The main goal when trying to gain weight is to increase the amount of calories you eat throughout the day. Periodic snacking on high-calorie, nutritious food is a healthy way to help pack on the pounds, and there are plenty of calorie- and nutrient-dense foods you can choose from. Avoid eating fried food, candy bars and other junk foods, and choose more nutritionally fulfilling options instead.
Weighing in at 188 calories per 2-tablespoon serving, peanut butter is calorie-dense, which makes it a healthy snack that can help pack on the pounds. Peanut butter is filled with heart-healthy monounsaturated fat and provides a generous dose of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Spread peanut butter on crackers, apples or celery, or blend it into a smoothie for a high-calorie snack. Be sure to buy a natural brand, which typically contains less sodium and sugar than the regular versions.
Smoothies are a delicious way to add some extra calories to your diet. Mix whole milk with fruit and ice and blend it into a healthy drink. You can also add a scoop of whey protein powder to increase the calorie and protein content. Add 1 tablespoon of flaxseed oil for an additional 120 calories and 14 grams of fat, with no additional sodium or cholesterol per serving.
The main ingredient in guacamole is avocado, which is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids. One cup of pureed avocado contains 368 calories and 33 grams of fat, which is certainly enough to help pack on the pounds. Mix avocado with chopped tomatoes, hot peppers, lime juice and pepper to make a healthy guacamole dip. Eat it with whole-grain crackers or vegetables for a heart-healthy, satisfying snack.
Cottage Cheese, Fruit and Nuts
Full-fat cottage cheese provides 206 calories and 23 grams of protein per 1-cup serving, which makes it a great snack for gaining weight. Serve it with one-third cup of dried cranberries for an additional 123 calories and one-third cup of walnuts, which provides 216 calories and 5 grams of protein.
Lindsey Lankowsky is a registered dietitian based in Los Angeles. She holds a Bachelor of Science in dietetics from Michigan State University and a Master of Science in nutrition from Case Western Reserve University. Lankowsky has worked in the Veterans Health Administration since 2009 and has written various nutrition articles for the VA.