20 Meal Ideas for Weight Gain

For those who seek to gain weight, increasing one’s calorie intake is essential. You should be at a consistent caloric surplus where you are consuming more calories than you burn off through exercise. However, what exactly your diet consists of plays an important part as well. When searching for meal ideas for weight gain, you are going to want to aim for nutrient-dense foods that contain your essential vitamins and minerals. This will aid in the promotion of healthy weight gain as opposed to gaining weight by consuming unhealthy foods like junk foods. There are still a variety of healthy foods that contain a decent caloric content that can help to encourage weight gain.

An adequate intake of protein is just as important when trying to gain weight. Protein-rich foods aid in muscle development and growth among other necessary functions. This comes into play when exercising and helps to further increase your overall body weight / mass.

To help give you some ideas, we have compiled a list of 20 different personal size meal ideas for weight gain, including breakfast, lunch, dinner, and side snacks. It is important to note that the calorie numbers may not be exact. Serving size, added toppings, and brand, can all impact total calorie count.

Disclaimer: We are not medical professionals or experts. What is written throughout the content of our website is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as medical or professional advice. What you choose to do with the information provided is at your own risk and discretion. Before making any significant changes to your diet and / or lifestyle, be sure to contact your health practitioner.

Breakfast Meal Ideas for Weight Gain:

As the saying goes, breakfast really is key. This first meal sets a good foundation for the rest of the day, so make it count! Fruits and vegetables are great food choices to include alongside your breakfast meals. They contain certain carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, plus more that help to provide a boost of energy.

meal ideas for weight gain

  1. Yogurt with chia seeds and turkey bacon = 413 calories
    • Yogurt + 1 tbsp chia seeds + 3 slices of turkey bacon
  2. Breakfast sandwich = 327 calories
    • 2 whole wheat toasts + 1 egg + 2 bacon slices
  3. Blueberry pancakes with a side of granola and a protein shake = 428 calories
    • 2 blueberry pancakes + 1 granola bar + protein shake
  4. Cereal, an egg omelet and fruit = 317 calories
    • 1 cup of whole grain cereal + egg omelet + 1 cup of fruit
  5. Cinnamon oatmeal with a side of apples and light turkey sausage = 440 calories
    • Cinnamon oatmeal + 1 cup of apple slices + 2 turkey sausages

Lunch Meal Ideas for Weight Gain:

If you prefer to take your weight gain supplements or shakes before you workout, lunch time is a great time to do so. Healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains, fruits or vegetables, and potatoes all provide healthful benefits and can be incorporated into any lunch meal. Try making use of toppings, salad dressings, and other condiments with your meals as a source of extra calories for weight gain.

meal ideas for weight gain

  1. Black bean chili soup = 270 calories
    • 1 can of black beans + ground turkey + 1/4 cup of tomatoes + 1/4 cup of corn
  2. Tuna wrap = 349 calories
    • 1 can of tuna + 1 whole wheat tortilla + 1/4 cup of tomatoes + 1/2 cup shredded lettuce
  3. Avocado turkey sandwich with apple chips = 470 calories
    • Whole grain bread + 1 sliced avocado + 2 slices of turkey + 1 sliced tomato + 1 lettuce leaf
  4. Teriyaki chicken with rice and broccoli = 389 calories 
    • Chopped chicken + 1 cup of brown rice + 1 cup of broccoli
  5. Rice and vegetable mix = 263 calories
    • 1 1/2 cup of brown rice + 1 1/2 cup of mixed vegetables

Dinner Meal Ideas for Weight Gain:

After your workouts, it is important to replenish your muscles with protein to help them recover and grow. So for dinner, try to include a bigger source of protein in addition to your sides – beans, meats, or a supplement. This will greatly aid in increasing your body weight and help to maximize results when exercising.

meal ideas for weight gain

  1. Vegetable and chicken stir fry = 300 calories
    • 1 1/2 cups of vegetables + chopped chicken + 1 cup of white rice
  2. Loaded sweet potatoes = 330 calories
    • 2 sweet potatoes + 1 cup of spinach + 1 cup of black beans + cheddar cheese
  3. Baked salmon with a side of green peas and mashed potatoes = 361 calories
    • Salmon fillet + 1/2 cup of peas + 1 cup of mashed potatoes
  4. Rosemary chicken and roasted sliced potatoes = 290 calories
    • 2 chicken tenderloins + 1 roasted sliced potato + a pinch of rosemary
  5. Broccoli and Alfredo pasta = 390 calories
    • 1 1/2 cup of broccoli + 1 serving size of pasta shells

Snacks Ideas for Weight Gain:

When trying to gain weight, consuming snacks throughout the day is especially helpful as snacks serve as an additional source of calories that can help you reach your daily calorie goals. Consuming at least 3 meals a day, with a few snacks in between is one of the fastest ways to gain weight. Additionally, it is best to try to consume healthy nutrient-rich snacks as opposed to processed foods.

meal ideas for weight gain

  1. Veggie or fruit salad = 100 calories
    • 2 cups of vegetables + 2 cups of fruit of your choice
  2. Smoothie bowl = 281 calories
    • 2 cups of blended fruit + 1 tbsp of seeds or 1/2 cup nuts of your choice + 1/2 cup of frozen fruits
  3. Trail mix = 217 calories
    • 1/2 cup of granola + 1/2 cup of walnuts + 1/2 cup of dried fruit
  4. Peanut butter apple slices = 170 calories
    • 1 cup of apple slices + 1/4 cup of peanut butter
  5. Hummus on crackers with a side of carrots = 120 calories
    • 1/2 cup of hummus + 1/2 cup of carrots

Now with a variety of meal ideas for weight gain in mind, here are some exercises you can do after to further increase your body mass.


1“Welcome to the USDA Food Composition Databases.” Food Composition Databases Show Foods — Oil, Soybean, Salad or Cooking, ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/.

6 thoughts on “20 Meal Ideas for Weight Gain”

  1. Great ideas to broaden my meals and snacks. I believe with focus and making time to eat will help put me at my ideal weight. Thank you

  2. Would anyone have some suggestions for me to gain weight ? I am 58 years old and weigh 74 POUNDS with no eating disorder. Very serious health conditions, tons of surgeries ( cancer ) and it’s been 3 years and I am stuck at 74 pounds. I can not have potatoes, rice, pasta , nuts, yogurt or bananas or avocado so do I even stand a chance to gain without these foods? No carbohydrates of any kind. After 3 years I just want to give up. Any kind of suggestions will be forever helpful to me. Thank you.

    1. Hi Michelle, don’t give up! It is best that you speak with a physician that can provide you with a healthy meal plan and help you gain the results you are looking for. Best of luck.

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