12 Healthy & Cheap Foods to Gain Weight


Twelve Great Food Ideas to Put On Some Pounds

In our body image conscious society, it’s rare to actually want to gain weight. But if you’re anything like me, stuck with a high metabolism and lanky frame, it’s really tough to put on any amount of weight.

Food is the obvious solution, but what should we be eating? You don’t want to fall into the trap of junk food: those empty calories won’t help. Finding healthy and cheap foods to gain weight is essential.

You need to find something that you like, that you can afford, and something that’s good for you. No pressure, right?

Here are a handful of healthy food choices for putting on weight. Add a few of these to your diet and eat regularly, and you’ll see amazing things happen.

DID YOU KNOW: The average man needs about 2000 to 3000 calories per day. A woman needs about 1600 to 2400 calories. Click Here to use our [free] TDEE Calculator. Find out exactly how many calories you burn each day! To gain any weight, you need to exceed that amount, probably to the tune of 500 calories per day.

Let’s start with making sure you’re eating a complete meal. If you want to gain weight by eating healthy foods, you’ll also want to ensure a balanced diet.

Each meal should contain at least one carb, a protein source and a veggie of some kind. On days that you workout, make sure to get in enough good carbs to help build muscle.

1) Rice: a low cost food to gain weight quickly

Rice is one of the most popular grains in the world, and it’s packed with a ridiculously high amount of energy. 100 grams of rice contains about 130 calories, and it’s a very inexpensive food to buy.

Simply adding a generous portion of rice to your meal can add hundreds of extra calories. What’s more, it’s a very digestible grain with none of the gluten issues faced with wheat.

Rice contains many essential vitamins, such as thiamin and niacin. It’s easy and quick to prepare, particularly if you have a rice maker.

Meal tip: a rice and bean burrito is an energy packed, protein rich, healthy and delicious way to enjoy this grain.

2) Granola:  healthy, tasty, one of the best foods for gaining weight

Granola is a great choice. It’s not only a tasty breakfast cereal, it’s also loaded with energy, protein and fibre, as well as calories. One  cup of granola contains over 450 calories, and that’s without adding milk! A granola bar contains a similar amount.

Another key advantage to granola is it’s quite healthy. As long as it’s not too sugar filled (and some types really are), you can eat it all day long.

Add a bowl or bar several times a day, and you’ll see some healthy weight gain happening in no time.

3) Peanut Butter: calorie & protein rich

Peanut Butter: a great food for putting on weight.

Photo Credit: michelle@TNS, Flickr.

You’ll find peanut butter on a lot of these lists, and it’s there for good reason.

There are 90 calories, 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of carbohydrates in a tablespoon, and it’s not hard to love.

It does contain a bit of saturated fat, so don’t go too crazy on this one, but it’s a healthy weight gain food to add to your routine.

Peanut butter also happens to go really well with the next item on this list.

4) Bananas: An energy dense snack on the go

Bananas have the benefit of being affordable, convenient and really tasty! The average banana is a great food for putting on weight because it has about 100 calories.

Bananas also have some fibre and a good helping of potassium, an essential vitamin in your diet.

Bananas have a lot of sugar. For that reason, I recommend them as a post-workout snack when your body is after that easy energy. I also recommend you don’t pound six of them in one go, even if they are delicious.

5) Tuna: A rich protein with healthy fats

Because it’s a fish, tuna is an extremely healthy protein that contains many of the essential oils that your body needs to operate smoothly.

Tuna is also really easy to prepare (if you go canned), and it works in a lot of different dishes, so it’s an easy addition to your meal plans.

Have you tried seared tuna steak before? It’s amazingly delicious!

Tuna is a healthy and inexpensive food for gaining weight quickly, it’s a very good protein source, and I recommend adding more to your diet.

6) Whole Milk / Soy Milk: Quick, cheap and convenient weight gain on the fly

A tall glass of milk is just about one of the most convenient sources of quick energy.

A glass of whole milk contains nearly 150 calories, as well as 8 grams of protein! It’s such an easy thing to add to your diet, it’s a no brainer.

If you’re lactose intolerant, soy or almond milk make a fantastic alternative. Soy is almost as energy dense with 130 calories per glass, and about equal in the protein department.

Both milk and soy milk contain a bit of fat, but that’s not a bad thing at all. Would I recommend drinking gallons per day? No, but a couple of glasses will certainly make a big difference.

