Building muscle or gaining weight is not as easy as it seems. But, just as there are diet plans to lose weight, there are also diet plans to gain weight.

A diet plan for weight gain should focus on high calorie and good quality protein intake. However, it is also essential to choose the right diet plan for weight gain that includes a healthy, balanced diet rather than just empty calories and fat. A proper diet plan for weight gain provides you with essential nutrients while helping you build muscle.

The primary objective of any diet plan for weight gain is to provide you with more calories than you burn in a day. However, a good diet plan for weight gain includes increased intake of all macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats and calories. So choose your diet plan wisely, keeping in mind its nutritional value.

The struggle to be underweight is as hard as being overweight. In addition, being underweight also comes with health challenges, such as fatigue, weak immunity, frequent infections, fragile bones, pale skin, brittle hair. Therefore, it is imperative to choose an efficient and healthy diet plan to gain weight.

If you are struggling to find the right diet plan to gain weight, you have come to the right place. This article covers all the aspects of a good diet plan that will help you gain weight.

What is a healthy weight range?

Your body mass index (BMI) determines your healthy weight range. To calculate your BMI, divide your body weight by your height in meters squared. The answer you get is your BMI.

A BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 falls under the healthy weight range. If your BMI is 18.5 or less, it means you are underweight.

Being underweight:

being underweight
  • high metabolism Everyone’s body type is different. People with high metabolic rates remain lean and fail to gain weight, no matter how much they eat in a day.
  • family history – Our genes play an important role in determining our body composition and weight. If you have a low BMI and a genetically lean body, this will affect your weight.
  • eating disorders Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are also associated with being underweight.
  • medical conditions Medical conditions like diabetes, hyperthyroidism, infection, cancer etc can also cause weight loss.
  • mental illness Mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, stress, eating disorders can also cause loss of appetite and weight loss.

Tips to gain weight in a healthy way:

1. High Calorie Food

healthy high calorie food

To gain weight in a healthy way, eat foods like bananas, avocados, full-fat milk, which are high in calories and rich in nutrients.

A calorie-rich diet is essential for gaining the right amount of weight according to your body type. Therefore, apart from high calorie food, it is essential to know the right high calorie food to consume.

Some nutritious high calorie food that you can include in your diet are homemade granola bars, tofu, avocado, chickpeas etc.

2. Eat Healthy Carbs

eat healthy carbs

A popular misconception is that carbs make you overweight. The truth is that weight gain depends on the number of calories you consume. So, you can add healthy carbs like bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes, red or brown rice, whole grains, and fruits will help you gain weight healthily and safely.

Try to include good quality carbs in some form or the other in all your meals. A balanced diet is essential for the body to get the nutrients it needs to function properly.

3. Protein Rich Food

protein rich food

Proteins are what make up our muscles. Absence of recommended protein intake can make your efforts to gain weight in vain.

A lack of protein in your diet can directly convert calories into fat and hinder maintaining a healthy weight. Eat at least 1.5-2 grams of protein per kilogram of your body weight to gain weight and build lean muscle.

Chicken breast, turkey, nuts, legumes, beans, fish, eggs, milk are excellent sources of lean protein.

4. Reduce Stress

edge off

Stress causes a loss of appetite and in some it increases their appetite. In both cases, stress is extremely harmful to your mental and physical health.

Avoid stress as much as possible. Meditate, take deep breaths, listen to music, relax, take a hot bath and be active to reduce stress.

5. Strength Training

Your aim should be to gain lean muscle and not fat mass. Therefore, it is important to work out and do strength training at least 2-4 times a week.

The right set of exercises can keep your body toned and defined. Pushups, lunges and squats are some of the exercises that you can include in your workout.

6. Get a good sleep

have a good sleep

A good night’s sleep can do wonders for your health. About 8 hours of good quality sleep helps in strengthening the muscles and keeps your body fit. Lack of sleep is a contributing factor to hormonal imbalance.

It can cause fatigue and exhaustion resulting in the inability to do any physical activity leading to a healthy lifestyle.

healthy diet plan for weight gain

Following is a sample diet plan that you can follow to gain weight healthily. You can vary the program according to your food choices, age, gender, level of physical activity and caloric needs.

Let’s look at an example 3000 calorie diet plan for weight gain based on Indian food preferences.

  • early morning – Two boiled eggs or banana with 1 glass of milk and 10 grams or 6-7 pieces soaked almonds.
  • breakfast – 2 vegetable or paneer stuffed parathas with 1 cup curd. You can have two masala dosas with sambhar and chutney, two moong dal cheela with paneer stuffing, or two egg omelet with two slices of toasted whole wheat or multigrain bread.
  • during the morning 3-4 peanuts or sesame seeds or dry fruit chikkis. A glass of curd lassi with a handful of roasted almonds.
  • lunch – 1 cup sprout salad or a bowl of chicken soup. 2 medium chapatis with 2 cups vegetables of your choice, chicken breast or fish, curd, 1 cup dal and 1 cup rice.
  • Evening – 1 cup tea or coffee with full fat milk, 2-3 whole wheat or sesame biscuits or nachni cheela, poha with peanuts, potatoes and peas or makhana roasted in ghee.
  • mid-evening – 3-4 pieces of peanut or dry fruit chikki with a handful of roasted almonds.
  • dinner – 1 bowl chicken or mixed vegetable soup. 2 medium chapatis with 2 cups vegetables, chicken breast/ fish fillet/ tofu or paneer, 1 cup lentils, 1 cup rice and mixed salad.
  • late night 1 glass of milk with organic turmeric with two bananas.

continental diet plan for weight gain

A sample diet plan if you’re considering other options. Try to include calorie and protein rich food in all your meals.

