The 5 Best Healthy Foods to Gain Weight Fast

Ideal foods for weight gain often include healthy fats and oils, carbohydrates, full-fat dairy, and both plant and animal proteins. However, your recommended dosage will vary depending on your own weight and health goals.

Gaining weight or building muscle can be as difficult for some people as losing weight for others. Nevertheless, including just a few of these items in your diet can improve both the health and effectiveness of your weight-gain efforts.

Here are the top 5 foods to build muscle and gain weight in a healthy way:


For decades, people have been using milk to gain weight or build muscle (1).

In addition to being a healthy source of calcium and other vitamins and minerals, it offers a decent mix of protein, carbohydrates, and fat ( 2Trusted Source ).

Milk is a good source of casein and whey protein for those looking to gain muscle. According to research, combining it with weightlifting can also help you gain muscle (3).

What's more, studies show that milk, or a combination of whey and casein, can lead to more weight gain than other protein sources (4).

If you're exercising, try having a cup or two of whole milk (149 calories per cup) as a snack, with a meal, or before and after ( 5Trusted Source ).

Another great way to add milk to your diet is through a milk smoothie. Blend 1 cup frozen berries, 1 cup whole milk, 2 teaspoons honey, and 1 teaspoon vanilla for a quick morning protein boost (about 275 calories).


The carbohydrate source of choice for easy and affordable weight gain is rice. There are 204 calories, 44 grams of carbs, and barely any fat in just 1 cup (158 grams) of cooked white rice ( 6Trusted Source).

Moreover, rice is high in calories which makes it possible to easily get a lot of calories and carbohydrates from one dish. This encourages you to eat more, especially if you have little appetite or feel full quickly.

2-Minute Bags of Microwavable Rice can be quickly and easily added to other protein sources and prepared meals when you're pressed for time.

Another well-liked technique is to cook a large batch of rice, portion it, and then mix it with different proteins and healthy fats for different meals throughout the week.

Generally bland rice can be made in a variety of ways to make it a taste treat. The easiest way to increase the flavor, calories and protein is to toss in a few of these things after cooking the rice:

Cheese with Parmesan butter

Scattered eggs with broccoli and cheese and sesame, peanuts, or cashews

Adding a sauce, such as curry, pesto, or alfredo, to your rice is another way to boost flavor and calories. If you are pressed for time, you can buy this sauce pre-made.

It's easy to turn a rice dish into a complete dinner. For a nutritious lunch, try this wild rice and chicken kale recipe (400 calories per serving).

With this vegetable tofu 'fried' rice dish, which is actually baked rather than fried, you can also make your own healthy variation of the famous Chinese takeaway fried rice meal.

Nuts and nut butters

Nuts and nut butters are great choices if you want to gain weight.

A small handful (or 1/4 cup) of uncooked almonds has 170 calories, 6 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber, and 15 grams of good fat ( 7Trusted Source ).

Just two handfuls of nuts each day with a meal or as a snack can quickly add up to hundreds of calories due to their high calorie content.

Smoothies, yogurt, and crackers are just a few examples of foods that can quickly turn into high-calorie snacks by adding nut butters.

Try this simple, three-ingredient peanut butter banana smoothie for a quick pick-me-up (270 calories, using whole milk). If you are allergic to peanuts, use another nut butter instead.

But, be sure to choose nut butters that are made entirely from nuts and are free of added sugar or oil. Or, better yet, use this homemade almond butter recipe to make your own. It is easy to create and cheap to buy.

Red meats

Undoubtedly, one of the best foods for gaining muscle strength is red meat.

For example, a 6-ounce (170-gram) steak contains about 5 grams of leucine.

Your body needs leucine to promote muscle protein synthesis and the growth of new muscle tissue (8Trusted Source, 9). It also has 456 calories and about 49 grams of protein.

What's more, red meat is one of the best naturally occurring sources of dietary creatine, which is probably the world's best supplement for muscle growth (10).

If you want to eat more calories and gain weight, choose thicker cuts of meat because they contain more calories than lean cuts of meat.

In one trial, resistance training was performed six days a week for six weeks while 100 elderly women added 6 ounces (170 grams) of red meat to their diet.

Women increased their lean mass, their strength, and their levels of the key hormone IGF-1, which helps build muscle ( 11Trusted Source ).

Both lean and fatty meats are excellent sources of protein, but fatty meats are higher in calories and can make you gain weight. Brisket is one of the most popular fatty beef recipes.

Although brisket is notorious for taking a long time to prepare, using a slow cooker can make things a lot easier.

With this brisket dish, you can start in the morning and have a full meal ready in the evening. Each 3-ounce (85-gram) portion has about 300 calories.

Dried fruit

A high-calorie snack that also contains minerals and antioxidants is dried fruit (19).

Dried fruit comes in a wide variety and all of them naturally contain a lot of sugar. They are therefore excellent for gaining weight, especially because they taste delicious and are easy to eat.

Contrary to popular belief, fruits don't lose the majority of their nutrients when they are dried. Dried fruits have a high fiber content and the majority of their vitamins and minerals are still present (20Trusted Source).

Consider mixing some dried fruit with a protein source, such as a whey protein drink, cheese, or pieces of meat. They go nicely with almonds and full-fat Greek yoghurt and offer a combination of beneficial fats, proteins, and other essential elements.

Dates are healthy, rich in fiber and full of antioxidants. They can easily be prepared as a high-calorie snack and are adaptable. On their own, two midsolo dates provide about 130 calories ( 21Trusted Source ).

Dates can be filled with cream cheese, nut butters, or even cooked grains like rice or quinoa. For a hint of sweetness, add a date or two to smoothies, sauces and dressings.