7) Avocado: A natural calorie machine, perfect for adding on pounds

The avocado provides a shocking amount of calories and fats to your diet, making it a dieter’s nightmare and a skinny person’s best friend.

It’s odd to think of a fruit like this being good for weight gain, but it’s surprisingly energy packed.

There are approximately 320 calories in a standard sized avocado, with a stunning 29 grams of fat. Some of that is saturated fat, so it’s not wise to go too crazy on these delicious fruits. (Yes, they’re a fruit. Weird, right?)

Since writing this article avocados have gotten a bit more expensive, but they’re still one of the most energy rich fruits on the planet.

I like to add avocado to a salad to give it a bit more energy density, or use it as a spread on a sandwich if it’s a bit on the riper side. They make any smoothie incredibly rich and creamy.

And don’t forget guacamole!

8) Eggs: A high calorie food for putting on weight quickly

Maybe you’ve seen the Rocky movies where he’s chugging raw eggs as part of his workout. Let’s be clear, that’s not what I have in mind!

Eggs are super nutritional, and there’s a reason that they’re a popular breakfast food: they provide your body with essential energy and nutrients to get through the day.

Eggs are a great and healthy food for gaining mass because they’re inexpensive, readily available, and they give you a ton of cooking options so it doesn’t get stale.

One egg has about 75 calories, along with 5 grams of fat and about 6 grams of protein, as well as essentials like vitamin B-12.

I wouldn’t eat too many of them in a single day because of the cholesterol, but enjoying eggs several times a week is a good practice, and it’ll certainly help with your weight gain goals.

9) Nuts: An extremely good, calorie rich food source

Raw Hazelnuts

Photo Credit: Artizone (Flickr)

Nuts have one of the highest amounts of energy for their weight of any kind of food, and they’re certainly one of the healthiest of the calorie dense food groups out there.

A 100 gram serving of macadamia nuts, for example, has over 700 calories! They’re a healthy snack rich in calcium and fibre.

They’re an extremely great food choice for gaining weight quickly because they’re easy to pack and delicious.

The downside? They tend to be expensive, and they have a high fat content.

That being said, I’d definitely look into nuts and seeds as great, portable energy sources on the go. Try to get them dry roasted and unsalted.

10) Dark Chocolate: An antioxidant-rich food for putting on pounds and feeling amazing

Yes, I’m not kidding! In moderation, dark chocolate is a great choice as a treat food for gaining mass. A 100 gram bar of chocolate has over 500 calories, and it’s loaded with antioxidants and enzymes that improve your mood.

There’s also sugar and loads of saturated fat (which is part of why it tastes so good) so this isn’t an ‘every day’ kind of food supplement to gain weight. However, a few pieces every day certainly won’t hurt you, and every extra little bit of caloric intake helps increase your mass.

It’s a treat, but it certainly doesn’t hurt, and it’s a lot better than many types of candy and junk food out there.

11) Cheese: What would life be without it?

Cheese Platter

Photo Credit: ulterior epicure (Flickr)

I’m a huge fan of cheese, and it happens to be an amazing supplement food to put on extra weight. It’s calorie rich and full of good stuff like calcium. It’s a viable protein source for you vegetarians out there, and it’s easy to add to most dishes by means of shredding or sprinkling.

Like all other fatty foods, it’s definitely something to enjoy with a bit of moderation.

Cheddar cheese, for example, has 400 calories in a 100 gram serving, and that includes 100% of your daily recommended intake of saturated fat; fantastic energy density per serving, but not the best thing to binge on!

It is, however, delicious, nutritious, easy to add to any recipe and relatively inexpensive, so it’s a weight gain supplement food that you should definitely add to your repertoire.

12) Soybeans: A calorie dense protein source that’s a cheap weight gain food idea

Soybeans are a staple of mine because they’re healthy, inexpensive and full of nutrition. There’s a lot going on in that unassuming little green pod.

A 100 gram serving of soybeans has 400 calories. That includes very little in the way of fat, and an astounding 36 grams of protein! By weight it’s a better protein source than red meat. Did I mention it’s also a significant source of magnesium, iron and calcium?

I can’t think of many downsides to it. My favourite form is edamame, or boiled whole soybean pods. It takes about 4 minutes to prepare and it’s amazing as a snack or a supplement to a main.

I’d definitely encourage you to incorporate soybeans into your diet.

Still Skinny? Try a Supplement

Real, unprocessed food is always the best choice, in my opinion. However, a supplement gives you some flexibility.

