With the obesity epidemic spreading through the country, it’s become hard to encounter someone who actually wants to gain weight. But there are lots of these people, who were born with a highly active metabolism and a slim body, who find it extremely hard to put even the slightest amount of weight.
Eating more food is the obvious fix, but we shouldn’t eat all foods. For sure, we don’t want to be eating junk food and sweet stuff; they are full of processed fat and refined sugars and will make us fatter, but not healthier. The alternative is choosing foods that are healthy. However, a lot of people think that healthy food is by default expensive. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are lots of foods that are both cheap and healthy at the same time.
Luckily for you, we’ve already done the research, and in this article, we present to you the 10 alternatives that will keep your money in your pocket and make you healthier. Just adding a few of these in your diet and eating them consistently, will make you see some impressive gains.
The generally recommended number of calories per day is 2000-3000 for men and 1500-2500 for women. In order to gain an appreciable amount of weight, you should strive to exceed that number, but you should do it slowly, starting with an excess of 500 calories a day. Before we start, we need to ensure that your meal is complete with all the important macro and micronutrients. This will make sure you’re eating a balanced diet. Each meal should consist of at least one carb-rich food, a lean protein source and some type of vegetable.
1. Rice: a cheap food for gaining weight fast
Rice is perhaps the most widely consumed grain throughout the world, and it is filled with an incredibly high amount of energy. A hundred grams of rice have around 130 calories, and it is quite cheap and available in any market. Simply by adding a big portion of rice in your meal, you increase the number of calories by the hundreds. Plus, it is a very easily digestible grain and causes none of the gluten issues which people usually face with other wheat.
It also contains lots of essential minerals, as well as vitamins, like niacin and thiamine. It’s very easy and quick to prepare, especially if you have a rice maker. A meal suggestion: a bean and rice burrito, which is packed with energy, rich in protein and incredibly healthy and delicious at the same time.
2. Granola: tasty and healthy, another great weight-gaining food
Granola is second on our list and not without a cause. It’s not only an excellent choice for a delicious breakfast cereal, it is also packed with energy, fiber, and protein, not to mention lots of calories. Just a single cup of granola has over 450 calories, without adding milk. A granola bar has the similar amount. The other essential thing about granola is that it’s very healthy. Provided it’s not filled with too much sugar, because some types have lots of it, you can eat as much as you want all day long. Add in a bowl of granola or a bar 2-3 times a day, and you will some rapid and healthy changes with your weight happening really soon.
3. Peanut butter: rich in calories and protein
There’s a chance you have already found peanut butter on a list similar to this one, and it’s not without a good reason. One tablespoon of peanut butter has around 90 calories, 3 grams of carbs and 4 grams of protein, not to mention its incredible taste. However, it contains quite a bit of saturated fat, which means you shouldn’t indulge yourself too much, but it still makes for a healthy weight gain tool in your quest for weight gain. And it just so happens that it goes incredibly well with the next food on the list.
4. Bananas: a high energy snack
Bananas offer lots of benefits, some of them being that they’re really tasty, affordable and convenient to carry around with you. An average-sized banana is a great snack for gaining weight since it has around 100 calories. They are also rich in fiber and have a moderate dose of potassium, which is an essential mineral in your diet. They have high content of sugar, though. So, because of this, it’s usually recommended that you eat them as a post-workout snack when the muscles are craving for energy. Don’t go overboard and eat 5 of them in one sitting, even if you find their taste hard to resist.
5. Tuna: a protein and fat combo
Tuna, being fish, is an extremely healthy source of protein which has lots of the essential fatty acids which your body needs for proper functioning. It is also quite easy to cook (if you buy it canned), and it mixes well with lots of other ingredients, which makes it an easy addition to almost any meal. How about seared tuna steak? This is truly delicious! Tuna is an inexpensive and healthy food which will help you gain weight fast, it is very rich in protein and it is recommended by nutritionists as an excellent meal addition.
6. Eggs: small food packed with protein, minerals, and vitamins
We’ve all seen the scenes in Rocky where Stallone chugs 5-6 raw eggs as part of his training. Don’t worry, when we say eating eggs, that’s not what we had in mind. They are super-rich in nutrients, though and it’s not without a reason they are a staple food in many breakfasts. They give the body essential micronutrients and plenty of energy to last throughout the day.
Eggs are also an excellent choice for gaining weight since they’re very cheap, readily available, and you can prepare them in endless varieties, so you won’t get bored of them. A single egg has around 70 calories, plus 5 grams of fat and around 6 grams of protein, including some essential vitamins like vitamin B12. It’s best that you don’t eat too many in one day because of the risk of increased cholesterol, however eating them several times per week is a good practice and will most certainly aid you in your goal in gaining more weight.
7. Nuts: tasty, rich in calories and healthy fats
Nuts contain high amounts of energy, relative to their weight compared to many foods, and they are certainly one of the healthiest of all the calorie-rich foods found today. A serving of 100 grams of macadamia nuts, has over 600 calories. They also have lots of fiber and calcium in them. They make an excellent choice for those who want to gain weight quickly because they are easy to carry around and are very tasty.
The only downside is that they can be rather expensive, and have a high amount of fat. Taking all of this into account, you should definitely consider buying more seeds and nuts as a quick source of energy whenever you’re on the move and are unable to eat a whole meal. Always opt for the unsalted and dry roasted version.
8. Dark chocolate: sweet stuff filled with antioxidants that releases the “happy hormones”
We’re not kidding here. When eaten moderately, dark chocolate is an excellent option when you want to satisfy your sweet tooth and gain quality mass. A hundred-gram chocolate bar contains over 500 calories and it’s filled with enzymes and antioxidants that greatly improve your sense of well-being. Keep in mind that it’s also filled with processed sugar and has lots of saturated fat, (this is why to has such a delicious taste), so you might want to be a bit careful with how much you eat, and never go overboard.
Two or three pieces every day won’t make a negative impact and every additional calorie eventually adds up and increases your mass. It’s the best of both worlds, it’s sweet and it won’t make you fat instantly. It sure is a lot better than eating all the junk food and all sorts of sweet stuff.
9. Cheese: delicious and filled with protein
Who doesn’t love cheese? It’s absolutely delicious and it just so happens that it’s also an amazing supplement to your diet for putting on some extra pounds. It’s filled with calories and lots of minerals, one of the most important being calcium. It’s a great protein source for vegetarians and it mixes well with most meals by shredding it or sprinkling it on. However, like with all foods that contain a sizeable amount of fat, you should definitely enjoy with moderation and don’t get carried away.
Cheddar, for example, has around 400 calories in a 100-gram serving, including almost 100% of the daily recommended consumption of saturated fat. It has a tremendous amount of energy in one serving, but it’s not the best food to binge on. No one can deny its deliciousness, convenience of preparing it with other foods, in addition to its availability, and how cheap it is, which makes it an incredible addition to your weight gaining plan.
When trying to gain weight, you need to plan some kind of an eating schedule. The reason why so many skinny people fail to gain a significant amount of weights is that they don’t eat enough. A meal schedule will prove to be a valuable tool in gaining some extra pounds by intentionally adding 2-3 meals more.
This might be hard at first since the body will take some time to get used to the new eating schedule, which is perfectly normal. Strive to eat all the extra meal even when you’re not feeling very hungry. When you eat more, it’s important that you drink more water too. Water will help you move the nutrients around the body a lot quicker and it will give you a bit of additional mass in the form of water weight. Always make sure that you avoid dehydration.