Building muscles or gaining weight is not as simple as it sounds. But, just as there are diet plans to lose weight, there are diet plans for weight gain.
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, well-balanced diet rather than just empty calories and fats. A proper diet plan for weight gain provides you with essential nutrients while helping you build muscle mass.
The primary aim of any diet plan for weight gain is to provide you with more calories than what you burn in a day. However, a good diet plan for weight gain includes an increased intake of all the macronutrients: carbohydrates, proteins, healthy fats, and calories. So choose your diet plan wisely, keeping its nutritional value in mind.
The struggle of being underweight is as hard as being overweight. In addition, being underweight comes with its own set of 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 for weight gain.
If you are struggling to find the perfect diet plan to gain weight, then you have come to the right place. This article covers all 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 meter square. 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 that you are underweight.
Reasons for Being Underweight:
- High Metabolism – Everyone has a different body type. People with a high metabolic rate remain lean and fail to gain weight, no matter how much they eat in a day.
- Family History – Our genes play a significant role in deciding our body structure and weight. If you have a low BMI and lean body genetically, it will affect your weight.
- Eating Disorders – Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa also remain underweight.
- Medical Conditions – Medical conditions like diabetes, hyperthyroidism, infections, cancers, 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 lead to weight loss.
Tips to Gain Weight in a Healthy Way:
1. High-Calorie Food
To gain weight healthily, eat foods like banana, avocados, full-fat milk., that are high in calories and full of nutrients.
A calorie-rich diet is necessary to gain the right amount of weight according to your body type. Therefore, besides high-calorie food, one needs to know the right high-calorie food to be consumed.
Some nutritious high-calorie food that you may include in your diet are homemade granola bars, Tofu, Avocados, Chickpeas, etc.
2. Consume Healthy Carbs
A popular misconception is that carbs make you overweight. The truth is weight gain depends on the number of calories you intake. 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 all your meals in some form or the other. A balanced meal is essential to receive nutrients that the body needs to function properly.
3. Protein Rich Food
Proteins are what make up our muscles. The absence of the recommended protein intake can make your efforts to gain weight futile.
Lack of protein in your diet can turn calories directly into fat and interfere in maintaining a healthy weight. Take at least 1.5-2 grams of protein per kg of your body weight to gain weight and build lean muscle mass.
Chicken breast, turkey, nuts, legumes, beans, fish, eggs, milk are excellent sources of lean proteins.
4. Reduce Stress
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 you can. Meditate, breathe deep, listen to music, relax, take hot shower baths and be active to reduce stress.
5. Strength Training
Your aim should be to gain lean muscle mass and not fat mass. Therefore, it is crucial 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 Good Sleep
A good night’s sleep can do wonders for your health. A good quality sleep of approximately 8 hours helps to strengthen muscle mass and keeps your body fit. Lack of sleep is a contributing factor to hormonal imbalance.
It can cause fatigue and exhaustion resulting in an inability to perform any physical activity for 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 alter the program according to your food choices, age, sex, level of physical activity, and calorie requirements.
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See an example of a 3000 calories diet plan for weight gain based on Indian meal preferences.
- Early Morning – 1 glass of milk with two boiled eggs or bananas and 10 grams or 6-7 pieces of soaked almonds.
- Breakfast – 2 vegetable or paneer stuffed parathas with 1 cup of curd. You can also have two masala dosa with sambhar and chutney, two moong dal chillas with paneer stuffing, or two eggs omelette with two slices of toasted whole wheat or multigrain bread.
- Mid-Morning – 3-4 pieces of groundnut or Sesame seed Chikki or dry fruit Chikki. A handful of roasted almonds with one glass of curd lassi.
- Lunch – 1 cup sprout salad or one bowl of chicken soup. 2 medium chapattis with 2 cups of vegetable of your choice, chicken breast or fish, yoghurt, 1 cup dal, and 1 cup rice.
- Evening – 1 cup tea or coffee with full-fat milk, 2-3 wholewheat or Sesame biscuits or Nachni Chilla, Poha with peanuts, potato and peas or makhanas roasted with ghee.
- Mid–Evening – 3-4 pieces of groundnut or dry fruit Chikki with a handful of roasted almonds.
- Dinner – 1 bowl of chicken or mixed vegetable soup. 2 medium chapatis with 2 cups of vegetables, chicken breast/fish fillet/ tofu or paneer, 1 cup dal, 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 are looking at other options. Just try to include calorie and protein-rich food in all your meals.
