11 Tips to Help You Gain Healthy Weight

Do you feel like you're too thin? If so, you'll need to increase your caloric intake if you want to gain weight. That seems easy enough, but not if you're too busy to eat, you're just naturally thin, or if you have a health condition that's affecting your appetite.

What About Taking Appetite Stimulants to Gain Weight?

Doctors may prescribe medications that will help improve appetite. They include some anti-depressants, steroid medications, and drugs related to marijuana. These medications can help but you'll need to work with your doctor to figure out what's best for you.

There are several natural products that claim to be appetite stimulants but they don't seem to have any evidence to back up those claims.

Zinc supplements may help if you have a zinc deficiency. Again, that's something you should see your doctor about.

Stock up on Healthy Weight-Gaining Foods

If you don't have much of an appetite, you'll probably do better if you nibble on small snacks throughout the day. If it's a time issue then maybe you need to increase the size of the meals you are already eating.

Whether you eat extra meals or increase the size of the meals you usually eat, don't fall into a junk food trap. Choose weight-gaining foods that are both energy- and nutrient-dense. 

Need some ideas? Take a look at these 11 easy tips that will help you gain weight.


Have an Extra Slice of Whole Grain Toast With Peanut Butter at Breakfast

Toast with peanut butter.
Kirk Mastin/Getty Images

One way to increase your calories is to increase the size of your meals. Start with a hearty breakfast and have an extra slice or two of whole-grain toast with peanut butter. Whole grains are important for their fiber and peanut butter is calorie-dense and high in fat and protein.


Add Extra Cheese to an Omelet and Use an Extra Egg

Omelette with herbs
Joff Lee / Getty Images

Omelets are usually made with two or three eggs, some cheese and a variety of added ingredients, so they're already energy-dense. Add extra calories by using a little more cheese and an extra egg in your omelet. But save room for some healthy veggies like spinach, peppers, and onions, or maybe some mushrooms and tomatoes.


Slice an Apple and Serve With Nut Butter

Apple and nut butter
Image Source/Getty Images

Most people don't get enough fruits and vegetables, and although most of them are lower in calories, you don't want to give them up. So boost your snack-time calories by slathering some almond, peanut or cashew butter on apple slices. The flavor is fantastic, and you'll get lots of nutrients along with your calories.


Add Cheese Sauces to Green Veggies

Baked Potato with Broccoli and Cheddar
Martin Jacobs / Getty Images

Your mom told you to eat your veggies, and she was totally right. Green and colorful vegetables are chock full of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. But, they're also low in calories. Enhance your energy intake by adding cheese or cheese sauce to your favorite green veggies.


Add Chopped Nuts, Oats, Fruit and Honey to Yogurt

Yoghurt with dried apricots, rolled oats & honey
Joff Lee / Getty Images

Here's one of our favorite ideas. Start with a smooth creamy Greek yogurt and add a generous portion of walnuts, almonds or pecans, plus oats and your favorite dried fruit. Top it off with a spoonful of honey, and you have the most delicious and healthful snack or dessert.

Yogurt has friendly bacteria that help keep your gut healthy and the nuts have beneficial fats and add the calories you need.


Choose Creamed Soups Over Clear Soups

Shrimp and corn soup
Bill Boch / Getty Images

Creamed soups are higher in calories than clear broth-based soups. A big bowl of creamed soup and crusty warm bread can make an excellent energy-dense meal. Keep your creamed soups healthy by choosing a cream of broccoli, cream of mushroom or similar types of soup.


Top Your Potatoes With Sour Cream

Sour cream

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

Potatoes are on the starchy side, so they're a good source of calories. Amp up the calories by adding sour cream.

Potatoes get a bad rap because they're high in carbohydrates, but your body uses carbs for energy and potatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Sour cream adds a bit of calcium along with the additional calories. You can also add calories with cheese or gravy.


Eat Larger Portions of Starchy Vegetables Like Potatoes and Sweet Corn

Corn and potatoes.
Diane Macdonald/Getty Images

Sweet corn and potatoes are both nutritious vegetables, and they're also on the starchy side, so they're also higher in calories than green veggies. So, while you don't want to give up on Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and kale, you can feel free to load up on potatoes and sweet corn. Sweet potatoes are good too.


You Can Increase Your Protein Intake (and Calories) With Protein Bars

Protein Bars
Eising/Getty Images

Protein bars are similar to trail mix but a bit less messy. You can make your protein bars or purchase any number of bars in any grocery or convenience store. Check out the Nutrition Facts label to see how many calories you're getting per serving.


Drink Whole Milk, 100-percent Fruit or Vegetable Juice

Passion fruit juice

Verywell / Alexandra Shytsman

You're going to need to drink some beverages throughout the day. Sugary sodas may be tempting, and while they're high in calories, they've got nothing else nutrition-wise.

When it comes to beverages, choose whole milk or fruit and vegetable juices to add to your daily dose of vitamins and minerals.


Carry a Bag of Trail Mix for a Convenient Snack

Trail mix in plastic cup, close-up
Creativ Studio Heinemann / Getty Images

Trail mix is a mixture of nuts, seeds, cereal and dried fruit. You can buy trail mix in grocery stores or make your own. In fact, you can add a few more calories by adding chocolate chips. Keep your trail mix in a plastic bag or container and carry them with you, so you have something to nibble on throughout the day.

Was this page helpful?
Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  • Persons R, Nichols, W. "Should We Use Appetite Stimulants for Malnourished Elderly Patients?"  J Fam Pract. 2007 September;56(9):761-762
  • Pisano M, Hilas O. "Zinc and Taste Disturbances in Older Adults: A Review of the Literature. "   Consult Pharm. 2016 May;31(5):267-70. 
  • University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center. "Poor Appetite/Feeling Full Early (Early Satiety)."