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A Guide to Gaining Healthy Weight: Tips and Strategies

Bijgewerkt op: 6 okt. 2023


While many people focus on losing weight, there are others who struggle with the opposite challenge: gaining healthy weight. Gaining weight in a healthy and sustainable way is just as important as losing weight, especially for individuals who are underweight or looking to build muscle. In this article, we will explore effective strategies and tips on how to gain healthy weight.

man and woman running to gain a healthy weight

How to gain healthy weight

1. Assess Your Current Status

Before embarking on a journey to gain healthy weight, it's crucial to understand your current status. Calculate your Body Mass Index (BMI) to determine whether you are underweight, normal weight, or overweight. Consult with a healthcare professional to get a more accurate assessment of your body composition, including muscle mass and body fat percentage. This baseline assessment will help you set realistic goals and track progress effectively.

The Body Mass Index (BMI) system, while widely used, has several potential drawbacks:

  1. Muscle mass: BMI is based only on height and weight, and does not take into account how much of your weight is muscle mass. This can lead to misleading results, as a person with a high muscle mass may have a high BMI but be in excellent health.

  2. Bone density: Some people have denser bones and larger frames than others. These individuals may have a higher BMI even though they are not overweight or obese.

  3. Age: As people age, their body composition changes. Older adults often have more body fat than younger adults, even if they have the same BMI.

  4. Sex: Men and women have different body compositions. Women tend to have more body fat than men, even if they have the same BMI.

  5. Ethnicity: Different ethnic groups have different risks of health problems at the same BMI level. For example, people of Asian descent may have a higher risk of health problems at a lower BMI than people of European descent.

  6. Self-reported data: BMI calculations often rely on self-reported height and weight data, which can be inaccurate.

These factors can limit the effectiveness of BMI as a measure of individual health. But, it's a handy tool to use as a guideline.

2. Increase Caloric Intake

Gaining healthy weight starts with a calorie surplus, which means you need to consume more calories than you burn. However, this doesn't mean indulging in empty calories from junk food. Focus on nutrient-dense foods that provide essential vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients. Incorporate whole grains, lean protein sources, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables into your diet.

3. Eat Frequent, Balanced Meals

Instead of three large meals a day, aim for five to six smaller, well-balanced meals throughout the day. This approach helps maintain a steady flow of nutrients to support your body's needs for muscle growth and energy. Include a source of protein in each meal, such as lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, or plant-based options like tofu and legumes.

4. Prioritize Protein

Protein is a crucial component of any weight gain plan, as it supports muscle growth and repair. Incorporate protein-rich foods into your diet, such as chicken, turkey, lean beef, fish, eggs, Greek yogurt, quinoa, and lentils. Protein shakes or smoothies with added protein powder can also be convenient for boosting your daily intake.

5. Healthy Fats Are Your Friend

Incorporating healthy fats into your diet is essential for gaining healthy weight. Foods like avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fatty fish provide a concentrated source of calories while delivering essential nutrients. Just be mindful of portion sizes to avoid excessive calorie consumption.

6. Choose Nutrient-Dense Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are a primary source of energy, making them an important part of your weight gain plan. Opt for complex carbohydrates like whole grains (brown rice, quinoa, oats), sweet potatoes, and legumes. These foods provide sustained energy and essential nutrients.

7. Snack Smartly

Snacking can be a valuable tool for increasing your daily calorie intake. Choose nutrient-dense snacks like trail mix, Greek yogurt with honey and berries, or whole-grain crackers with nut butter. Avoid empty-calorie snacks like sugary candies and chips.

8. Stay Hydrated

While it's important to increase calorie intake, don't forget about hydration. Water is essential for overall health, and staying well-hydrated can help your body absorb nutrients efficiently. Drink water throughout the day and consider adding some calories through beverages like milk, fruit juices, or smoothies.

9. Strength Training

Building muscle is a healthy way to gain weight, as muscle weighs more than fat. Incorporate strength training exercises into your fitness routine to promote muscle growth. Consult with a fitness professional to create a personalized workout plan that aligns with your goals.

10. Monitor Your Progress

Keep a food diary to track your calorie intake and assess your progress regularly. Adjust your diet and exercise routine as needed to ensure that you are gaining weight at a healthy and sustainable rate. Remember that gaining healthy weight is a gradual process, and patience is key.


Gaining healthy weight is a goal that requires a combination of smart dietary choices, regular exercise, and consistency. It's essential to focus on nutrient-dense foods, monitor your progress, and consult with healthcare professionals or nutritionists if necessary. By following these tips and strategies, you can achieve your weight gain goals while maintaining your overall health and well-being. Remember that everyone's journey is unique, so find the approach that works best for you and your body.

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