Not everyone is trying to lose weight. Maybe you’re leaner than you’d care for and are looking for healthy foods for weight gain. If you are going to try and bulk up then you need to put the right foods into your body. There are plenty of foods that will cause fat to build up, but if you’re looking for good foods for building muscle mass then we have you covered.
If you are going to gain weight you need to be putting more calories into your body than your body needs.
Authority Nutrition has a great tool for determining how many calories your body needs. It tells you how many calories you should be eating to lose weight, but you can use it to figure out how many calories you should be eating to gain weight too. Once you find out how many calories your body needs, try adding 300-500 extra calories into your daily diet. You can add more, but it can be dangerous trying and gain too much weight too quickly.
Healthy Foods for Weight Gain
You’ve probably heard that muscle weighs more than fat. It’s true and muscle needs protein to grow. That’s why you’re going to need to maintain a high protein diet if you are going to gain weight. Protein can also help you burn fat, which isn’t going to hurt your weight-gaining process. It just means the weight you are gaining is going to be muscle, not fat.
As a general rule, you should aim to be eating your weight in protein when you’re trying to gain weight. By that, we mean that you should be eating 1g of protein for every pound you weigh. So if you weigh 150lb, you should be eating 150g of protein a day.
Your best sources of protein are going to be grass-fed meat, wild salmon, whole eggs, or raw dairy. One whole egg only contains about 6g of protein, but it is a perfect blend of protein that is easy for your body to use and to put to work. Selling raw milk is illegal in Canada and part of the United States, but if you can buy raw dairy products they are high in protein. Cheese is a fantastic source of protein and can significantly help with your weight gain. However, pasteurized dairy can be hard on the gut, which is going to do more harm than good.
Don’t try and get all of your protein in one meal. Break it up. Have protein throughout the day.
Vegetables may seem more like a weight loss food than a weight gain food, but it’s a bit of both. Your parents weren’t lying to you when they said you wouldn’t grow up big and strong if you didn’t eat your vegetables. Vegetables are good for everyone. They don’t promote a change in weight as much as they promote an overall healthier you. Your body needs the nutrients found in veggies for recovery and to help muscles grow. Just look at what spinach did for Popeye.
Spinach, broccoli, kale, or any of the cruciferous vegetables are going to be packed with nutrients to help your muscles, brain, nerves, and overall health.
When losing weight you want to cut back on the number of carbs you’re ingesting, so it makes sense that you’ll want to eat more carbs when you’re trying to put weight on. Carbohydrates are an easy way to get calories into your diet. That doesn’t mean you should be changing your diet to a high-sugar, high-processed diet. You want to put good carbs into your body.
Processed carbs can be addictive and lead to increased appetite. They can also result in energy swings. In general, you’ll want to keep processed foods out of your diet. One problem you might face when trying to eat healthy foods for weight gain is that good whole foods are more filling than processed food. This can make it hard to eat the amount of calories you’ll need to ingest to gain weight. Try eating regularly throughout the day. Have your three main meals, but also add healthy snacks into your day.
Vegetables like yams, sweet potatoes, parsnips, beans, and legumes are all good high carb options. Sweet potatoes are one of the best because they are packed with easy to digest carbs, and are also a good source of beta-carotene.
Quinoa is another good carb option. It is high in protein, antioxidants, and is gluten free. Quinoa is a good substitute for rice and wheat. Use broth instead of water when cooking it to add extra flavour.
Fruits are rich in carbs, but this is largely because they are filled with sugar. Many fruits can be good, though, especially pre or post workout. They’ll give your body the energy it needs to get through the workout and then recover from it. Bananas are one of the best fruits when trying to gain weight. They are a good source of calories and have many of the nutrients that help contribute to healthy muscle growth.
If you’re going to be pushing yourself at the gym you’ll need to feed your body pre-workout. You’ll want to eat somewhere from 2 hours-30 minutes before your workout. You don’t want to eat a large meal, but you should be putting a few good carbs and some protein into your body before an intense exercise. Make sure you’re properly hydrated before, during, and post workout.
A piece of fruit and 2 eggs is a good example of a pre-workout meal.
Post workout meal
Within 20-60 minutes of a workout, you are going to want to refuel your body with good whole food. Your body will need this as it recovers. It will use this post workout food to feed your muscles and give you the best results. In your post workout meal, you’re going to need protein, good fats, and a good quality source of carbohydrates.
A shake is a good post workout meal because it is quick and you can put everything you need into it. Raw eggs or whey protein, coconut milk, and fruit will give your body everything it needs. Coconut milk is high in the good fats your body needs post-workout. Kale and other veggies are also great additives to a post workout shake.
Foods high in Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide has many health benefits including regulating blood pressure, reducing inflammation, and boosting the immune system. It’s important if you’re trying to gain weight because it’s also used to increase strength and endurance. There are many nitric oxide supplements but the best source is from good whole food. Beets are loaded with this molecule, so eating beets or drinking beet juice is a great way to help you bulk up.
Nuts are a great snack for trying to gain weight. They are a good source of healthy fats and are loaded with calories. Eating whole nuts, like almonds, throughout the day will supply you with a rich source of antioxidants and will help with muscle growth.
Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals. Consult a physician to discuss your weight gain goals, and how best to achieve them safely.