Tags: Big Y, Living Well Eating Smart, Calories, Training, Sleep, Nutrition, Weght, Gain, Plan, Strength, Nutrients

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Gain Weight

Living in a world of weight loss can be quite disconcerting for those trying to add more weight to their naturally lean build. Just as people who are overweight may be genetically predisposed to being overweight, so are those with smaller frames.

To gain weight, it is a matter of eating more calories through food than you burn through activity. To gain a pound a week, you would have to consume about 500 extra calories each day than your body requires for meeting its daily needs. If you are already an active person, your calorie goals for weight gain would be even greater. For example, the calorie needs for an active adult male is about 2,600. If that same man is trying to gain weight, he would want to begin following an eating plan that consists of 3,000-3,200 calories.

Scale and Weights

There is a healthy and unhealthy way to meet your weight gain goals. If you are overeating high calorie foods like fried foods, pastries and sugary treats or increased your protein intake-stop what you are doing! Focus on gaining weight in a healthier and safer way by following a higher calorie level meal plan from MyPlate.

Tips For Gaining

Here are some general tips to help meet increased calorie needs without feeling overstuffed:

  • Add strength training exercise to your activities. Strength training will help you gain muscle-which weighs more than fat.
  • Plan ahead. Eating just three meals isn't going to cut it for weight gain. Plan on eating about 5-6 times each day with meals and snacks. Use your Food Group goals to plan what and when you are going to eat.
  • Increase your serving sizes of food at each meal. Make your portions slightly bigger, while being mindful not to overeat until you're uncomfortable.
  • Drink fluids after your meal so you have more room for food. Yes, Mom was right!
  • Choose nutrient-rich foods. These include avocados, nuts, salmon, milk, lowfat cheese, low-fat yogurt, lowfat salad dressings and granola.
  • Add in unnoticeable calories. Powdered milk, beans, cheese, meat, wheat germ and plant oils can be added to casseroles, soups and sauces without much thought.
  • Enjoy your shake! Do you have to buy a mega dose protein powder mix? No. Mixing together your favorite lowfat ice cream with items probably already in your kitchen- like fruit and graham crackers- will help meet your calories without over taxing your kidneys, liver or wallet.

Keep Track

Before making any changes to the foods you choose or the activities you do, keep track of a typical week worth of meals and activities on MyPlate SuperTracker. This will allow you to record and analyze your current behaviors.


Any attempt for weight gain can only go so far without having healthy lifestyle behaviors overall. Learn more about meeting your sleep, basic nutrition, exercise and stress relief needs in our Catch Your Zzzzzzz's, Nutrition 101, Get Moving and Stress Relief sections.

  • Click here to view Catch Your Zzzzzzz's, our new page on BigY.com for sleep
  • Click here to view Nutrition 101, our new page on BigY.com for nutrition 101
  • Click here to view Get Moving, our new page on BigY.com for physical activity
  • Click here to view Stress Relief, our new page on BigY.com for stress management