Staff Health Challenge: Top Tips to Gain Weight

Although I’ve always wanted to be fuller, I never really knew how to gain weight the right way. The thought of stuffing my face with a mountain of food as often as possible killed my appetite so I usually went about it the seemingly easier (read: unhealthy) way by choosing burgers and fries or any other greasy option on the menu when I ate out. Well for this challenge I wanted to pack on the pounds while keeping my risk for heart failure at a minimum. So I turned to nutritionist Christina Persaud for a list of healthy foods containing good-for-me fats.

“The biggest problem for people trying to gain weight is that they don’t know what to eat and don’t want eat every few hours” Persaud says. “They think they have to eat loads of food to gain weight when it usually only takes a few hundred extra calories a day to do the job.” Below are some of her healthy high-calorie options, if you are looking to gain weight, you have to eat these snacks a few times a day in addition to your regular 3 square meals:

Avocado “One eighth of an avocado is about 45 calories and a good source of monounsaturated fat,” Persaud says.

Hummus Make your own by combining crushed garbanzo beans, oil, garlic and salt. Two tablespoons of this yummy dip can have about 70-80 calories.

Nuts An ounce of nuts (which is about 20 almonds or a 1/4 cup of pistachios) has about 170-200 calories. “Nuts like almonds are a good source soluble fiber as well as monounsaturated fat,” she points out.

Peanut Butter Each tablespoon contains 100 calories so switch out that Snickers bar for a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter as a snack.

Edamame Half a cup has 120 calories and five grams of fiber. “It’s another great little snack chock full of nutrients!”

Olive Oil Add a tablespoon to cooked pasta or salad for a quick and easy way to add calories to your diet.

Running late? No worries! “If you are on the go keep it simple,” Persaud suggests. “Carry some nuts or a bagel with peanut butter. And if you don’t think you have time to eat, set an alarm on your cell to remind you to nibble.” If you have a fridge at work bring your own snack creation from home so you’re not tempted to buy from the vending machine or—worse yet—skip eating altogether. Just be sure to avoid juice and soda. “They will fill your belly up, give you a sugar high until you crash and then leave you feeling completely devoid of energy,” Persaud says.