Food & Nutrition

How to Gain Weight: 13 Foods to Help You Add Pounds if You’re Underweight

If you’re underweight—or are dropping pounds for no clear reason—your first stop should be a doctor’s office. If you get the green light to eat more, here’s what nutritionists recommend for gaining weight.


Charlotte potatoes background which are a popular early variety potatoTony Baggett/Shutterstock

Considering how many diet plans forbid potatoes in any form, it probably comes as no surprise that potatoes are an all-star food for those working on how to gain weight. Jen Rosen, a certified holistic health coach and cofounder of Raw Generation, explains that the starchy, carb-loaded tubers are quickly digested, which causes them to create a spike in the hormone insulin. The carbs are converted to glucose, which your body uses for energy. Any glucose your body can’t use—and there will be plenty—will be converted into fat, helping you pack on the pounds. Potatoes are also a great source of potassium and vitamin C. 

Dried fruit

Dried fruit background. Rows of dried dates, apricots,cranberries, pomelos, blueberries, nuts, prunes and figs.nada54/Shutterstock

Taking the water out of your favorite fruit concentrates its nutrients and sugars, explains registered dietitian and nutritionist Jill Weisenberger, author of Prediabetes: A Complete Guide. If you want to put on pounds, she recommends using dried fruit as a calorie-dense topping for yogurt, salads, meat, and grains. Check out the 8 subtle signs you’re eating too much bad fat.


Fresh organic avocado at farmer's marketSEE D JAN/Shutterstock

Trendy and delicious, avocados turn up on toast, in scrambles, in BLTs, and, of course, as guacamole dips. Thanks to their substantial levels of monounsaturated fats, they should be part of any healthy plan for how to gain weight. Registered dietitian Kaleigh McMordie recommends eating plenty of avocados if you want to pack on the pounds. Learn more about the 7 powerhouse benefits of avocados.

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