Like meats and early animal products, whey protein contains all the essential amino acids required to stimulate muscle growth ( 18 ). You can use it before or after your exercise and at any early point during the day. The easiest way to add protein powder 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 certain you get a balance alimentary inhalation. by and large, a smoothie that you make yourself will be more alimentary than buying one that ’ mho 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 content. Shop on-line for protein supplements .
Summary Protein supplements are a bare and low-cost summation to your diet to help you increase your protein consumption .
9. Dried fruit
Dried yield is a high calorie nosh that besides provides antioxidants and micronutrients ( 19 ). You can get many different types of dry fruit, and they all have a naturally high boodle subject. This makes them great for gaining weight, specially since they ’ rhenium commodious to eat and taste great. 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 fiber and most of their vitamins and minerals remain entire ( 20 ). Try combining some dried fruit with a protein generator, such as cuts of meat, cheese, or a whey protein rock. They besides mix well with nuts and full adipose tissue obviously Greek yogurt, providing a blend of healthy fats, protein, and early key nutrients. Dates are alimentary, full of fiber, and eminent in antioxidants. They ’ re besides versatile and simple to prepare as a high calorie nosh. good two Medjool dates on their own provide about 130 calories ( 21 ). Try filling dates with nut butter, cream tall mallow, or evening cooked grains like rice or quinoa. Add one or two dates to smoothies, sauces, and dressings for a touch of sweet .
Summary Dried fruit is packed with calories, healthy roughage, and antioxidants. It ’ s an easy way to add nutrients and calories to your diet .
10. Whole grain bread
unharmed texture breads are another good carb source to help you gain weight. You can make some very childlike, high calorie, and well-balanced meals by combining bread with protein sources such as eggs, kernel, and tall mallow. When purchasing boodle, aim for lifelike whole grain and seeded breads. Healthier versions, such as Ezekiel boodle, are available in most grocery store stores. Sandwiches are one of the easiest, most versatile, and portable meals for helping you put on system of weights. Their ingredients are limited only by your resource : 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 tall mallow. Sourdough boodle has become increasingly popular during the pandemic period and for good reason. It ’ randomness one of the most alimentary and satisfy breads. During the pandemic, many are learning how to make sourdough starters. Sourdough bread has just three simpleton ingredients : flour, water, and salt. One slice weighing 2 ounces ( 56 g ) will give you about 160 calories. The live adept bacteria in sourdough feeds bacteria in the intestine, which can strengthen your immune system ( 22 ) .
Summary whole grain breads can be effective in gaining weight, particularly when combined with a dependable protein source .
Avocados are loaded with goodly fats. Unlike early whole fruits, avocados are reasonably calorie-dense and therefore a bang-up food to help you gain weight. just one bombastic avocado provides around 322 calories, 29 grams of adipose tissue, and 14 grams of roughage ( 23 ). Avocados are besides high in vitamins, minerals, and versatile beneficial plant compounds. Try adding avocado to your independent meals and other dishes such as omelets or sandwiches. One of the most democratic and easiest ways of enjoying avocado is on avocado pledge. Just mash up some avocado and spread it on your toast. It ’ south that easy ! other delicious ways to enjoy the versatile avocado include :
- as a topping
- as a mayonnaise substitute
Summary Avocados are fully of healthy fats and nutrients. They ’ re versatile and can be added to many different meals or eaten on their own .
12. Healthy cereals
healthy cereals can be an excellent source of carbs, calories, and nutrients. While you should avoid processed, high carbohydrate cereals, healthier forms, such as oatmeal cooked with whole milk, can be a bang-up 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 wholly milk or toppings you add ( 24 ). Consider topping your hot oats, nightlong oats, or broad fat 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 label and avoid cereals with excess added sugar. Choose those with the most fiber when possible. Granola is a calorie-dense mix of cereals, dried fruits, and nuts. It ’ randomness rich people in protein, fiber, 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 grain bars on the market can be a capital high calorie nosh when you ’ re on the go. Most bar average between 150–200 calories. They ’ re besides a estimable choice before or after a education school term since they tend to contain a mix of slow- and fast-digesting carbs. As a bite or meal on the go, try combining a cereal barricade with early protein sources, such as broad adipose tissue Greek yogurt, boiled eggs, cold cuts of kernel, or a protein wag. While some cereal bars are goodly, many others have added sugar, oils, strategic arms limitation talks, 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 now. But if you ’ re not handy in the kitchen, it ’ s possible to find goodly boughten cereal bars. just be certain to stick to bars made from healthy whole grains and other healthy ingredients, such as dried fruits, nuts, or seeds .