First, it allows you to eat on the go. If you don’t have time for a full breakfast, you can just mix a quick shake.

Mass gainers tend to have a high caloric content, loads of protein, and even vitamins and minerals to boost your weight. They (usually) mix really easily, and some of them actually taste pretty good.

Note: I don’t advise using a gainer as a standalone meal replacement, because it’s not. It’s meant to reinforce your calorie intake and help fill in the gaps between meals.

Here’s an article I wrote listing a few awesome mass gainer supplements that can help fill in the gaps alongside the foods listed above.

Other Tips:

  • Try to get yourself some sort of eating schedule. The downfall of many skinny people is just not eating enough. A schedule or meal plan is a huge help in packing on some weight by intentionally adding extra meals in.
  • Your body will take time to adjust to a more consistent meal schedule, and more frequent snacking. That’s normal. Try to stick with it even if you’re not super hungry.
  • Drinking lots of water is important when you eat more. Water helps move the nutrients around your body, and will provide a bit of supplementary mass in the form of water weight. Be sure to keep hydrated.



1) American Nutrition Association, americannutritionassociation.org



about 6 years ago

Nice blog but can you provide a detailed plan .. I mean a schedule what to eat and when to gain fat and weight too.


Will Henry

about 6 years ago

Hi Komal, I could, but everyone is different. Some are vegetarian, some have allergies, and some people prefer different foods. The best option for you is to meet with a nutritionist and work out a personal meal plan.


Sharath chandran

about 5 years ago

Then will you please add different type of shedules for pure vegetarian and others..


dennis lungunga

about 6 years ago

am the guy aged 26 live in zambia and since my teen age have been living a skiny guy but when i was very young i was a very big boy i started loosing weight when i was 9 till now and this has affect my growth and my life too . and i don't know what to do. please help


Samrat Das

about 5 years ago

Hey Dennis! I think you have to go to a physician for health checkup. And ask him for suggestion of your diet.



about 6 years ago

I just luv the article.Its amazing.I tried few of the above mentioned food and yup it worked


john scott

about 6 years ago

thanks your list was very helpfull and i made a shopping list around them to help me gain weight



about 6 years ago

I want to gain weight when I was in 12th I was fat but now doing master degree my weight is 40 only kindly help me to gain weight



about 6 years ago

Yet I m not tried but I will start ur diet food and it is suitable according to my convenience....when I will feel better then...wll reply u!



about 6 years ago

Hi ......your list is good&affordable.....i.ll definitely try it as I am too skinny*38.7*&tht causes a lot of stress more especially inS.A....THANKS A LOT!😁



about 5 years ago

thanks, your list looks good will try it. want to gain, i am quiet skinny and have tried food supplements but not working.



about 5 years ago

Totally! But cheap for whom? There's only 4 on your list i actually like & of those there's only 2 i consider affordable where i am =( *Sigh* ...yet every suggestion helps - thanks!


Adnan Ado Baba

about 5 years ago

Very interested and helpful. But some types of food re not available in our country. How to get them?



about 5 years ago

I'll definitely try eating eggs thanks for your good suggestions



about 5 years ago

great job guys!..i tried the avocados, i gained 4kgs in 2 weeks..a whole avocado a day..plus day snacks will also come in handy.



about 5 years ago

Nice article. now watch me gain weight here in Mombasa , Kenya coz most of these foods are readily available.


mulumba zainah

about 5 years ago

Thank you, so much for your help. I will have to change my diet. Nice time



about 5 years ago

I just did a 11 day stretch in the hospital with pneumonia. I lost quite a bit of weight. Glad I found your list. A lot of these things I like to eat already. Especially eggs, cheese, and dark chocolate.



about 5 years ago

Thanks, I will be trying this! Seems like a great guide to me.


Chikwna Narzary

about 5 years ago

I will try this schedule ........if it work than it will be great..:-)



about 5 years ago

great site.... great list of foods as other sites like you to loose weight for some reason..!



about 5 years ago

I luv this article I will definitely try it ...I' m weighing 54 I want to weigh 62 at least becoz that was my current weight



about 5 years ago

very good article



about 5 years ago

I every one just want to put on weight more faster



about 5 years ago

Write Message.....how I like this article...iam from kenya 36years gentleman...68kg tall 6.2ft but indeed at least 10kgs to be proportional at least...thanks I will try.....



about 5 years ago

I used to weigh 58 but am now weighing 54. Will definitely try that and see if they will be any change. Thank you.


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