4 Food Groups for Safe and Fast Weight Gain

Certain foods can help someone gain weight quickly and safely. They include whole grains, healthy fats, and protein.

A doctor may advise underweight people to gain weight. Slow weight gain is most sustainable. Rapid weight gain can be difficult to maintain.

Consult a doctor before gaining weight quickly. Weight loss or difficulty gaining weight may indicate a serious health issue that requires medical attention.

Find out which foods help people gain weight safely.

The body gets energy from carbs. People call foods high in carbohydrates “carbs”. However, these foods may contain other nutrients.


Rice has lots of carbs. Uncooked brown rice has 76.7 g per 100 g. This rice is higher in protein than others. A 100-g serving has 368 calories.

White and brown rice have some protein, but adding meat or beans adds calories and protein.

Whole-grain bread

Whole grain bread has more protein and complex carbohydrates than white bread.

Top bread with protein-rich foods like nut butter or avocado to increase its calories. They can also make nutritious sandwiches.

Whole-grain cereals to Weight Gain

Whole grains include oats, wheat, barley, and rice. People can buy whole grains individually and mix them with milk or yogurt at home. They can also buy cereal bars or premixed cereals.

Manufacturers may add vitamins and minerals, but some also add a lot of sugar. Therefore, always read the label.

Dried fruit

Fruit sugar fructose is in dried fruits. They add calories and sweeten meals naturally.

Use dates to sweeten cereals or oatmeal, dried apricots to yogurt, or dried fruits in smoothies. Salads and tagines work well with some dried fruits.

Dark chocolate

Chocolate comes from carbohydrate-rich cocoa beans. Dark chocolate has less sugar and more cocoa than milk chocolate. This means it has more cocoa bean antioxidants.

Cacao-rich products are most beneficial.

Add cacao powder or nibs to a dish to boost flavor and calories.

Other starches

Other carbohydrate sources include:

Potatoes, pasta, sweet potatoes, squash, corn, beans, and chickpeas.

Starches contain glucose, which the body stores as glycogen. During exercise, glycogen provides energy.

Everyone needs protein for muscle growth and maintenance. Some good sources are:


Salmon provides protein and omega-3 fatty acids, which support brain and eye health.


Protein and healthy fat are abundant in eggs. Choline, essential for brain health and fetal development, is abundant in them.

Protein shakes offer a convenient way to boost protein intake without consuming more whole foods. They can also help vegetarians, vegans, and those who need to gain weight but have a small appetite.

Protein shake brands vary in protein content. Find the right one by checking the label or talking to a dietitian. The dietitian may recommend one with few added sugars.

Supplements with protein

Protein supplements can boost protein intake. Example: protein bars and drinks.

These products may also help pregnant women consume more calories and protein. Check nutritional labels to find the best product for tracking protein and calories.

Dairy products are high in calories and may contain protein and calcium.


Milk is calorie-dense and high in calcium, carbs, and protein. A cup of 2%-fat milk has 122 calories.

Milk is good for building muscle and for bone density and osteoporosis because of its protein and calcium content.

Cheese is a high-calorie dairy product. Also contains protein and calcium. The nutritional value of cheese depends on its type and production.

Aged cheeses have fewer carbohydrates, so more calories come from fat.

Cheese has high sodium content, so check the label to avoid overeating.

Enjoy full-fat yogurt for its high calorie and protein content. Instead of sugary flavored yogurts, choose plain or Greek.

Natural yogurt flavors include honey, fruit, nuts, and unsweetened cocoa powder.

In moderation, unsaturated fats lower LDL cholesterol and heart disease risk. They also have many calories, making them a good weight-gain food.

Olive oil

Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats and calories.

A 15-milliliter serving of olive oil has 120 calories, so a little each day can boost calorie intake and flavor salads, pasta, and other dishes.

Olive oil contains saturated fat, so it should be part of a balanced diet.

Seeds and nuts

Nuts and seeds are high in calories and unsaturated fat. Almond butter has 129 calories, calcium, and magnesium in 20 g.


Avocados and avocado oil contain unsaturated fat. Whole avocados contain folate, magnesium, and potassium.

Avocado boosts the calorie count of sandwiches, salads, and smoothies.

A moderately sized pregnant woman needs 2,200–2,900 calories per day. This adds a few hundred calories per day for many.

Pregnant women need 1.2 g of protein per kilogram of body weight daily. Thus, one should prioritize high-protein, nutrient-dense foods.

Choices include:

  • eating more cooked meat and fish
  • eating or drinking pasteurized full-fat dairy
  • trying protein shakes
  • eating high-protein dips like hummus

Before making major diet changes, parents and caregivers concerned about their child’s weight should consult a pediatrician. If the pediatrician suggests weight gain, people can:

  • Instead of reduced-fat substitutes, parents and caregivers can give toddlers whole milk, yogurt, or other whole-fat foods. Even small portions of avocado, banana, and cheese are high in calories. Dips and sauces: Guacamole, hummus, and bean dips are easy to serve with vegetables or sandwiches.
  • Smoothies and shakes: Drinks can deliver extra calories without increasing mealtime portions. Parents and caregivers can mix the child’s favorite fruits with yogurt, nut butter, or seeds.
  • Healthy weight gain requires nutrient-dense, body-supporting foods. A varied diet can help a person reach their weight goals, but it takes time.

Before making major diet changes, consult a doctor or dietitian to set healthy goals and find the best way to achieve them. Not all weight-gain methods work for everyone.

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