Summary Stick to cereal bars that have whole grains and other healthy ingredients, such as dry fruit and nuts .
14. Dark chocolate
high quality iniquity chocolate provides a short 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 lineage carbohydrate levels. It may besides help reduce the risk of heart disease, some cancers, inflammation, stress, and type 2 diabetes. ( 26 ). Like other eminent fat foods, dark cocoa has a very high calorie concentration, meaning it ’ randomness very easy to get many calories from it. Each 100-gram ( 3.5-ounce ) bar 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 blue chocolate in addition to eating it straight. Garnish your dawn grain with it, put a few coil on circus tent of a yield plate, or make some steaming-hot drink ( or sipping ) cocoa like the Parisians do. You can make healthy chocolate desserts, like department of energy bites, no-guilt cocoa truffles, or chocolate peanut butter avocado pudding. supermarket aisles are crowded with many types and qualities of dark chocolate. Be certain to choose a high timbre one with at least 70 percentage cacao. Check out this scout for technical buying tips .
Summary Dark cocoa is packed with antioxidants and other nutrients, along with plenty of calories to help you gain weight .
cheese has been a basic food for centuries. Like dark chocolate, it ’ s 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 ’ mho about the size of a copulate of dice. Since cheese is tasty, you can incorporate it into most dishes and well add several hundred extra calories. tall mallow is available in countless varieties, from creamed, to piano, 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 fatten. Like most high calorie foods, cheeses of all kinds are best consumed in moderation. One of the favored cheese dishes is macintosh and cheese. It goes down easily, even if you don ’ t have a lot of an appetite. Try this macintosh and cheese recipe for a healthy adaptation of the perennial favored. Oh, and we can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate forget to mention the grill cheese sandwich. nowadays and then, on whole grain boodle or english muffins, who can resist our childhood favorite ?
Summary cheese is a very good beginning of protein and rich in healthy fats. Add it to meals if you need a calorie and relish hike .
16. Whole eggs
Eggs are one of the healthiest muscle-building foods on the satellite. They provide a capital combination of high choice proteins and healthy fats. Each big raw egg weighing 2 ounces, with shell ( 50 grams ), has about 74 calories ( 29 ). It ’ south besides very authoritative to eat the whole egg. In fact, about all of the beneficial nutrients in eggs are found in the yolk. angstrom long as you don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate have an intolerance to eggs, there ’ s no motivation 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 daily. Eggs are very versatile and can be cooked in a act of ways, including boiling, poach, 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 front-runner meal any time of day. You can add in meats, veggies, and cheese, then top with sour cream and avocado for a high 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 ’ randomness no limit to the count you should eat in a day, and they ’ ra full of nutrients .
17. Full fat yogurt
Full fat Greek yogurt is another healthy and commodious nosh. It has a great nutritional profile, including a well-balanced mix of protein, carbs, and fatten. Each 6-ounce serve of complain, solid 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 eminent calorie snacks and healthy 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 solid milk Greek yogurt for even more calories, less boodle, and about doubly the protein of even yogurt ( 31 ). greek yogurt is strained and has a dense consistency. This makes it great for toppings or as a delicious nosh on its own. Choosing the best yogurt among the many selections at the grocery store shop can be challenging. Read the label and avoid those with additives like sugar, thickeners, or preservatives. look for buying tips here .
Summary Full fatty Greek yogurt is another ingredient that can help you add goodly fats and protein to your diet. It ’ randomness big on its own or as an component that works in many dishes .
The secret behind gaining burden is systematically eating more calories than you ’ ra burning with activity.
Lifting weights is important excessively, so that the extra calories from foods and high calorie snacks can be used to build muscleman alternatively of equitable adding fatten. Incorporate the foods on this list into meals and meal plans that you enjoy and can stick with over the long term .