How to increase weight

Just as decreasing weight is not easy or speedily achieved, so also increasing weight cannot be quick fixed. In fact increasing weight is a longer process. BMI <19 may be considered underweight.

One is underweight when optimal calories are not ingested and excess calories are burnt. There are medical reasons why one may be underweight like hyperthyroidism (with high metabolic rate) or anaemia (whereby there is diminished appetite). If one has been of normal weight and then suddenly reduced, that is a totally different track of clinical investigation and nutrition therapy, into which we will not go. Here we will talk about those who are slimmer and are hoping to gain some weight.

Start with ways to stimulate appetite so that you can manage to eat extra at every meal. Light exercise stimulates appetite. Leisure swimming or water related sports especially up one’s appetite since they are relaxing too. Always eat on time. Keep a schedule where you will eat your main meals and have a high calorie drink or food between these meals. If you delay eating time or skip a meal, the acids that flow cause nausea and kill your hunger.

Caloric dense foods Some of the best foods to increase calories are nuts, fruit juices, energy bars, milk, its products and desserts, egg, fruits like banana, grapes, raisins, figs and dates, olives, muesli, avocadoes and healthy oils. These foods provide the best vitamins, minerals and amino acids that will help in weight gain. For example, just 3 dates will furnish 60 calories. If you eat 10 dates, that’s getting a quick 200 calorie jump. Since olives, dates, and nuts are small sized it is possible to down quite an amount of them without feeling full. This is why they are called caloric dense foods. Including such food extra to your usual eating will increase calories.

Snacks that increase 500 kcal per day

– Make a smoothie with a glass of full cream milk and a banana. Top with 2 scoops of your favourite ice cream.
– An ounce of nuts, 10 dates and glass of milk
– 2 slices of bread spread with 2 tablespoon peanut butter and a tall glass of grape juice
– A glass of pomegranate juice and a big piece of rich plum cake
– ½ of an avocado and 2 ounce of nuts
– 2 energy bars
– A glass of milk with a cup of fruit and nut muesli
– A cup of ice cream topped with 2 tablespoon raisins and 6 walnuts

You can get an extra 500 calories per day if you increase one serving of carbohydrate and 10ml of (healthy) oil at each main meal. Supplements like Ensure or Complan add further calories to milk and fruit juices. Small extras of food throughout the day, is better than trying to eat one big meal. Eating in excess will increase weight but one must be careful about choosing healthy foods. Greasy meals and junk foods are unhealthy and suppress hunger at later meals.

Parvathy R Krishnan

The author is a trained Nutrition & Dietetics expert with over 20 years’ of experience in hospitals like Vijaya Hospital in Chennai and the Armed Forces Hospital and New Mowasat Hospitals in Kuwait. She is presently a member of the Research Society for the Study of Diabetes in India. Parvathy blogs at

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