While rest of the world is trying to lose weight, you are trying to gain some. They want the numbers to go down and you want the numbers to go up. No matter how much you eat, you can’t seem to add them.
“You have to put on some meat”. “You look like a match stick”. “Lucky you! You don’t have to exercise”. “Do you ever eat?” “How do you manage to stay thin?” If you are a victim of these rants, this is for you. Yes, people fail to understand that the struggle is real. Weight gain is as hard as weight loss.
The sure shot way to gain weight is increasing your calorie consumption. Yet, junk food indulgence is not a good way to gain extra calories. Weight gain diet is not one filled with thick shakes, pizzas and beer, even for those who are seemingly thin. Now, now, we don’t want unhealthy, floppy belly fat, do we? There are supplements, a quick way to put on some muscle. But there are never ending arguments on whether they have side- effects or not. Why go for uncertain, expensive short cuts, when you can go for the natural, inexpensive and healthy methods?
Natural weight gain, much like weight loss, requires a bit of diet change, some gym weights and a whole lot of fresh, healthy, calorie-rich natural foods.
Natural foods are those that are naturally produced, minimally processed and don’t have food additives such as food colour and sweeteners. Since natural foods are minimally processed, those which have high water content have low shelf life. The way they are produced makes the difference. Natural foods are easily available in local markets. If you are buying from super markets, check the labels for information on the produce and processing.
Here are 15 natural foods that help in weight gain without side-effects:
1. Go bananas
Bananas are packed with protein, carbohydrates and other essential nutrients that keep you healthy and full of energy. The average banana has around 100 calories, which is perfect for those who want to gain weight. Two or three bananas per day is an acceptable quantity. Enjoy! They are easily available and can be carried in your bag. Ripe jackfruit pods are also a natural way to gain weight.
2. Love your avocados
Avocados are loaded with healthy fat and nutrients. One medium sized avocado has at least 200 calories. Avocados have close to 20 health-boosting nutrients. They do wonders for your skin – great for eating and application. Spice up your avocados with a dash of salt, some pepper and lime juice. Add pieces to your soup, or in your salad, or better still, make some guacamole at home and spread it on hot toast. Whatever it is you do, add them to your diet.
3. Plan those potatoes
While most of the vegetables aid in weight loss, it is found that starchy vegetables can lead to weight gain. Vegetables like peas, corn and potatoes can give you what you need. Bake those beans, cook that corn and eat your potatoes with the skin on for more fibre. But you also need to watch out. Over-eating starchy vegetables can lead to unhealthy belly fat. Other sources of healthy starch include quinoa, sweet potatoes, yams, beans and legumes.
4. Love those eggs
This super food is incredibly nutritious. It has a bit of every essential nutrient the body needs. They actually increase HDL— the good cholesterol. They are the best food for gaining mass because they are inexpensive, easily available and have a ton of cooking options. One egg contains about 75 calories. There are so many ways to enjoy eggs! Scramble them, poach them, boil them, eat them with your toast, or as an omelette, or even add them to your salad.
5. Go nuts over nuts
As much as 200 calories can be gained from just a handful of mixed nuts. Nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews, peanuts and pistachios. The best part about nuts: they have a healthy distribution of proteins, fats, carbs and fibres. They are the pocket sized daily doses of necessary diet.
6. … And over nut butters
Peanut butter! Who doesn’t like it? Two tablespoons of peanut butter can provide 188 calories; the same amount of almond butter can provide about 200 calories. This is easy—apply a layer to a slice of bread and eat it. Sprinkle some nuts, if you wish. Eat it for breakfast or between meals. These are simply tablespoons of happiness. Make sure that the butter does not have any added oils. Read the list of ingredients before you buy.
7. Eat them dried
Dry fruits can fit into any diet. Since the fruits have been dried and the water content removed, the calories are high. A small cup of raisins can provide almost 250 calories. That is why they are ideal for weight gain. Raisins, apricots, dried apples are some of the dried fruits ideal for weight gain.
8. Enjoy a whole lot of milk
First, substitute that skimmed milk with whole milk. Whole milk is rich in fat, protein and will help in scaling up your numbers. Avoid sweetening the milk with chocolate or any flavoured syrup or plain sugar. Sweeteners are not a source of quality calories. A carton of 500 ml of milk contains about 120 calories. It is safe to drink whole fat milk four to five times in a day.
9. Don’t hold back on yoghurt
Yoghurt is a convenient food item to have on the table. A full fat yoghurt contains a lot of healthy, weight gaining dairy protein. Although some people prefer flavoured yoghurt, the good old plain dahi offers plenty by itself. The colours and sweeteners used in the flavoured variety are not healthy calories. Adding plain dahi to your breakfast cereal along with fresh fruits and some nuts is a simple and easy fix.
10. Don’t count your coconuts
Coconut has been an essential ingredient in daily meals in large parts of India. It has been shunned by most of late because it is associated with weight gain as it has a lot of naturally occurring sweetness. Raw or fried coconut is usually avoided by those who are trying to lose weight. But if you want a few more kilos, the coconut is your best friend. Coconut oil for cooking, coconut milk in various dishes and raw coconut are the healthiest forms for gaining weight.
11. Be friends with fenugreek
Fenugreek or methi is an amazing ally for gaining weight. It is available in the form of seeds, flour and as flavouring powder. Seeds are the most natural way of consuming it. Swallow a few seeds with tea or water as soon as you wake up in the morning. You can also soak it in water before having it. The water, too, is good for clearing your system.
12. Side with seeds
The best seeds for gaining weight are pumpkin and sunflower seeds. These little things are packed with good fats. Seeds and nuts give more natural energy than anything else. You can add them to your juices or when you are cooking meat. Get a little creative with them to get them into your diet plan.
13. Stick to rice
It is the backbone of the Indian diet. Rice is an important diet staple. It is one of the healthiest ways to gain weight as it is filled with carbs. Rice is a good option, especially if you are someone with very low appetite.
14. Crave for carrots
Carrots provide a multitude of vitamins, minerals and nutrients. They are usually considered low-calorie food. But a bowl full of carrot salad is equivalent to a chocolate cake. Eating an extra serving of carrot is not necessarily going to increase your weight immediately. But when eaten regularly, you will gain weight.
15. Drink your calories
Liquid calories are the most fun way to gain weight. They are tasty, filling and colourful. By choosing your ingredients wisely, you can pack a good 600-700 calories in your drink. Put milk and fresh bananas in a blender until there is a smooth consistency and load them with the goodness of nuts and seeds. You can use yoghurt and water as an alternative for milk for a thicker consistency.
Certain animal proteins also help in weight gain in a healthy way. But the extent to which they are natural depends on what the was fed and how it was bred. In case of lean meat, the animals should have been fed on grass or organic feeds and in case of fish, they should have been cultured in a controlled environment.
While you start eating right to gain weight, don’t forget to exercise. Exercises are not just helpful in toning all that new fat, they are also helpful in increasing your appetite and improving your overall health.