15 Best Healthy Foods To Gain Weight

Reviewed by an Expert

15 Best Healthy Foods To Gain Weight

Weight gain can be healthy and necessary in certain situations. This is especially true for anyone who is underweight, as even modest weight gain can help to improve your overall health and reduce the risk of developing certain health problems. Weight gain can also be challenging but important for athletes or bodybuilders, as weight gain is necessary to build additional muscle mass. Additionally, if you have a medical condition that causes weight loss, such as cancer or an eating disorder, gaining weight can help you recover and improve your overall health. However, as emphasized in Ayurveda, healthily gaining weight requires a balanced diet that includes all the essential nutrients. You should aim to consume a variety of foods from all food groups.

Calories required for weight gain [1]

To gain weight, it is necessary to intake more calories than those you intake to maintain weight.

  1. You should add at least 300-500 more calories to your current calorie intake.
  2. In cases of severe malnutrition, you have to add 800-1000 more calories to your current calorie intake.

Always remember that weight gain or weight loss is gradual and happens slowly over time. A good diet should be coupled with a weight training regimen to increase weight healthily.

Here are 15 high-calorie foods that can help you healthily gain weight:

15 best healthy foods to gain weight [1][2]

1. Rice:

Rice is a calorie-dense carb source that will significantly aid anyone on a weight gaining journey. One cup of white rice contains around 200 calories, 44 grams of carbs and very little fat. Also, if you’re purchasing rations with the intent of weight gain, always ask for newly harvested rice. As per Ayurveda, Navaanna can be helpful for gaining weight. Rice cakes, dried rice, or rice that has been puffed should not be consumed.

2. Potatoes:

Nutrients in potato starch can help you healthily gain weight. One medium-sized potato contains around 130 calories, 30 grams of carbs, and 3 grams of fiber.

3. Heavy cream:

Heavy cream is an excellent source of calories and fat. One tablespoon of heavy cream contains around 50 calories and 5 grams of fat. You can add cream to your beverages and also to gravies, giving them a richer flavor while increasing calorie intake.

4. Ghee:

No list of high-calorie Indian foods is complete without ghee. Ghee should be introduced in small quantities over some time and can be added to all meals or consumed post-meals. This will not only help with healthy weight gain, but it also eases digestion and detoxifies the body.

5. Sweet potatoes:

Sweet potatoes are a great source of carbs and fiber. One medium-sized sweet potato contains around 100 calories, 2 grams of protein, and 0 grams of fat.

6. Wheat germ:

Wheat germ is a great source of calories and fiber. One ounce of wheat germ contains around 100 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 1 gram of fat.

7. Olive oil:

Olive oil is a great source of healthy fats, making it a standard feature of any healthy high-calorie foods chart. One tablespoon of olive oil contains around 120 calories and 14 grams of fat.

8. Milk:

Milk can be easily added to protein shakes and other beverages, boosting your calorie intake. One cup of milk contains around 150 calories, 8 grams of protein, and 12 grams of carbs. Milk is also a good source of calcium, but make sure to use full-fat milk for best results. 

9. Paneer:

Paneer or cottage cheese is a staple in Indian cuisine and you now have reason to include more paneer tikka in your meals! A single serving of 100 grams contains about 100 calories, 11 grams of protein, and 111 grams of calcium. 

10. Nuts:

Nuts are among the best choice of high-calorie Indian foods for vegetarians as they are rich in healthy omega-3 fats. In addition to healthy fats, they also are a good source of protein and fiber. Just one serving of almonds of about 30 grams will give you roughly 160 calories, 6 grams of protein, and 3 grams of fiber.

11. Dried fruits:

Aside from the fact that dried fruits taste great in desserts, they are also high in calories, which can help you gain healthy weight. One ounce of raisins contains around 85 calories, 1 gram of protein, and 22 grams of carbs.

12. Avocado:

Avocado may be an exotic fruit for most of us, but it is a great source of healthy fats. One medium-sized avocado contains around 250 calories, 3 grams of protein, and 23 grams of fat.

