Doctors usually recommend gaining weight for people who are consistently underweight or skinny, which can cause a variety of health issues such as infertililty, developmental delays or weakened immune system. Bodybuilders and other athletes may also hope to gain weight by building muscle. Although being slim with fast metabolism can often be healthy, being underweight can be a problem if it is the result of malnutrition, or if you are pregnant or have other health problems. So if you are underweight, see your doctor or dietitian. You then can plan how to reach your target weight.
The following are some healthy ways to gain weight quickly, withing weeks or months when you are underweight.
- Eat more often. When you’re underweight, you can reach the feeling of being full faster. Switch to 5 or 6 meals a day instead of traditional three, reducing servings along the way.
- Choose nutrient-rich foods. As part of an overall healthy diet, choose whole-grain breads, pastas and cereals; fruits and vegetables; dairy products; meat as a source of lean proteins; as well as nuts and seeds.
- Try smoothies and shakes. Cut down on coke, coffee or other drinks with really low amount of calories and low nutritional value. Instead, drink smoothies or healthy smoothies made with milk and fresh or frozen fruit, and sprinkle with some ground flaxseed. In some cases, liquid meal replacements might be suggested as more appropriate.
- Watch when you drink. Some people find that drinking liquids before meals leads to a decreased appetite. If that’s a case, it might be better to sip high-calorie drinks along with a meal or a snack. While others may well do with drinking 30 minutes after a meal rather than during the process.
- Make each bite great again. Have nuts, peanut butter, cheese, dried fruit and avocados. Before going to bed you may also want to indulge in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or an avocado sandwich with leafy vegetables and cheese.
- Enrich your meals even further. Add more calories to dishes, such as cheese in casseroles and scrambled eggs, and milk in soups and stews.
- Treat yourself from time to time. Even if you are skinny, don’t forget about some sugar and fat. A slice of pie and ice cream is absolutely appropriate as an occasional treat. At the same time, most treats should be healthy and contain not only calories but nutrients as well. Bran muffins, yogurt and granola bars will do.
- Go to the gym. Exercise, especially strength or weight training, can help you gain weight by building your muscle. Exercise can also stimulate your appetite and trigger higher calorie daily intake.