- Breakfast – 2 toasted whole-grain pieces of bread with 2 tbsp of peanut butter and 2 boiled eggs. One glass of hot chocolate with good quality cocoa or milk and one fruit of your choice.
- Lunch – Chicken breast or grilled Fish Fillet with Wholewheat pasta or 1 cup of brown rice and legumes. One cup of green leafy vegetable, tomato, and cheese.
- Evening Snack – Tea/coffee with whole wheat scones or muffins and OR a fistful of mixed nuts.
- Dinner – Lambchop or fish fillet or tofu shallow fried in olive oil. Sweet potato mash or cauliflower mash with milk and 2 cups of vegetables.
- Dessert – full-fat cream with fruits and nuts, yoghurt, pancakes with maple syrup or honey.
Weight Gain Foods to Include in Your Diet Plan
- Animal protein
- Dark leafy vegetables
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut butter
- Full-fat dairy products
- Whole grains
Foods to Avoid:
- Fried food
- Refined carbs
- Sugar rich food
- Carbonated drinks
A typical diet plan for weight gain recommends at least three big meals in a day with large portions. However, if you do not like eating at once, you can divide your diet plan for weight gain into five to six smaller meals.
There is no restriction in diet plans 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 for weight gain, other factors like exercise, sleep, active lifestyle., also play a significant role in shaping your body. Therefore, choose a diet plan that suits your body and fits your lifestyle. Remember, gaining or losing weight is a journey and requires constant motivation. So keep yourself motivated, eat healthily, exercise regularly, and live stress-free.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Which fruits are good for weight gain?
A. Fruits like bananas, avocados, mangoes, coconut, are an excellent choice if you want to gain weight. That is because fruits keep you satiated, and this is because fruits have sugar and natural fibre and are voluminous. In addition, they have high-calorie content and contain essential nutrients like calcium, vitamins, carbohydrates, etc.
Q. Are eggs good for weight gain?
A. Eggs are an excellent choice for protein and help to build muscle mass. Eggs contain high-quality protein and healthy fats.
Q. Can I consume banana and milk daily to gain weight?
A. While bananas and milk together can help you gain weight quickly. Regular consumption of this calorie-rich drink can rapidly increase calories and uncontrollable weight gain. Therefore, it is advisable to take it in moderation.
Q. What are the health risks of being underweight?
A. Being underweight can lead to various health problems like nutritional deficiencies, fertility problems, weak immune system, constant fatigue, skin, hair, teeth problems, osteoporosis, etc.
Q. Is 800 calories a day healthy?
A. If you take a low-calorie diet, you feel low on energy, and your body suffers due to a lack of essential nutrients. Eight hundred calories per day are not sufficient to give you the power to perform all your daily tasks. Calorie requirements differ from individual to individual however a good starting point is between 1300-1500 cal per day.
Q. Are eggs good for weight gain?
A. Whole eggs are rich in good quality protein and healthy fats and can help in gaining muscle and simultaneous weight gain.
Q. What foods cause weight gain?
A. Higher calorie fruits which tend to be sweeter, such as mangoes, bananas, custard apples, avocados 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. What snacks make you gain weight?
A. Calorie dense healthy snacks which are also rich in nutrients can help in weight gain. These include nuts, seeds, fruit and nut bars, nut butters and whole grain toast, smoothies, whole eggs etc
Q. What is the fastest way to gain weight?
A. There is no shortcut or a magic pill to gain weight fast. Focus on gaining weight in a healthy sustainable way by eating healthy calorie dense foods, avoiding junk and fried foods and exercising regularly.
Q. What fruit is the highest in calories?
A. Avocados are the highest calorie fruit, as each serving (100g) of avocado contains 160 calories.
Q. What foods are high in protein for weight gain?
A. Red Meats, Whole wheat breads, certain fruits like avocados, full-fat milk and nut butters are some high-protein foods for weight gain.
Q. Can you gain weight from a protein diet?
A. Eating a high protein diet can help in building muscle mass which in turn helps in gaining weight as well.
Q. Do bananas increase weight?
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 (182g) can provide upto 107 calories. So you can consider adding apples to your diet for gaining weight.
Q. Is 3500 calories enough to gain weight?
A. Surplus of 3500 calories intake per day can lead to gain of half a kg at the end of the week.