  • breakfast – 2 toasted bread crumbs with 2 tbsp peanut butter and 2 boiled eggs. A glass of hot chocolate with good quality cocoa or milk and a fruit of your choice.
  • lunch Chicken breast or grilled fish fillet with whole pasta or 1 cup brown rice and legumes. One cup of green leafy vegetables, tomato and paneer.
  • Evening snack Tea/coffee with whole wheat scones or muffins and/or a handful of nuts.
  • dinner – Lambchops or fish fillets or tofu shallots fried in olive oil. Mash sweet potato mash or cauliflower with milk and 2 cups of vegetables.
  • dessert – Pancakes with full-fat cream, yogurt, maple syrup or honey with fruits and nuts.

Weight gain foods to include in your diet plan

  • animal protein
  • fish
  • dark leafy vegetables
  • avocados
  • legumes
  • nuts and seeds
  • Carbohydrate
  • nut butter
  • full fat dairy products
  • Whole grains
  • fruit

Foods to avoid:

  • fried food
  • refined carbs
  • sugary food
  • carbonated drinks
  • candy

A typical diet plan for weight gain recommends at least three large meals a day with large portions. However, if you don’t like to eat all at once, you can break your diet plan into five to six smaller meals to gain weight.

There is no restriction in the diet plan for weight gain. However, according to nutritionists, it is better to include healthy whole foods over processed and sugary foods in your weight gain diet.

Apart from a good diet plan to gain weight, other factors like exercise, sleep, active lifestyle also play an important role in shaping your body. So choose a diet plan that suits your body and suits your lifestyle. Remember, gaining or losing weight is a journey and requires constant motivation. So keep yourself motivated, eat healthy, exercise regularly and be stress free.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Which fruits are good for weight gain?

a. If you want to gain weight then fruits like banana, avocado, mango, coconut are a great option. That’s because fruits keep you satiated, and that’s because fruits contain sugar and natural fiber and are bulky. Moreover, they have high caloric content and contain essential nutrients like calcium, vitamins, carbohydrates etc.

Q. Are eggs good for weight gain?

a. Eggs are an excellent substitute for protein and help build muscle. Eggs contain high quality protein and healthy fats.

Q. Can I have banana and milk daily to gain weight?

a. Whereas banana and milk together can help you gain weight quickly. Regular consumption of this calorie-rich drink can lead to a rapid increase in calories and uncontrollable weight gain. Hence, it is advised to take it in moderation.

Q. What are the health risks of being underweight?

a. Being underweight can lead to various health problems like lack of nutrition, fertility issues, weak immune system, constant fatigue, skin, hair, teeth problems, osteoporosis etc.

Q. Is 800 calories a day healthy?

a. If you follow a low-calorie diet, you feel deficient in energy, and your body suffers due to lack of essential nutrients. Eight hundred calories per day is not enough to give you the strength to do all your daily activities. Calorie requirements vary from person to person, although a good starting point is between 1300-1500 calories per day.

Q. Are eggs good for weight gain?

A. Whole eggs are rich in good quality proteins and healthy fats and can help in increasing muscle mass as well as gaining weight.

Q. Which foods cause weight gain?

a. High-calorie fruits that are sweet, such as mango, banana, custard apple, avocado can help in weight gain.

Q. Which fruit causes weight gain?

a. Although fruits contain natural sugar, they are a goldmine of nutrients. Mangoes, bananas, avocados, nuts and prunes are some of the high-calorie fruits that will help you gain weight.

Q. Which snacks make you gain weight?

a. Calorie-rich healthy snacks that are also rich in nutrients can help with weight gain. These include nuts, seeds, fruit and nut bars, nut butter and whole grain toast, smoothies, whole eggs, etc.

Q. What is the fastest way to gain weight?

A. There is no shortcut or magic bullet to gain weight fast. Focus on gaining weight in a healthy sustainable way by eating healthy calorie-rich foods, avoiding junk and fried foods, and exercising regularly.

Q. Which fruit is highest in calories?

A. Avocado is the most caloric fruit, as each serving (100 grams) of avocado contains 160 calories.

Q. Which foods are high in protein for weight gain?

a. Red meat, whole wheat bread, some fruits like avocado, full-fat milk and nut butter are some high-protein foods for weight gain.

Q. Can you gain weight with protein diet?

A. Eating a high protein diet can help in building muscle mass which in turn also helps in gaining weight.

Q. Do bananas cause weight gain?

A. Bananas are a great source of carbohydrates and calories. So bananas can be an excellent addition to your diet if you are looking to gain weight.

Q. Is apple good for weight gain?

A. One medium apple (182 grams) can provide up to 107 calories. So you can consider adding apples to your diet to gain weight.

Q. Is 3500 calories enough to gain weight?

A. Excess of 3500 calories per day can lead to weight gain of half a kilo at the end of the week.

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