13. Macadamia nuts:

Macadamia nuts are particularly noteworthy as a source of healthy fats. One ounce of macadamia nuts contains around 200 calories, 2 grams of protein, and 22 grams of fat.

14. Cheddar cheese:

Cheddar is one of the most popular types of cheese, and it is full of essential vitamins and minerals. 30 grams of cheddar cheese contains around 115 calories, 7 grams of protein, and 9 grams of fat.

15. Whole grain bread:

This is not a go-to food for weight gain, but it can be a healthy addition to a weight gain diet. Whole-grain bread is a good source of carbs and fiber. Two slices of whole-grain bread contain around 200 calories, 40 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of fiber. When combined with a healthy high-calorie nut butter like almond or peanut butter, this becomes extremely high in calories.

We bring you a sample diet chart that you can utilize in your journey of weight gain:

A Sample Diet Plan You Can Follow to Gain Weight

Either weight gain or weight loss can’t just happen overnight by changing your diet. It is recommended that you couple it with a nice exercise or weight-training regimen.

Meal of the DayDiet
Early Morning2-3 glasses of water1 cup of green tea with lemon and ginger
Breakfast60-80 gm oats4 egg whites / sweet yogurt + apple + chocolate4 walnuts with 2-4 dates1-2 banana
Mid-MorningA handful of sprouts + 2 spoons peanut butter1 scoop whey with a cup of 300-ml toned milk
Lunch250 gm chicken / paneer + 250 gm brown riceSalad, Curd
Pre-exercise Snacks250 gm fish / 6 egg whites / 250 gm boiled potato / sweet potatoes + saladA handful of dry fruits + an apple
Post-exercise DrinkA smoothie made of Oats, Banana, Peanut Butter, Dry Fruits and Almond Milk. You can add a prescribed protein powder to it.
Dinner250 gm chicken / paneer / tofu150 gm riceSalad
Post-dinnerHalf a glass of skimmed milk

This is a protein-rich diet that should be taken for the purpose of weight gain. Diet rich in protein has proven effective for weight gain in most adults irrespective of their genders. [2] However, it is recommended that this diet be coupled with a nice exercise routine. 


1. Is it possible to gain weight solely by diet?

It takes time for diet changes to result in either weight gain or decrease. It is advised that you combine it with a lovely training or exercise routine.

2. What kind of diet is best for gaining weight?

For weight gain, you should eat a diet high in carbohydrates, proteins, and Vata-pacifying foods. Don’t forget to include some good fats. If you want to gain weight, ashwagandha has to be a part of your diet. But if you want a suitable diet plan to gain weight, you have to see a doctor. You cannot receive a diet plan tailored to your specific requirements unless you are a medical professional.

3. How should rice be included in your diet if you want to gain weight?

If you want to gain weight, you should eat red rice or freshly harvested rice. Rice cakes, dried rice, or rice that has been puffed should not be consumed.


A balanced diet that contains all the necessary nutrients is necessary to gain weight in a healthy way, so try to include a range of items from this list of high-calorie foods. It is important to try to eat a range of foods from every dietary category. Furthermore, factors such as age, gender, height, weight, and level of activity determine how many calories you require to acquire weight. Getting advice from a licensed dietitian is the best way to figure out how many calories are appropriate for you.


This is a generic article. Therefore, before incorporating this weight-gain diet plan into your life, consult a doctor and nutritionist. Sometimes, dietary changes won’t be enough to address an underlying health issue you may be experiencing.


  1. Karshya – A critical review
  2. Changes in Diet and Lifestyle and Long-Term Weight Gain in Women and Men

Dr Sunanda Ranade

Sunanda Ranade is Vice-Chairman of the International Academy of Ayurved, Pune, India, and an expert Ayurvedic gynecologist and nutritionist. She has been working in this field for the last 47 years. Dr. Sunanda Ranade holds a Doctorate in Ayurveda. She is also the author of several books on Ayurveda and Yoga, which have been published in Marathi, English, Spanish, and Portuguese.


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